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As soon as the school bell went off indicating the end of class, and indeed the end of that day, Gust raced over to the car park and jumped into his green convertible. He started the engine with a huge roar and raced away.
He just had to get home, and just hide away. Luckily, he didn't live too far away, so before he knew it, he had parked up in front of his apartment that he shared with his parents and older brother Matt, and hopped out of the car.
He walked in and pushed the door shut with his right foot behind him, throwing his bag in the corner at the same time. ‘Thank God!’ he sighed, finding the house pleasantly empty.
His parents were still at work and wouldn't be home for another hour or two. Matt too was working his shift at Java. He worked there three days a week after college, to help with the tuition fees.
Gust walked into the kitchen and raided the fridge for a coke and something to eat. He found some chocolate chip cookies along with the drink, which he took with him to his room.
But when he arrived there, he put all items on his bedside table and just collapsed on his bed. Before he knew, the whole day replayed itself in his head, and tears burst out as he started to cry uncontrollably. He cuddled the pillow close to him and dug his face in it.
After what seemed like hours, he finally calmed down enough to start thinking a bit more rationally.
‘What the hell was I thinking, hitting my best friend in the whole world like that? Just to prove....’ His mind was confused as that thought came on. ‘…to prove what exactly? That I was more of a man than Luke is? At least Luke knows who and what he is’, he thought getting sadder. ‘Unlike me... My love life is fuck! I love Candes, then why do I end up thinking of Luke when I get intimate with her?’
It had been weeks now, since Luke had starting stalking him in his dreams, and it was not the thought of Luke that was troubling him. It was his best friend Luke that pricked his manliness. He dreamed of Luke in a romantic way, and that confused him.
He has known Luke since they were five, and they were best buds since the day they set eyes on each other. They had shared so much together, had plenty of sleepovers and even last week he was there with Luke, supporting him, when he had finally confessed to his parents that he was gay.
Gust had known that Luke was gay since he had told him on a camping trip they had went on together when they were fifteen, down by the Snyder pond. He wouldn’t lie, it had taken him a few days to get used to the idea that his mate fell for other guys, but it had never changed their friendship. ‘
‘So why now? Why did I have to act like a first class idiot?’ He needed to get a grip.
But first of all, he needed to ask Luke for forgiveness. He had to explain to him, talk to him and clear the air. The last thing he wanted was to lose such a precious friendship and the bond he shared with Luke. He had to start acting wise, he thought, and with that he grabbed his cell phone and started dialling Luke's number.
Gust had absolutely no idea what he was going to say to Luke; he just knew he had to talk to him.
A few rings later, Gust heard an angry “what!” coming from other side of the phone. It made him feel like crying again, that he had upset his friend so much. He wanted to turn his phone off, but realized that that would be the coward's way out, and if anything, he sure wasn't a coward.
So he answered, "Hey". After a second or two Luke replied by saying “hey” as well. That gave him the courage to continue.
"Luke, I am........"
“What the fuck were you thinking today Gust?" Luke blasted. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"I don't know," Gust replied, the tears stinging his eyes again. "Luke?" he said after what seemed like ages, "can we talk? Like really talk?"
"Ok," Luke replied, “I'll be right there."
Hearing those calm words, he felt relieved and put the phone down.
Gust went to the bathroom and started splashing cold water on his face in a vain attempt to get rid of his red and puffy eyes. He looked in the mirror and pulled a face. “Well, that didn't work,” he muttered to himself, but he had to admit that he felt a little better anyway, even though he didn't look like it. He wiped his face off and began thinking over what he had to say to Luke. He was scared of what Luke might think, but was still in the process of making up his mind to tell him.
Sometime later he heard a knock on the backdoor. He ran down the stairs to open the door.
"Man you look like shit," Luke said, noticing Gust’s appearance before entering into the homey family kitchen.
"Thanks," Gust whispered in sarcasm, exhaling a big sigh and trying to control his emotions that were coming up again. Luke was alarmed by the tone of his friend’s voice and turned to look him in the face. Gust had his eyes downcast and he rubbed his sleeve over his nose.
"Hey man, what's up?" Luke asked, slightly concerned now. He had never seen his friend in such state of mind.
The only reaction he got was a shrug as an answer. Luke decided not to push Gust just yet, as he could see that he was trying to find the right words to elaborate on what was actually bothering him.
"I am confused," he whispered so softly that Luke had trouble understanding what Gust was saying.
"Did you say you are confused?” Luke looked lost, “Confused why? What is so confusing?”
Luke tried again, "What are you confused about, Gust?" He tried to encourage him to continue.
"Oh, I don't know … everything I guess." Gust said "Starting with why the fuck did I hit you? You are my best friend! Ha, what a friend I turned out to be!” he snorted sardonically. "Hitting you just to prove I was more of man than you. Not to mention, to prove it to the ones who don’t care a damn about anyone or anything. But I'm even more confused about that." Gust grabbed his head out of pure frustration.
"Why are you confused about that?" Luke asked, not understanding what his buddy was hinting at.
"Having fantasies about your best friend would certainly freak anyone out..." He suddenly blurted out. Immediately after that confession, he realized what he had said without thinking, and now he wished the earth would open up and swallow him, out of pure embarrassment.
"Fantasies?” Luke stammered, “About me?” Luke asked, totally not knowing what to think of that outburst.
"Yeah," Gust whispered again, knowing there was no backing down now. "I dream about you, like ..... you know....that!! But I can't be gay, can I? It's not right."
Luke dropped down on the bed with a thud. He didn't know what to say. ‘Gust dreaming about me? That's just weird, or is it?’
Thinking about it now, during the last few weeks he kept noticing that Gust was looking at him in a strange, almost dreamy way. He never paid much attention to it, but now that he was thinking about it…
"How long have you been uhm, thinking about me like THAT?" he wanted to know.
"Weeks and weeks, I don’t know when I started having these thoughts all of a sudden. Even when I kiss Candes, I'm imagining she is a guy. I think I have a crush on you Luke, but then again I'm not sure, all I know is that I have these feelings about men, but … but I love Candes as well … AARGH” he cried out, “this is so damn confusing. Bet you hate being my friend now right?" he asked insecurely.
Luke was thinking about it for a minute or two, and then he jumped up and took Gust into a bear hug.
"Ha ha mate that's great." He said enthusiastically. Gust looked at Luke like he'd lost it, but then decided to join in. The hug gave him goose-bumps and he felt good being in Luke’s arms. He just wished he could get more.
After a little while, after they had calmed down a bit, Luke and Gust both sat down on the bed again.
"What are you going to do now?" Luke asked.
"I have no idea." Gust sighed, “I have to think about all of this, I need some time to get used to it. Guess everything’s going to change for us from now on.”
At that moment, Luke couldn’t help but think about his new charming history teacher – Mr. Mayer – and whispered a soft “Yeah”, giving out a dreamy sigh.
"Um …Luke? Will you promise...", he started before Luke interrupted him.
He knew what he was hinting to and said, "Sure buddy, take all the time you need Remember, I will be always there for you!”
The next morning Noah got up at 6am as usual. He got changed into his running shorts and a wife beater and left his apartment for his morning jog. He loved this time of day; seeing the town that he was calling home now as it woke up slowly. He saw paperboys racing around on their bikes delivering the morning papers, and men and women walking their dogs. About half an hour later, the traffic got busier as well. He had jogged quite far from his home by then.
‘Time to head home’ he thought, and raced back.
Once home, he took a quick shower and quickly got dressed in his formal attire. He headed to the kitchen to grab a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice for breakfast. After he finished eating and drinking his juice, he was all set for work. He checked the time and noticed that everything was going according to schedule.
Noah was ready to start the day.
Exactly at 8.30 a.m., Noah walked into the staffroom, greeted everyone in there with a "Good morning", and walked over to the coffee machine, pouring himself a hot brew. He had only met a few of the other teachers the day before, and suddenly he felt a little bit like a fish out of water.
"Hey there handsome," he heard a voice coming from behind, and turned around to see who was talking.
He saw a tall man with ginger hair giving him the toothiest smile he'd ever seen. "Hey there" he greeted, offering his hand, “I'm Noah Mayer."
"Chris Skudder," Chris said, grabbing Noah's hand and shaking it enthusiastically. "Physical exercise" he said.
"History," Noah replied with a grin.
“Nice body you have there, man!” Chris touched his muscled bicep gently and winked. “With something like that, I bet you could have been an ace in physical training.”
A blush spread across Noah’s cheeks and he replied shyly, “No thanks, history is what makes me happy.”
Chris laughed richly and left. He instantly liked this slightly goofy looking guy, who happened to be very attractive as well. He just knew they were going to share a great chemistry together.
Gust walked into the lobby, heading straight for his locker to fetch his books for first period. He senselessly ransacked his locker being deep in thought about something, when he sensed someone staring at him. Standing a few lockers away was his girlfriend Candes, who looked like she was very upset about something.
"Oh, hi Candes," he said, forcing himself to smile. He walked over to greet his girlfriend by giving her a quick peck on her cheek, but she turned her head harshly, which got his lips to end up somewhere near her ear.
He decided to ignore her actions and tried again "Hey babe, how are you this morning?"
"Hmmpf," she huffed, and stomped away across the hallway to her locker to get her own books.
Gust rested his back by the lockers and looked up to the ceiling in frustration. He really couldn't deal with this negativity now. He really liked Candes, but he was now realizing that he didn't love her.
He knew he should break up with her. They could never be boyfriend and girlfriend. He knew it was unfair to use her as a beard, because it was mean and selfish, and that is exactly what he has been doing...
That thought made him sad. He heard Candes' voice and suddenly snapped out of his thoughts. "Sorry, what did you say?" he asked her.
"We're going to be late for class…" she said, and with that they walked to their classroom. He thought of telling her sometime today that they couldn’t continue anymore, ‘but how?’ was the real question there …
It was about halfway through the lesson when Luke realized that he couldn't remember a single word of what Mr. Mayer had said. It's not like he hadn't tried, but geez his smile was just so....so stunning. ‘Yeah!’
And with that, he continued daydreaming, staring at his new history teacher.
Mercedes, who was sitting next to Luke, saw the dreamy look on his face and knocked his arm with her elbow. Luke jumped up and gave Mercedes a dirty look.
"Why did you do that for?"
"What's wrong with you, dude?” Mercedes asked, smiling, because she realized that Luke obviously had the hots for the teacher. “Since when do you pay attention to what teacher’s saying in history class?” She shook her head in amazement.
Luke played innocent, “Oh, I guess I have developed a liking for the subject. His-story! Hmm … who the hell doesn’t like stories?” He grinned wide.
“You developed a liking for the subject, or for the teacher, huh?” She playfully bumped his shoulders.
The comment made Luke blush. He knew it would be of no use to hide it from Mercedes, since she could already tell. "Don't you think he's gorgeous?" Luke asked her, and turned to look at Noah again getting lost in his own world. "Just look at those eyes … goddamn! Aren't they the bluest ones you've ever seen?"
Luke’s wistfulness made her giggle a bit.
"Yes he's handsome and all," she whispered but reminded Luke, “he's our teacher though."
"So what?" Luke replied, "He's not that much older than we are; I reckon I have a chance here." Luke had a determined look on his face.
That made Mercedes giggle a little louder this time, because she thought it was really funny how her friend was falling for their teacher. Basically, this whole teacher crush thing amused her, mostly because it came from Luke.
Noah looked their way. "I am talking to you both as well you know. I would appreciate your attention too." He said in a gentle, yet demanding tone.
Mercedes and Luke sat straight in their chairs. A few hushed chortles came from behind them, and Luke ducked his head in embarrassment. He looked back over his shoulders and saw Gust sitting in the back row.
Gust gazed at him and waved. Luke just gave a smile in return and turned to listen to Noah again. Candes, who was sitting right beside Gust, didn’t like this and slapped his hand in anger.
Luke was trying to concentrate, but his mind went back to thinking about Gust. He was thinking about his conversation with Gust the previous evening, and his face turned sad. He heaved a sad sigh, getting his friend’s attention.
Mercedes looked at him and noticed his mood change.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” She inquired.
"It's Gust." Luke replied, looking back at Gust again for a moment, then turning back, "he just realized he's gay too, and he has a crush on me, and I'm not sure what to do, I mean we are best friends."
Mercedes had to think about this for a minute or two.
"You know?" she said, "I somehow knew he was…" And with that she turned to concentrating on the lesson again, leaving Luke even more confused.
‘How the hell didn’t I see it coming then?’ was all he could wonder about.
The school bell rang, and everyone stood up to head for the canteen for morning break. Luke was looking forward to his breakfast. He was very hungry for some strange reason, and he was contemplating on what to have, when yet again he heard someone call out his name as he was about to leave the class.
Slightly confused, he looked where the voice came from, and he realized that it was the hunky teacher calling him.
"Mr. Snyder, could I please have a word?"
"Sure" he replied smiling, although nervously wondering what it was all about. He excused himself from Mercedes, promising her to meet at their table in the canteen.
She looked between Luke’s hopeful look and Noah’s serious demeanor, and a giggle came out of her as she left. Right behind her was Gust who stopped where Luke stood. He opened his mouth to say something, but Candes pulled him out of the classroom.
Luke sighed at that and shook his head.
Noah waited until all the other students had left the room. When they all were gone and they were the only ones left in the room, he stood up to close the door. As he walked back to his desk, he saw that Luke was looking at him slightly confused. Actually Luke’s mind was running wild, imaging what was to come…
"Luke, I've had a look at your grades over the last three months….”
‘Grades? DAMN!’ Luke’s train of thought had derailed and crashed into a sign board screaming ‘TROUBLE’!
“Yes, I've noticed that your grades have gone down in this subject. Can you think of any reason why this has happened?”
Luke shrugged his shoulders, not knowing how to answer this without being harsh. Actually, Luke thought it was kind of a boring subject. ‘What the fuck does anyone care what has happened in the past? Don’t they say forget the past and just move on??’, was what he thought. But he certainly couldn’t say that to his teacher, not to this one who was so damn cute.
He was trying to think of some good reason, when suddenly an idea popped into his head.
"Um … I guess I need some help sir." he said.
Noah gave it a thought. "Hmm that might be an idea ", He replied, "I guess I could ask one of your classmates if they can help you out and …"
"NO!!" Luke burst out, interrupting him. Noah looked at him perplexed.
‘Damn, this is not going how I want it to go.’ He had to think of something fast. "Uhm,” Luke stammered, “What I mean is, … I have problems remembering … like all the dates and stuff, my classmates couldn't help me there, could they?"
Noah narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He was pretty sure that Luke had no problems remembering at all, and that in fact, was just an excuse not to study. Noah decided he would test Luke on it personally, and find out why Luke was lying.
"Alright Mr. Snyder, in that case, you need a professional tutor. Report here today at 3:15 after school, and I will help you out myself.”
'YESSS!!!' Luke’s heart yelled in victory. He had to push down the urge of getting on the table and dancing happily right in front of his teacher.
"Yes sir, I’ll be here.” He said, pulling a straight face, but the happy grin just wouldn’t go. “Thank you!”
Noah charmingly smiled back at him, making his heart beat erratically once again.
He walked out of the room with a very satisfied look and a wicked smile on his face, knowing his life was taking an interesting turn.
Gust was in the shower after practice, listening to the banter his teammates were having outside. It was the usual comments and taunting towards him and Luke. Usually he would just ignore it, but today it made him feel so angry.
He counted slowly to ten, trying to calm himself down. He rinsed off the remaining soap and shampoo and turned the shower off. He quickly dried himself and put the towel around his hips.
As he walked back towards the changing room, Jason White, a guy he completely disliked because of his attitude, remarked with a smug,
"Watch it guys; cover up, gayboy Rivera is here.”
Without thinking, Gust turned around and grabbed Jason by his hair, punching him in his stomach. Jason collapsed in pain on the floor, holding his belly where Gust had hit him.
Gust turned to every one of the boys there. They seemed to have dry throats, looking at what Gust had done to their leader.
With an alarming voice Gust warned them, "If I hear any of you making any hateful remarks about us gays, you'll have it coming …" Gust spat out.
He left the shower cubicles in anger, and got dressed, before storming out of the sports complex.
He was swearing all the way out, when he abruptly halted as the realization hit him …
'Oh My God! Did I just say “us gays”?’
He started laughing out loud. That felt so good, weirdly, when he thought of it. Although he was scared to death, mulling over how things would turn out after this, he felt like a bird out of prison.