“Want me to ride the bus with you to your house? I have everything with me,” Kim asked as we walked down the hall after our last class of the day.
“You can go ahead, I'm meeting up with Keven,” I told her.
“What for?” she asked.
“I'm about to find out who he's been all lovely dovey and trading texts with,” I told her.
“I thought you already knew,” she told me sounding puzzled.
“You know who it is?” I asked her.
“Well yeah,” she said just before we exited the main doors of the school. “You know too,” she added as she looked around the front parking area of the school.
“No I don't,” I argued. “Keven said the same thing, but I don't know who his girlfriend is,” I told Kim.
“Wow,” she said as she turned to look at me wide eyed.
“What?” I demanded of her.
“No wonder you don't know,” she said when we came to another stop at the foot of steps and out of the flow of other students trying to leave the building.
“Is Keven giving you a ride or are you catching the next bus?” she asked throwing me for a small loop.
“He's giving me a ride he said,” I informed her.
“Then I'll catch the first bus out then. I'll meet you at your house,” she said before she lightly jogged over to the, still parked, big yellow bus that was filling up fast.
“JASON!” I heard someone shout. I looked around and saw Keven as he waved his arms to get my attention. I honestly think that he forgets that he's one of the tallest kids in the school. He didn't need to use both hands to make me see him. I looked around as I walked to him to make sure that I wouldn't walk into anyone else on my way over to him and his shiny big truck.
As I got closer I saw this other guy walking towards him also. He looked like the dark haired boy I saw him hanging out with now and again. Now that I see him up close I think I met him at one of Keven's games. Bill?
“Jason, this is Ben and Ben, this is Jason,” he said.
“Hey,” I just said before my eyes started to look around for a girl to start walking towards the truck.
“Nice to meet you,” Ben then said pulling my eyes back to him when he held out his hand for me to shake. Rather out going isn't he? I thought to myself before reaching out and shaking his hand. I didn't shake hands much so it was kinda odd for me, but not so bad.
“Good,” Keven said. He looked back and forth between the two of us as if he was expecting something for a bit. “Ok, let's go. Hop in Jason,” he told me. I moved to open the back seat door just to realize that there wasn't one. We would all have to squeeze into the front seat together.
It turned out not be that much of a squeeze after all. There wasn't much wiggle room but we all had our own space and I think resting my arm on the window helped. Ben was sitting next to Keven and we all stayed quite as Keven drove us off of the school's grounds and out into the bordering neighborhood. I was starting to think that we were dropping Ben off before we picked up his girlfriend who would turn out not to be a student at our school.
“So where are we going?” I asked either of them, but really Keven.
“To your house,” Keven told me.
“To my house?” I asked a little surprised. “What happened to meeting your girlfriend?” I asked him in turn. I heard mumbling coming from their side of the seat, but neither of them said anything to me until Keven had pulled over to the side of the road and stopped in front of a Wendy's.
“I don't have a girlfriend,” Keven said as he turned towards me and looked completely past Ben. “I have a boyfriend,” he told me before my mouth opened to ask him what he was talking about.
“Oh,” I said instead as I blinked a few times. It never occurred to me that he was gay. I never thought to ask or to tell. I just thought that everyone knew that I was, except my folks of course. I never had that 'gay sense' everyone said that gay guys had. He was popular, girls were always trying to get him to go with them until he picked someone last year, then they just let him be. Did they know he was gay, or that he just now had someone?
“Oh,” I said again. I now looked at Ben. “You?” I asked him.
“Yeah, me,” he answered.
“Hi,” I said from my side of the truck. I was mortified.
“See ya,” I said to the shiny slightly gray colored truck and everyone who was in it. They both waved at me before Keven drove off.
I had seen Kim sitting on my front porch when Keven had pulled up in front of my house. I quickly turned around, opened and closed my front gate before walking towards her. She held out her hand when she thought that I was close enough to start cursing her out. Which I actually almost did. How could she not tell me?
“Here is a list of everyone I know in our school that is gay,” she said. “I left off the lesbians,” she informed me as I took the list from her and she stood up. “Keys please?” she asked as she held out her hand and waited for me to give them to her.
I reached into my pocket in search of keys and felt my iPod first. I hadn't turned it back on since I left home this morning. I found the keys after I found a stick of gum that I still had in my pocket since I got it from Kim a few weeks backs on our way to her house by bus. I was slowing making my way inside as I read the list that Kim gave me. It was a long list. She even had a list of the guys that were in the class ahead of us that had already graduated. Keven turned out to be one of five guys on the rugby team. She had Cole on the list along with his two friends. She didn't give names, she just had Cole Matthews and his two close friends. When I got down to ninth grade she just had a general note.
Most of those young boys look so gay that I can't tell who is or isn't and they haven't come out to anyone I know either.
“Do you know for sure that all of these people are gay or are you just guessing?” I asked her once I had finished. I looked up and saw that I was standing in the front hallway. I turned around and closed the door behind of me before walking into the kitchen where I heard the fridge door being closed.
“I know,” she told me before she drank whatever it was she had poured into her cup.
“And how do you know?” I asked as I placed my bag on the table. I walked around her to get something to drink out of the fridge myself. I pulled out two kinds of dip before I laid my hand on a bottle of lemonade.
“You know Alex?” she asked me as she placed her cup down on the counter top.
“The Alex in our semester? Yeah,” I told her.
“He's the sex addicted gay kid in school. At lest he use to be,” she started. “Around the time that Keven started to be so sweet to someone, we had seen him hanging out with Alex a few times. We thought that they had hooked up and that Keven was holding on to him until we saw Alex with this new, short, red headed kid. After a few weeks we realized that Keven hadn't fallen for Alex, but his friend Ben. The new red head was a freshmen that year and his name is Eddi,” she had been explaining this to me as she looked through my cupboard for all the chips we had.
“Ok, that explains Keven, but that does not explain the other people on this list,” I informed her as she started to dip one of the purple chips into the salsa.
“Well,” she started to say with something in her mouth. She stopped talking to chew some more before she tried again. “Well,” she said sounding clearer. “Thanks to you I found out about Cole and his friends for sure. They were a maybe until now. My friends who hang out over at JB's a lot told me about the boy couples they saw hanging out there and the public library is starting to become popular.” She stopped for another dip, this time with a white chip. I drank from my bottle as I waited for her to continue.
“There was also the time when the out guys, were talking to other out guys about their time with Alex and how his system worked. That had us talking for weeks. Especially when we kept finding out who had already gone through his system,” she opened her eyes wide for a moment to add emphasis.
“Who are 'we'?” I asked her I pulled the purple chips towards me and snagged the container of guacamole that she hadn't touched yet.
“The yaoi club?” she asked me. Again there was that sound in her voice as if I should have known that too.
“I know that there is a yaoi club, I just didn't know that you joined,” I told her.
“I was a member before I met you,” she told me.
“Fine,” I said as I gave up. We weren't forever friends, just fast ones. “So maybe you can tell me what Cole's friends meant about something being Alex's fault?” I asked her as I remembered where I heard Alex's name recently.
“Oh that. It was a few weeks into Alex's couple-hood with his boy Eddi. He was so short. It took us a while to get over the fact that he didn't end up with Keven after all. Anyway,” she said when she realized that she had strayed from what she was suppose to be telling me. “From what you said and what we kinda knew, it seems that they were some of the guys that would pick on Eddi when he first got here. Keven seems to be a friend of Eddi and might have gotten him to met Alex through his system and in turn told him that Eddi was being picked on. The school as a whole seem to like Eddi, so most of us would stop the others guys when they were picking on him, but it all stopped one day. Alex must have had a talk with them or something. Maybe he had proof of something they did and blackmailed them into laying off Eddi,” Kim wondered out loud.
“Maybe,” I said. I felt so out of it. That is what happens when you move into the tenth grade, in a new school, in a new town. “Grab the food,” I told her as I took what I had into my bedroom. While I was in there I took my headphones from around my neck and placed them into their case that was on top of my tall dresser. Kim walked in as I was wrapping the cord around the base before leaving the room for my bag. When I walked back in she was looking at it.
“Do you want to use them before we start?” I asked her as I sat down on the floor and reached for the dip and chips again.
“Where did you get that pictures from?” she asked me while I dipped into the green stuff. I looked up and saw her pointing back at the headphones, but I knew that she was talking about what was next to it.
“It was on the school's website. It's like two years old,” I told her. She turned and looked back at the picture that I had of Cole next to the headphones he had given me.
“So why do you want him to be your BF?” Kim asked as she sat down next to me with her chips and dip, that she placed between her legs on the floor.
“Besides the fact that he likes me?” I asked her.
“Yes, besides that,” she countered. I shrugged my shoulders. I ate as I tried to come up with a way to tell her what I only felt.
“He apologized. I'm sure a lot of people would say that he took too long, but he had very good reasons,” I said as I now defended him. “And now that I know that he never meant me any harm, I kinda see anything he did to me kinda differently now,” I answered her.
“Just make sure that you really do like him and not just want to like him when you talk to him next week,” she told me as she pulled another chip from her bag.
“Unlike you, I promise not to jump him so hard he loses a shoe,” I said with a wide grin on my face as I looked at her in my attempt to end this on a fun note.
“He didn't have all his clothes on yet, never mind shoes,” she told again as she blushed all over.