Luke's eyes widened in shock and he took a step back. "Oh, crap, um, sorry? I was looking for my.....wait how do you know my name?"
He doesn't know me? How can he not . . . Oh! The hair! I keep forgetting. But wouldn't he recognize-right, he never met Vicky face to face.
Wow, this might actually be salvageable.
I saw Vicky tense up and look at me out of the corner of my eye. I wished I could have given him a mental message of "let me handle this" but he either understood or wasn't gonna say anything anyway because he kept quiet.
Ok, it's up to me. Lying time.
"Um, get out, um, kid? Don't you knock? And what the hell are you doing here anyway?" Ok, so I didn't suddenly get better at lying. Good to know. Or not.
Luke took another step back. "Uh, yeah whatever. I'm just gonna-"
Suddenly Erica popped up out of nowhere, pushing Luke out of the way and popping her head in the room. "Hey, Nate!" she called. "What's with Jason? Michelle says he's gay now? When did that happen? And what's this about watching you guys have sex? Did you say Michelle could because if she gets to then I wanna too!"
I cringed. Vicky winced. Luke narrowed his eyes.
"N . . . Nate?" he said hesitantly. He stared at me hard, looking past the costume and the dyed hair and I could pretty much pinpoint the exact second he recognized me because I'm pretty sure that choked whimper was covering up a few mini-strokes. "What the hell?" he croaked. "You're a homo?"
"Luke-" I started.
"Hey!" Erica shouted and turned to Luke. "What the hell is your problem? And who the hell are you? This party is invite only and even though Michelle invited half the school-"
"She what?!" I yelled and Vicky put a comforting hand on my arm.
"I know for a fact she didn't invite any ignorant bigots!"
"I was invited!" he protested. "I'm Nate's step-brother! Jason told me about the party and where it was and said I could come."
"Jason said that?" Vicky said. We shared a look filled with identical levels of "what the fuck was he thinking?" Jason KNEW me and Vicky were trying to keep our relationship secret from Luke for now and he invites him to a party filled with fangirls?
"Yeah." Luke said indignantly, but then his eyes strayed to Vicky's hand on my arm and he frowned. "Your gay!?" he screeched, getting back on track.
"Oh, crap." Erica said. "Um, this isn't my fault! I'm just gonna...." she pointed over her shoulder. "Yeah." She took off.
Oh, this was gonna be bad. Even though, judging by the look on his face this was gonna be pointless I needed to try and explain. And get him to not tell my dad. "Luke, can-"
"And who the hell are you?" he yelled at Vicky. "Did you seduce him? Take advantage of him?"
"He's my boyfriend!" I yelled. I grabbed Vicky around the waist and pulled him close. He let out the most adorable surprised "eep" noise but I had to ignore it for now. "You don't insult him."
Luke's mouth dropped open, then he snapped his jaw shut and a whole bunch of emotions that I couldn't even try to name flashed across his face before settling on one I could identify.
"Y-you..." he choked back a sob and ran away.
"Shit." I hissed.
Vicky pulled me into a hug and I melted into him. Seems like I've been doing that a lot lately. I soaked up his calming presence. "So," he asked. "What are you gonna do?"
I sighed. "That bridge idea you had a while back is sounding really awesome right about now."
Vicky giggled softly. "The one under the highway, right?"
"Nah, they might find us there. According to certain nursery rhymes London is supposed to have some nice bridges."
"That burn down." Vicky laughed.
I did too. "Yeah. Maybe Canada?"
Vicky gave me a soft kiss on the side of my head. "I'd go anywhere with you." he said seriously.
My heart jumped. "Really?"
He nodded and turned me to face him. "Yes. Anywhere." He kissed me on the lips this time.
I moaned into his mouth, but didn't deepen the kiss. As much as London or Canada might appeal to me I knew I couldn't avoid going after Luke. I sighed and pulled away, just enough to break the kiss. "I need to go talk to him." I said resignedly.
"I know." Vicky kissed me quickly. "Want me to go with you?"
Oh God yes. Did I ever. "No," is what I said out loud though. "He's gonna freak out enough over this as it is, if we both go out there I dunno what'll happen. I doubt I'll have a brother anymore but at least I can maybe get him to keep quiet about it to my dad." The thought of Luke not wanting anything to do with me hurt more than I thought it would. I hadn't known him for that long, and it wasn't like he was really my brother or anything, but it felt like he was. It would suck having him not want anything to do with me. Especially since I doubted I'd be able to avoid him if my dad did end up getting joint custody.
"I wish I could help." Vicky said sadly. I could tell he was hurting for me and that actually made me feel a bit better. No matter what was going on at least I still had my Vicky.
"You are." I gave him a quick kiss. "Just by being you and being near me you are."
He smiled shyly and blushed. "From anyone else that would sound so sappy."
I giggled. "It still sounds sappy. But it's true."
He kissed me again. "Go. Talk to him. I'll wait with Jason."
"Alright." I sighed. Time to get it over with. I looked into Vicky's eyes and then sighed a very different kind of sigh. "I love you. You have no idea."
He smiled. "Yeah I do." Another kiss. "I love you the same."
One last kiss and a comfort hug and I turned and left the room at a run.
I didn't get far. Maybe about a few feet from the door when I realized that looking for one person in a crowd of people isn't the easiest thing in the world. It's even less easy when almost everyone in the room is at least three inches taller than you.
I stood on my toes but it didn't help, just hurt my toes. I was gonna have to push through crowds and try to find him the hard way. I took a deep breath, and went forward.
I got about two steps when a hand grabbed my arm.
"Nate, I'm so sorry!" Erica said after she spun me around to face her. "I didn't know that was Luke. Do you think he's mad at me?"
"I think he's probably more mad at me for being gay." I grumbled. "Which by the way wouldn't have been a problem if you didn't run in screaming 'Nate! Nate!' because he didn't know it was me."
"Oh my God! I outed you to your brother?!" she squealed. "I'm so sorry!" she hugged me.
I shook her off. "Stop grabbing me."
I sighed. "Look, whether it's your fault or not I need to find him, have you seen him?"
"No." she chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully. Suddenly her eyes lit up. "Oh! Wait! There he is!" she pointed behind me.
I spun around. All I saw were people. Who were taller than me. I growled. Maybe I should start wearing combat boots. Or high tops. "I can't see anything."
I heard an exasperated noise. "Look! The stairs!"
I looked, just in time to see a boy shove past someone coming down and run out of the basement. It must have taken him a while to push through the party if he was just getting to the stairs now.
Didn't exactly fill me with confidence about catching up.
I didn't even bother to say anything to Erica, I just sorta waved over my shoulder and took off. I made a straight line run towards the stairs, quickest way between two points and all that mathy crap, but of course that was where EVERYBODY was hanging out. I pushed through dancers, loiterers, talkers and even a couple making out. Everybody I pushed protested and shouted and a few even shoved me back. It was like swimming through a loud, slightly smelly, more than slightly sweaty ,writhing molasses creature but eventually I popped out the other side and ran up the stairs.
Shit! Which way was the door? I looked around, starting to get a bit frantic. Dammit, he could be calling dad right now you need to pick a damn direction! I took off to the left and broke into a run when I recognized the kitchen. Right way!
The door was still open when I got to it so either I didn't take as long as I thought or Kristen wasn't on door duty anymore. I shot out the open door.
I looked around. Not on the grass. Not on the driveway. Not across the street.
Dammit! He wasn't anywhere.
I groaned. Where the hell-Movement! There was movement out of the corner of my eye. There! Deep in the shadows under a tree near the sidewalk in front of Michelle's house was a small, boy shaped lump. It had to be Luke sitting under the tree.
The relief I felt at finding him really quickly turned into frustrated confusion.
What the hell do I say to him?
I mean, in a way it would have been less confusing if he just punched me in the face and called me a fag. At least then I'd know that it was pointless to say anything and I could spend the rest of my night trying to figure out how the hell I was going to deal with my dad when Luke tells him. But running away with tear filled eyes? How the hell am I supposed to deal with that?
Is he crying because he saw me kissing a boy? If so, why? That's kind of more of an anger response for most people, especially people from insane religious families. But crying? No fucking clue. And again we all know how well I deal with not having a clue.
The shadowed lump moved again and I figured I should probably go over to him before he saw me and ran away again. I still had no idea what I was gonna say but I needed to at least beg him not to tell my dad. I walked over sorta slowly, not wanting to seem like I was sneaking up on him even though I completely was. I didn't need to bother. I got up right next to him and he never even looked over at me.
He was sitting on the grass hugging his knees to his chest and looking out towards the road. For the first time I noticed that he was wearing a blue suit and had his hair kinda gelled up a bit. I'd never seen it that way before and I briefly wondered who he was supposed to be. He was obviously dressed for a costume party so Jason definitely did more than just briefly mention it.
Sexuality crisis or not a little warning would have been nice.
Ok, Nate, you've stalled enough. I cleared my throat. "Uh, Luke?" I said.
He started a bit, but didn't move otherwise. "What do you want?" he said thickly. Yep. Definitely been crying. But why?
"Um, about what happened...." I had no idea what to say. "Um...."
There was silence after I trailed off and I was about to just go straight into the begging for silence when Luke spoke up. "Are you gay?"
I let out a breath. "Yeah."
"And everyone knows?"
"Even your mom?" he turned to look at me as he asked this, disbelief clearly written on his face.
"Yeah. She was one of the first people who knew actually." Where was this going?
"And she's ok with it!?" he almost shouted the question.
"Yeah. She's fine with it." I answered, starting to get a bit confused. This isn't how I expected this conversation to go.
"And the people at your school? No one cares that you like boys?" he seemed almost a bit frantic now.
"Um, yeah a lot care but I don't get any shit for it if that's what you mean." I shrugged. "The fangirls kinda keep everyone in line."
"Never mind." I shook my head. "Look-"
"No!" he jumped up. "You look! You're GAY! People know! Your PARENTS know! And they're ok with it! You have no idea how much I hate you right now!" he yelled.
I blinked, stunned by the outburst. It bothers him this much that people don't hate me for being gay? My breath hitched and I felt like someone just plunged an icicle into my heart. I'd never been on this end of that kind of hate before and as if that wasn't bad enough I was getting it from my step-brother. Someone who I thought was becoming a real friend, if not a brother. Oh God, I'm gonna start crying.
I blinked rapidly, trying to stop the tears from falling. "My parents don't know." I blurted out.
"I told my mom but…" I took a deep breath. "Dad doesn't know." I summoned up all the courage I had and looked into Luke's eyes. This was pointless, but I still needed to try. "Please don't tell him." I whispered. "Please."
Luke just looked at me. He was still mostly in the shadows, but he didn't look as angry as he did a minute ago. Or maybe that was just a trick of the lighting. I dunno. My heart pounded in my chest as I waited for his answer.
"Why would I tell him?" he finally said.
"Because you hate me for being gay and wanna expose me. I get it, ok? Just, please don't tell him. I don't know who he is anymore but I just know he'll completely flip out if he finds out and it'll make my life hell and-" I swallowed, cutting myself off. I was babbling. Needed to stop that.
"Nate, I don't hate you for being gay." Luke said, sounding surprised that I'd think that.
"What?" I choked out. "But you just said you did! You said-"
"I don't hate you because you're gay." he growled. "I hate you because everyone in your life is ok with it!"
"Exactly! You hate that I'm not getting beat up for being a fag. How is that any different?"
"That's not what I said! I don't want you to get beat up!" he sounded frustrated now. "I hate that you have support and a boyfriend and friends and people who like you even though you're gay and all I've ever had is an alcoholic mom who turned into a Jesus freak when she met your dad! Your life is perfect. I could never have what you have. And I hate that." he seemed to deflate after getting all that out. He leaned back against the tree, closed his eyes and rested his head on the bark.
Um, I missed something, didn't I? That almost sounded like he was jealous of me for not having to go through hell because of liking boys. But, that couldn't be it because if it was then HE'D have to be..... "Are you gay?!" I sputtered out. I winced. So much for tact.
Luke slowly opened his eyes and glared. "No, I wanna be accepted for being straight." he shook his head. "Duh!"
Wow. Was I absent when they were handing out the gaydar's or what?
"Um.....oh." I was surprised I could get that much out. Is everyone gay? I mean, I get it, me and Vicky are, well were if you count Carl and probably Goth Boy Aaron too, the only openly gay boys in school so it makes sense for other gay boys to hang around us and stuff. But what about Jason, who became my friend when he thought both of us were straight, and Luke, who just happened to be unfortunate enough to have his mom married to my dad and be dragged across two countries to be plopped down practically right next to me. This kinda stuff just doesn't happen. Am I like some kind of black hole for gayness? Is Sam gonna turn out gay? Is Jack? Is my dad? I shuddered at that last thought. Ok, eeew. It was bad enough thinking about him with Tennis Shoes Wife, thinking about him with a guy is almost enough to turn me straight.
For Michelle. I shuddered again.
"So, this means you're not gonna tell my dad, right?" I asked finally. It was all I could think to say.
Luke glared at me. "That's all you care about, isn't it? Whether or not I'm gonna mess up your perfect little life? Well, don't worry. I won't tell him." he spat out.
I took a step back. "Whoa. That's not what I-"
"Yes it is!" he pushed off the tree and yelled. "You only care about yourself. Look, I just told you I was gay and that my mom and step-dad will NEVER accept that and all you have to say is 'you're not gonna tell my dad'? How is that not selfish?"
"What am I supposed to say!?" I yelled back. Ok, so yeah, maybe I'm not handling this well. "Jesus! First Jason tells me he's gay and now you? I don't know how to respond to any of this! How do you even know? You're, like, 12 right? How can you know?" Ok, maybe that isn't any better. I'm just glad he doesn't know my "hey, I'm gay" story or he'd totally call me on my BS. But it might not be BS with him. Knowing that about yourself at his age can't possibly be normal, right?
"What?" he asked. He was standing completely still, looking at me.
"How can you know? You're-"
"No," he cut me off. "Did you say Jason was gay?"
I cocked my head. "Uh, Yeah." Why is that important?
Luke's eyes bored into me. "Are his parents ok with it too?"
"I dunno. He hasn't told them. He pretty much just figured it out himself. What does this have to do with anything?"
Luke shook his head. "Nothing!" he said quickly. "Forget it. Just....leave me alone, ok? I don't wanna talk to you right now."
I blinked back tears again. For the first time in my life I had a brother, now I was losing him. And it hurt. "Luke, wait, I thought we were friends? I-"
"Please." he sagged back against the tree. "If you really wanna be a friend, or a brother, just leave me alone. Please." he begged.
I stood there. I didn't wanna leave. I wanted to make sure this wasn't the last time we'd talk. I have no idea when Luke squirmed into my heart, but he did, and I needed to know that he wasn't gonna just throw me away because of the insanely stupid reason of me having a better life than him. It never bothered him before finding out I was gay so why does it matter now? Well, I guess maybe I could see why. I never really struggled with it and I always knew my mom would be ok with it, and even if she wasn't she learn to be ok with it. After everything we went through something like me liking boys was never gonna ruin our relationship. Jason was my only friend and he handled the whole coming out thing way better than I did. Luke never had that. Even if he didn't struggle with being gay, which I'm pretty sure he did, all he knew was an alcoholic mom and now two parents who's religion would never let them accept a gay son. Hell, I didn't even wanna tell my dad and I don't have to live with him. So I guess he does kinda have a reason to be resentful. I didn't care though. I just wanted to make sure we were gonna be ok.
He was right. I am a selfish bastard.
But maybe I don't have to be all the time.
"Ok. I'll go." I took another step back. "But I'm here if you need to talk."
"Whatever." Luke mumbled.
I sighed and walked away.
I got about ten painful steps away before I heard his voice. "He's gonna find out you know."
I stopped and turned around. "What?"
Luke was facing away from me with his left shoulder resting on the tree, staring out into the street. "Your dad. He's gonna find out. If everyone knows someone's gonna eventually tell him."
My heart froze. I wanted to ask again, to make sure Luke wouldn't say anything. But I didn't. I waited, to see if he was gonna say anything else, maybe even run over and hug me and say that he doesn't hate me (I know, probably not very likely) but when he didn't I turned around again and went back into the house.
Back at the party it didn't take me long to find Vicky. He was talking with Carl and Erica but was firmly planted right at the bottom of the stairs facing towards the door. He was saying something to Carl but he seemed a bit stiff and not as expressive as he usually is. He look preoccupied. I wonder if he'd been standing there waiting and then got ambushed?
His eyes quickly looked up the stairs mid sentence, somehow it seemed like he'd been doing that a lot since I'd been gone, and he broke off whatever he was saying with a relieved yet still worried smile. The other two saw where he was looking and watched me walk down the stairs, Erica with curiosity and Carl with his lips set in a firm line. I ignored them both.
"Hey." Vicky said when I got down to him. "How'd it go?"
I swallowed, then sighed. "Not good."
I'd barely gotten the words out before Vicky pulled me into a hug. I collapsed against him and soaked in his comforting Vickyness. God, I needed this.
"Come on," Carl said to Erica. "Let's go." Erica made a frustrated girl noise, but gave me a small smile before leaving. I looked at Carl to give him a "thank you" look but he was already walking away.
Vicky let me go and took my hand. "Come on, let's get away from the stairs and you can tell me about it." I smiled and nodded and we walked over to the nearest unoccupied darkish corner. We leaned against the wall, still holding hands, and I rested my head against Vicky's shoulder.
"He hates me." I said sadly.
"What? Why?" Vicky sounded pissed. "Because he saw us kissing? What the hell? He didn't seem like that kind of asshole when we played Reach with him."
"No, not because we were kissing." I gave Vicky's hand a grateful squeeze. I hated what happened but it made my chest warm up at how angry Vicky was getting for me. "Because we were kissing and everyone was ok with it."
"Huh?" Vicky asked, confused.
I told him the whole story. Actually kinda the same way Jason told me about figuring out his sexuality. Lots of talking, very few breaths and no pauses. I realized I was doing it but I couldn't stop. Like my mouth was broken and stuck on 'talk'. He seemed to understand me though, because when I finished he pulled me into a tight hug.
"I'm sorry." he said softly in my ear. "That's really unfair."
I laughed humorlessly. "Some of it, maybe. But I am kinda selfish."
Vicky pulled back and looked me in the eyes. "No you aren't!"
"Yeah I am." I shrugged and tried out a smile. It didn't work. "I never bothered trying to figure out what was wrong with Jason for like a month and then when he finally breaks down and tells me all I can think of is how it's gonna effect my life. Same with Luke. I never even thought about how his life must be. I just wanted to make sure he wouldn't tell my dad about me."
"Nate." Vicky said sadly. "You're not selfish. You panic sometimes but you always end up dealing with things the right way. Usually."
I shrugged again. Usually I'll believe anything Vicky says, he's just that kind of person, but not this time. I was selfish. Even if I wasn't with Vicky I was with almost everyone else. Although I guess I could be happy that I always treat Vicky right. With that thought in my head the smile I tried out this time was even a little bit real. About half I'd say. "Maybe." I said, and I knew Vicky knew that I wasn't buying it so I quickly added. "I don't really wanna talk about it anymore, ok?"
Vicky looked at me for a full 30 or 40 seconds before nodding. "Ok. But I wanna find Jason and ask him why the hell he invited Luke."
I was about to say that I'd rather just go home and maybe cuddle a bit before he had to leave but then what he said caught up with me and I kinda wanted to find out what Jason was thinking too. "Yeah, ok. You know where he is?"
Vicky looked around. "I think I saw Michelle dragging him somewhere while you were gone." He stood up on his toes then huffed in disgust. "Can't see anything." he grumbled. "Damn giants."
I giggled softly. Not quite a laugh but it was real. "I noticed that before." I said. "Let's just walk around. He's tall enough that we should be able to see his head sticking out of the crowd somewhere."
Vicky grinned and took my hand. "Yeah, you're right. Let's go."
It didn't take too long to find him. I was joking before, but I actually did spot his head before I saw the rest of him. The amused smirk barely had time to form on my lips before it faded at the sight of the person he was talking to.
Well. That was a conversation I didn't wanna be within 50 feet of.
I stopped and tugged on Vicky's hand when he kept walking. He looked back at me and did the eyebrow cock thing. I nodded over towards Jason and Jen. He looked then turned back and gave an exaggerated shudder. "Let's not go over there right now." he said.
"Probably a good idea." I agreed.
"Nate!" Michelle screeched as she leapt out of a crowd right next to us and latched onto my Vicky-less arm.
"Jesus fuck!" I yelled. A very manly yell. Not at all a shriek of pure terror. Nope. Not even a bit....
"Damn!" Vicky yelled a second after me. "I'm way too young to get heart attacks Michelle." he glared at her.
"What?" she seemed confused for a second, then shook her head. "Never mind. Erica told me what happened! Are you ok? Was your step-brother really here? I wish I could have met him. But are you ok? Do you want me to kick his ass?"
Where the hell do I even start with that? Thankfully I didn't have to. Vicky answered for me. "Um, he's fine." Lie. "Luke was here" Truth. "but he left." Truth again. "And, no, you shouldn't kick his ass." More truth. "I don't think you could anyway." Honestly not too sure. Michelle seems.....scrappy.
"But what happened!" It was more of a demand than a question.
Honestly, I so very much was not in the mood to deal with Michelle right now. I didn't even really care about Jason anymore. I just wanted to leave, curl up into Vicky and sulk. Words can't express how grateful I was to Vicky when he kept answering for me.
"Michelle," he said wearily. "It's personal, ok? And it's really bothering Nate so can you just leave it for now? Please?" he hesitated for a second, then added. "For me?"
I didn't think that would work on Michelle. She's obsessed with us but only really seems to take pity on us when Erica's the one being annoying and nosy. But I guess that perfect, beautiful, innocent face is too much for even Michelle to resist because her eyes got wide and she apologized immediately.
"I'm sorry! Of course you don't wanna talk about it. You had, like, a fight or something and maybe he totally hates you now and-"
"Michelle!" Vicky cut her off.
"Oh, sorry. Um. I'll just go. Um, I'll see you later before you go ok? Ok." she nodded and melted back into the crowd.
That's actually just a bit creepy. The crowd ninja thing. Not the leaving thing. Although that was kinda weird too, for Michelle.
"Thank you." I said softly and gave Vicky's hand a squeeze.
He smiled understandingly. "Anytime."
It was a perfect kissing moment. I would have done it to, but right then Jason decided to finish up his conversation with Jen and come up to us.
"Hey, guys." he said. He sounded sad and tired and just a bit wary, like he didn't know if we'd wanna see him. I didn't, really. But Luke's voice calling me selfish echoed in my head and I figured that if Jason was risking awkwardness and possible rejection by coming over to us there must be a reason.
I swallowed the "Hey Jason we were just about to leave" that wanted to come out and instead said "Hey, Jason." I hesitated then, guessing why he wanted to talk, added. "I saw you with Jen."
He sighed. A deep, exhausted sigh. "Yeah." he said quietly. He was silent for a few seconds, then "I told her about, you know, everything."
"How did she take it?" I asked.
"She cried." Jason said and swallowed what I think might have been a sob of his own. "Said she l-loved me. That she wanted to lose her virginity to me. That she'd had a crush on me for the past two years." he laughed humorlessly. "Two years! And I thought I liked her since last year. Maybe if we got together then, maybe..."
"It still would have happened." I said sadly. "Even if you didn't freak out about not wanting to have sex with her Vicky still would have moved here and you still would have seen us together, you just would have had a whole year behind you and Jen instead of just a month and a half. It would have been worse."
I don't know what surprised me more, the fact that I was actually trying to convince Jason he was better off gay when I still wasn't totally ok with it or the fact that what I said was actually right. I'm not usually good at figuring out other people's problems. Hell, I can barely manage my own.
"You're right, I guess." he shook his head, like he was trying to clear it. "It would have been worse. But you know what the worst thing about this is, besides breaking her heart? I actually really like her. Not like like but we really got along when she wasn't trying to have sex with me. If I'd just figured this out years ago like you maybe we could have been friends?" he sighed again. "Now I don't even have that. I just have you."
I winced. "Ouch."
Jason's eyes widened. "Shit, I didn't mean it like that! I just-"
I punched him lightly in the shoulder and laughed. "I know what you meant, Godzilla." I actually didn't for a second but Jason was on edge enough. I'd been there and one more emotional problem to deal with would have pushed him over and made him a frantic, blubbering mess. Then he'd have to cry on me and get me all soggy while everyone stared at us and we all just got more and more uncomfortable. Plus, he's my best friend. I didn't wanna see him cry.
Jason let out a shaky laugh. "Ok...Smurf." Wow, he hadn't called me that in a long time. Pretty much since that-huh, since that day me and Vicky went to his house. That probably meant something but I was dealing with my own emotional shit and couldn't figure it out right then.
"And, since no one's gonna mention it, you've got me too." Vicky said with his hands on his hips trying to look hurt and offended. He didn't pull it off well. His pursed 'I'm trying really hard not to laugh' mouth gave him away.
"Yeah," I said. "And don't forget Erica."
"And Michelle." Vicky added.
Jason laughed. "Yeah, and Luke."
That stopped me cold. I'd almost forgotten why I wanted to talk to Jason in the first place. "Why did you invite him here?" I blurted out, sort of accusingly.
Jason blinked. "Huh?" I guess my sudden mood change threw him.
"We were trying to keep our relationship secret from him." I said angrily. Except I wasn't really angry. Not at Jason. But he was there and I could blame him. Childish? Yes. Do I care? No. I'm working on my selfishness, my maturity can come later. "But you invited him here to a party me and Vicky were at, full of people who know about us and are just a bit obsessed with us and you didn't even mention it? What the hell?"
Jason's face turned ghost white. "Oh shit." he whispered. "D-did something happen?"
Did something happen? Did something HAPPEN? You bet your lanky ass something happened!
It was probably best that Vicky was an in tune with me as he is because instead of letting me go on what would probably be a pretty stupid and possibly friendship ruining rant at Jason he interrupted me. "Luke walked in on me and Nate kissing. He freaked out and told Nate he hates him."
"Oh God." Jason blurted. "Nate, I'm so sorry. I didn't even think about that. We'd just been talking a lot recently and he wanted to hang out this weekend and I said I couldn't because of the party and he said it sounded cool and I just invited him. I've been worried about whether I was gay or not for a while and I couldn't talk to you and it was really nice to have a friend and I was stupid and didn't even think it just slipped out. I'm really, really sorry Nate." he took a deep breath when he finished.
I dunno what it was, maybe the bit about not being able to talk to me got me feeling like a shitty friend again, but my anger bled out of me and left me feeling deflated and tired and really, really wishing that the last few weeks could have been different. For a lot of reasons. "It's ok." I said tiredly. "I'm not mad at you. It would have happened at some point anyway." I sighed, then thought of something. "If you feel bad though, maybe you could talk to him for me? Find out what's going on? If he really hates me?" Jason frowned slightly. "It's not like I'm asking you to get in the middle of my problems, well, ok it kinda is but you said you're friends with him right? Maybe he'll tell you stuff he won't tell me." And damn if that didn't hurt just a bit. I'm his brother, ok not a real brother but still, he's supposed to be able to talk to me dammit!
"Nate," Jason said slowly. "If he hates you for being gay I don't think we're gonna be friends much longer, you know?"
I snorted. "He doesn't hate me for being gay. He hates me for being gay and having friends and a family that's ok with it."
"Huh?" Jason asked. "That doesn't make any sense."
"It does when he's gay too." I said. "And I know I told you how his mom and my dad are so he's gotta be feeling even worse than you about it." My eyes lit up. "Maybe you could help him! I told him about you and he didn't seem mad at you or anything, just surprised, so you could talk to him and get him to feel better about it maybe?"
"Nate, how can I make him feel better when I'm still not sure how I feel about it?"
"I dunno but maybe it'll help you too. You can, like, talk about it and stuff." I shook my head. "I dunno. Maybe it's stupid but I can't help him and to be honest it's kinda killing me that he hates me so could you please just try? For me?" I tried the Vicky eyes.
"Ok!" Jason took a deep breath. "Ok. I'll talk to him. I guess I should probably find out if he hates me too anyway." He still looked unsure but he was gonna try and that made me happy enough.
"Thank you!" I grinned, jumped towards him and gave him a quick, tight hug then pulled back just as fast, embarrassed. "Uh, I mean, thanks." I shifted awkwardly. At least this time neither one of us was hard.
Jason blushed slightly, probably also remembering the last time we hugged. "Uh, yeah, no problem."
Vicky took my hand back and squeezed it. I looked at him and saw that he was trying really hard not to laugh.
"Oh quiet you." I said and stuck my tongue out at him.
"I didn't say anything!" he said, then laughed.
I rolled my eyes, but didn't bother to argue. I was feeling better, well, maybe not better but hopeful. Jason would talk to Luke and, maybe not fix everything, but at least open up the door to maybe not hating me. And dealing with his own issues. I hoped.
"So, are you two gonna stick around?" Jason asked.
Me and Vicky looked at each other and he gave a slight shrug. Guess it was up to me. Five minutes ago I was all for going home but now that I had hope instead of despair (and doesn't that just sound emo as all hell) I didn't feel like leaving. Drama aside I was enjoying myself. "Yeah, for a bit anyway. What about you?"
"I think I'm gonna go. I'm not really in the mood for a party right now." Jason said.
"Well, call me after you call Luke. I wanna know how that went ok?" I paused. "And, you know, if you need to talk about anything you can call too."
Jason gave me a small, thankful smile. "Thanks. Well, I guess I'll go call my mom and wait outside for her. See you guys at school."
"See ya." I said.
"Bye Jason." Vicky said.
Jason waved and walked away through the crowd.
"Think he'll be ok?" Vicky asked when he was gone.
I thought about it for a second or two. "Yeah, probably, eventually."
"And what about you? Are you gonna be ok?" Vicky asked, concern filling his words.
I thought about that one for a bit longer. "Maybe." I smiled at Vicky. "I'm hopeful."
Vicky looked at me for a second, then smiled back. "Good." He pulled me close and we rested our heads on each others shoulders. I could feel his love and support, like a physical thing, through his hug and I hoped he could feel how insanely grateful I was that he was in my life.
We pulled back at the same time and I gave him a quick kiss and then grinned. "Come on," I said. "Let's go have some more fun."