Codey’s World Story Collections 2007 Back to School Other Stories by Altimexis

DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account of two young teenage boys who are in love. Although no sexual activity takes place in this story, there are references to gay sex and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Although the story takes place in actual locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals nor corporate policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.

Please note that this story is the second in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The first, Broad Ripple Blues, was originally written for the Gay Authors Summer Anthology. Back to School Jitters was written in response to a back-to-school story challenge hosted at Codey’s World, and it builds on the main characters and events of the first story. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey’s World.

Back to School Jitters

By Altimexis

Call me crazy, but I like school. I’ve always been a good student and I get good grades, but most of all, school takes me away from the otherwise boring life I lead. I live in a humongous house on a lake with a swimming pool and a boat dock. I’ve got the newest iMac and a huge plasma TV in my bedroom, with both an XBox 360 and a Playstation 3. Shit, I’ve even got a brand new iPhone. What more could a kid want?

Well, I’ll tell you, I want more. I’d gladly give it all up to have a life. A real life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the things I have and I even love my parents - not that I ever see them - but there are just some things that money can’t buy, and among them are friendship... and love. We moved to Lake Shores just as I was starting middle school, but there are no other kids my age in our neighborhood – not that we even know any of our neighbors. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt so isolated and alone. Sure, I can always go across the river and spend time in the artsy shops and restaurants in Broad Ripple, but since that’s in ‘the city’, none of the kids who hang out there go to my school.

So school has always been my refuge. For six hours a day, I could forget about my life and spend time with other kids, study and play sports. No, I don’t really have any friends – at least I didn’t until this summer, but in my anonymity, I could always pretend to be part of the crowd and, in some way, that has given me comfort. But that all changed toward the end of eighth grade.

Gees, was it just last March when the infamous ‘gym incident’ occurred? I still can’t believe I did that, but even though I told everyone it was an accident, no one really believed me. Word spread like wildfire through the school and by the next day, rumors were rampant that I was gay. After the incident, scarcely a day went by when someone didn’t say or do something to remind me. Not that there was anything overt, but it still hurt just the same. If it became a serious confrontation, I knew I could hold my own in a fight if I had to, but this wasn’t supposed to be happening in the first place.

The irony of it all is that even though it truly was an accident, I really am gay. Not that I’ve gone around advertising it, mind you. So I guess you could say that the last few months of middle school were hell for me and for the first time in my life, I actually looked forward to my summer vacation. Little did I know, however, that this summer would end up being so special, for it was this summer that I fell in love.

David Reynolds is a boy I knew from school – a casual acquaintance, I guess you could say. He’s also cute as hell. He has these amazing golden hazel eyes, soft wavy brown hair that perfectly frames his face, and a lopsided smile that literally stole my heart. I don’t usually talk to other kids – after all, it’s hard to maintain a fantasy life if you actually get to know people – but I just had a feeling about David. I’m not sure I’d call it gaydar, but there was just something about David that made me want to get to know him.

I’ll never forget that steamy day in July when I saw him as he exited the Ben and Jerry’s in Broad Ripple, where he’d bought an ice cream cone. I decided to follow him, and that simple act literally changed my life.

At first he didn’t seem to hear me when I called out to him, but when he turned around and waited for me to catch up to him, I could tell right away that he couldn’t keep his eyes off me. Personally, I don’t care much for my ‘California surfer’ looks, but I do have a great tan and, as I was shirtless, I could tell David liked what he saw. Still I doubt that I could have gotten up the courage to take things any farther had it not been for that fateful thunderstorm.

It wasn’t at all funny at the time, but looking back on it, I can’t help but smile at the thought of me, riding on the back of David’s bicycle, both of us thoroughly drenched by the pouring rain. When we got to my house, we got out of our wet clothes in front of each other – well, David was shy and he turned his back to me, but when he turned around, he got an eyeful - he blushed all over – it was so cute! We ended up just getting dressed in some of my board shorts and started playing around on my computer. I doubt that things would have gone anywhere had it not been for the power going out.

Yup, that was quite a day as we fast became friends – best friends – and then boyfriends. We didn’t really do anything more than fool around with each other that day, but we fell in love, and that was far more important than all the sex in the world. We also ended up coming out to both sets of parents - boy, that was weird! My mother actually beat me to the punch, however. I guess I was more than a little enthusiastic when I asked her if I could spend the night at David’s house. Anyway, she made me promise not to have oral or anal sex until she bought us some condoms. Talk about embarrassing! That’s what you get for having a mother who’s a doctor.

So I had dinner with David, his eleven-year-old brother, Brad, and their parents. I was totally floored when Brad asked David if we were boyfriends. I know I must’ve turned beet red and I wanted to sink down under the table, but then David’s dad put Brad in his place by telling him it was up to us to say anything, if there was anything to say, and only if we wanted to. That was so cool! David had already decided to come out to his parents that evening, so Brad gave him the perfect opening.

Yeah, telling David’s parents he was gay and that we were boyfriends was one of the most nerve-racking things I’ve ever gone through. I still don’t know why I was so nervous when it was David doing the talking. Shit, they asked him if we’d had sex and I think we both turned bright red. As if it wasn’t bad enough when I talked to my mom, we had to go through the whole safe sex thing all over again, but other than that, they were really cool about us.

Shoot, I think I’ve become closer to David’s parents than my own. I certainly see them more than my folks, and Mrs. Reynolds hugs me every time I come over - I think she loves me as much as she loves David. It almost makes me cry when I think about how close I’ve become to David’s parents. Hell, I even feel close to Brad, even though he’s as annoying as any kid could be.

Don’t get me wrong - my parents have been pretty cool about me and David, too, even though we don’t see them all that much. Anyway, after that embarrassing cell phone conversation with my mom in which she offered to buy us condoms, my parents actually took time off to sit down with us and to get to know my boyfriend. Naturally I was nervous and tongue-tied, but I wasn’t ready for their reaction. It seemed for the first time in ages that they actually paid attention to me.

I told them about David - our relationship, how we felt about each other, that we’d be together in school next year, and what a really sweet boy he was. Then poor David got the third degree, and we had to sit through yet another long conversation about safe sex. God, that was so embarrassing! But then they hugged both of us before they each took off for respective emergencies at work. All-in-all, they’ve been great.

David and I have had a phenomenal summer since that day, spending nearly every waking moment together - and many nights, too! Although David has a really nice house – a very large rambler in an older, but upscale development called Sherwood Forrest - we’ve spent most of our time together at my house. I’m not crazy about the ‘faux mansion’ my parents built, but we do have a lot of cool things, including a huge swimming pool, and even a boat we can take out on Dawson Lake. More importantly, however, is that Dave and I have privacy in my house. No bratty brother underfoot, no sleeping in separate bedrooms when I sleep over, no keeping the door open when we’re together. In my house, most of the time David and I are completely alone.

And oh how we’ve taken advantage of that. Over the past several weeks we’ve become intimately familiar with each other’s bodies. We’ve tried just about everything, and I do mean everything. David’s a passionate lover, and very romantic. Even more than the sex, however, there is the friendship that binds us. We’ve really stuck with our promise to each other to be not just boyfriends, but best friends. We like doing the same things and we think the same way. I’ve heard about how married couples complete each other’s sentences, but Dave and I are already doing that. Even when we argue, we know it’s no big deal and that we’ll make up. And, boy, do I love how we make up.

Yup, it’s been a great summer – the summer in which we fell in love - but dammit, why’d it have to be so short? Here it is the middle of August already and in just two weeks, David and I will enter high school. We’ve already agreed that we’re going to be ‘out’ at school from the get-go, but what seemed so simple in concept is really giving me the jitters right now. I can’t believe I was the one who suggested it! Yes, it’s true that being out will solve a lot of problems and we won’t have to pretend to be anything we’re not. Yes, it’s true that we’ll be able to hold hands and show affection without worrying that someone might find us out. Yes, it’s true that the school has a very active gay straight alliance and that discrimination or harassment of gay students isn’t tolerated.

But if all these things are true, why the Hell am I so nervous? OK, so I’m more than a bit scared we’ll get the crap beat out of us. This is the Midwest, after all, and as Dave keeps reminding me, this is the ‘reddest’ state in America. Our area might be considered liberal, but it’s still in the Bible Belt and there are a hell of a lot of kids who’ll want nothing to do with us. I sure got called ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ enough last year, that is after the notorious ‘gym incident’. I can only imagine what’ll happen when everyone knows Dave and I are gay for sure.

“Hey Jer, what do you think about this one?” my boyfriend called out as he held a white sleeveless shirt up to his torso. We were doing some back-to-school shopping at the Banana Republic in the Fashion Mall, not far from where David lived.

“You’d sure look hot in it,” I replied, “but it may be pushing it a little bit. Those sleeves are cut pretty wide.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” David said as he put the shirt back. Our school has a very strict dress code and shoulders need to be covered at all times. Gees! That means no wife beaters or tank tops, and we’ve heard rumors that even some muscle shirts like the one David just showed me can get a kid detention. In short, the dress policy really sucks.

“Do you like this?” Dave asked as he held up a cream-colored polo that really brought out the color of his hazel eyes.

“I love it. You should get it.”

“OK,” David agreed as he put it aside.

Just then, Barry Smith, a kid who gave me a hard time in school after the ‘gym incident’, came up to David and asked, “David, what the fuck are you doing hanging around this faggot?”

“This faggot,” Dave replied, “happens to be my boyfriend.” I was stunned that David had been so bold. I was just getting used to the idea of having a boyfriend and here David was, announcing it without a moment’s hesitation. David had obviously shocked Barry, too, leaving him speechless as is mouth just hung open.

Finally, Barry said to no one in particular, “Shit, I can’t believe it,” and then stalked off.

“Wow!” I said, turning to face David. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“I can’t believe I did it, either,” David replied. “It’s just that something inside of me snapped when he called you a faggot and I just wasn’t going to let him get away with it. I didn’t even stop to think about it.”

“You do realize that by the time we start school, everybody’s gonna know we’re gay.”

“Well, you did say you wanted to be out.”

“I did... it’s just that...”

“I know, I feel that way, too. It’s pretty scary, huh?”

“More like terrifying,” I replied. “I’m just worried that someone’ll beat you up.”

“Don’t worry about me, Jeremy, I can take care of myself if I have to. I’m more worried about you.”

“Well Dave, perhaps we should try to take care of each other,” I attempted to say reassuringly as I gently squeezed his bare shoulder. I was sure going to miss seeing him in tank tops once we went back to school.

“Yup, together, Jer. As long as we have each other, all the name calling means nothing.”

Just then, my stomach growled. We both laughed and I said, “I guess my stomach’s trying to tell us something.” I looked at my watch and continued, “Yup, it’s 12:30. Wanna get some lunch?”

“I could eat.” David replied. “How about some pizza at the food court.”

“Nah, I’m more in the mood for a real meal. My treat.” I answered.

“Cheesecake Factory?” Dave suggested.

“If you don’t mind waiting a couple hours. Could you go for Mexican?” I suggested.

“Yeah, Mexican’s good. El Torito’s, then?”

“Sounds good.”

We paid for our new clothes and then walked across the parking lot to the restaurant. There were plenty of tables ready and we didn’t have to wait at all. We requested a booth, so we’d have a little privacy. I asked the waiter to bring lobster quesadillas right away so we’d have more than tortilla chips and salsa to munch on while deciding what to order.

“You still on that vegetarian kick?” I asked David as we scanned the menu. I already knew the answer and how he loved to dis my love of meat.

“It’s not a kick,” he answered back. “I still don’t understand how you can eat meat. Cows and pigs are mammals, just like us. The have miniature versions of our brains and have been shown to have intelligence.

“And you know how chickens are raised,” my boyfriend continued. “They’re kept together in large pens, drugged up with steroids and antibiotics, and packed together so close that they can’t move. It’s unhealthy!”

“You eat seafood,” I countered as I grabbed a quesadilla.

“Seafood doesn’t count. Crustaceans don’t have anything remotely resembling a brain.”

“Crustaceans?” I asked

“You know, like lobster, and shrimp.” David shrugged his shoulders and added, “What can I say, I read a lot.”

“OK, so I respect that you’re a vegetarian. Maybe someday I’ll ‘see the light’, too, but for now I still like meat and I’m not about to give it up.”

“Suit yourself, animal breath.”

“I thought you liked that I’m an animal,” I said, jibing him as I seductively wiggled my eyebrows.

The waiter, who appeared to be only a couple of years older than us, chose that moment to come back to take our order. He gave us a funny look as he approached.

“I’ll have a chicken fajitas burrito with a side order of guacamole,” I said as I closed my menu and handed it back to the waiter.

“And I’ll have the vegetable enchiladas, also with a side of guacamole.”

After the waiter had left, Dave continued, “I still don’t know how you can eat that stuff.”

“Hey, what can I say, I like meat,” I said in response, and then lowered my voice and whispered, “especially yours.”

David moved his head closer and said, “Speaking of which, I think the waiter knows... knows about us, that is.”

“Duh,” I agreed. “You noticed how he looked at us, didn’t you?”

“How could I miss it.... I guess we’d better get used to that sort of thing, and it’ll probably be ten times worse at school.”

“You can say that again,” I agreed.

“But it’ll be worth it to be able to be ourselves, just like you said.”

We sat in silence for a while, and then Dave asked, “Jer, aren’t you nervous about what’ll happen at school?”

“Actually, Dave, I’m terrified. I know nothing really bad’ll happen, but it’s still scary....”

David reached with his hands across the table and I held them in mine. “But I’m glad I’m out.” David continued. “I know we’ll get stared at and yelled at... and maybe worse, but I really want to be able to do things like this without having to worry that someone we know will see us. If they see us like this, who cares? It’s their problem if they don’t like what they see.”

I just stared into David’s eyes for a few minutes as we held hands across the table. Finally, I broke the silence and said, “I love you so much, David.”

“I love you, too, Jeremy, more than you can imagine.”

Of course the waiter chose just that moment to arrive with our meals. He practically threw them at us, dropping them onto the table with about as much force as he could without breaking the plates. Some of David’s salsa splattered and landed on his shirt.

David turned toward the waiter and calmly said, “Queer money’s just as good as straight money, you know. Could you please get the manager for us?”

The waiter stormed off and, for the moment, we were left alone. We continued our conversation, talking about school and the kids who would probably be cool with us, and those who might give us some trouble. The manager never did come to our table and we ended up finishing our meals. When the waiter failed to acknowledge us after repeated attempts, I said, “Gees, you’d think he’d want us to pay the check so we could get out of his sight.”

Fed up, I went to the front of the restaurant and asked for the manager.

“What seems to be the problem?”

“Our waiter has been nothing but rude to us. He practically threw our food at us, splattering salsa all over my boyfriend’s shirt, and now he’s ignoring us when we’d like to pay the check.” It was only after I’d said it, that I realized I’d used the term, ‘boyfriend’ so casually in talking to the manager.

Fortunately, the manager smiled at me and said, “I bet I know who your waiter is, too. He’s given some of the other waiters a hard time, but this is the first time he’s insulted a customer. It may be a summer job, but the food service industry is definitely not the place for homophobes. He’d probably shit his pants if he knew his boss is gay,” The manager said with a wink.

He continued, “I’ve let his behavior slide in the past with nothing more than a reprimand, since it’s hard to find kids willing to work these days, but insulting a customer is definitely crossing the line. He’s history.

“I’ll tell you what, order anything you want for dessert... it’s on the house. We have a wonderful flan, or perhaps you’d like to try our signature peanut tostada.”

“Hmm, we hadn’t planned on dessert, but I think we can probably find the room.”

“I’ve never met a teenager who couldn’t,” the manager said with a laugh.

“I think we’ll have one of each,” I said.

“I’ll get your order in right away... and have your boyfriend bring in the receipt for cleaning his shirt, or if it can’t be cleaned, we’ll replace it.”

“Thanks,” I said as I returned to our table and then filled David in on what was happening.

The manager himself brought us our desserts. “You two make a cute couple,” he said as he put the desserts down in the center and gave us each a small plate, a dessert fork and a spoon. He handed David his card and again apologized for the trouble.

“Wow,” Dave said, “this peanut thingy is fantastic!”

Taking a bite of the flan, I said, “The flan’s not half-bad, either.” After trying a bite of the peanut tostada, I had to agree, “You’re right about the peanut tostada... it’s excellent.”

“Then you take the rest of it and I’ll take the flan.”

Sighing, I replied, “David, just because I have more money than you doesn’t mean we can’t share and share alike.” David sometimes acted like he had a real chip on his shoulder, and it bugged the Hell out of me. “And with your knowledge of words like ‘crustacean’, you’ll probably be the one earning the big bucks when we grow up,” I countered.

David laughed and said, “It’s not about the money, Jer... I just wanted you to have the dessert you liked the best because I love you, but if it makes you feel funny, we’ll share equally... but don’t be planning our wedding just yet. We’d have to move to Massachusetts first.”

“Well, Boston does have some good colleges.... I’m sure we could find one we like. So maybe we’ll have to wait four years, but it’ll happen.”

“You really see us being together in four years?” my boyfriend asked me.

“Baby, I see us being together in forty years.” I knew it sounded corny, but it was truly how I felt.

David smiled at me so sweetly and said, “I know it’s only been a short time, but I feel like we’ve known each other forever. I feel just the same way... even though you’re sometimes an asshole,” he added with a smirk. “Seriously though, I want us to be together in eighty years.

“We’d be 94 years old,” I quipped, “and our dicks will have probably fallen off by then, but I couldn’t agree more.” Snapping out of the dreamy state I was in, I said, “We’d better get out of here before we make each other sick with our sweet talk.”

“I think I’m already sick from eating so much,” David added.

It felt like a sauna outside as we exited the restaurant into the hot midday sun. We’d taken no more than a few steps when we heard someone shout at us.

“You faggots got me fired.” Before I even had time to react, I found myself doubled over from a punch to my midsection, with my lunch making a hasty exit onto the sidewalk. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw David take a swing at the guy, but he blocked David’s shot and followed with a right hook to the face.

Seeing my boyfriend stumbling backwards, I jumped on the guy, but he just flung me to the ground and kicked me in the ribs. I curled up into a ball and braced myself for another blow, but instead all I heard was the sound of a car door slamming and tires squealing.

“Hey, are you guys alright?” I looked up to see a couple of teenage boys and girls getting out of a car. Slowly, I stood up and winced as I realized how much my ribs hurt.

I looked over at David and saw a huge red mark swelling up on the left side of his face, next to his eye. Forgetting about myself, I rushed to him, held him and shouted, “Dave, are you OK?” David’s eyes opened wide as he noticed the two couples staring at us.

One of the boys came up to us and said, “Don’t worry about it, man. My older brother’s gay.”

“He is?” the others all asked in surprise at once.

“Sure he is, and it ain’t no big deal. Sanderson, on the other hand, is a real jerk.”

“Sanderson?” I asked.

“He’s the guy who beat you up. Unfortunately, he’s in our class.”

I asked if they went to our high school, and it turned out they did.

“Shit, that means we may have to face him every day,” David stated with obvious worry.

The other boy said, “Let’s go get some ice from inside, and we can call the cops.” He turned to me and said, “I’m Gary, by the way, and this is my girlfriend, Lisa, my best friend, Darren, and his girlfriend, Mary.” Gary then continued, “Listen, you’ve got to press charges. You can’t let Sanderson get away with what he did. Our state may not have hate crime laws, but our school is pretty strict when it comes to harassment, and assault is definitely grounds for getting Sanderson kicked off the varsity basketball team.”

“Fuck, don’t tell me he’s the captain of the team.” David asked.

“No, but he was a pretty high scorer on JV last year.”

Now I was really worried, as basketball is even more important that football in our state.

When we didn’t say anything, Gary said, “Hey, Sanderson’s a real jerk, and everyone knows it. We all saw exactly what happened, and we’ll make sure the whole school knows it, too. Don’t worry, we’ll leave the gay thing out of it... well just make sure that everyone knows he beat up a couple of freshmen half his size. Even if he does manage to stay on the team, he’ll be booed from the stands.”

It wasn’t until late that night that things settled down. We ended up spending a good part of the day in the St. Vincent’s ER, and the rest of it at the local police precinct office. Our parents were pretty upset, but at least they got to meet each other and, as it turned out, became casual friends. They seemed to reach an understanding about David and I, our relationship and that we weren’t going through life using violence to advance gay causes.

After all that, the start of school seemed anticlimactic. Still, my heart felt like it would beat itself right out of my chest as we entered the school gym, hand in hand, the week before Labor Day to get our class schedules, locker assignments and to sit for our class photos. Sure, we got stares, but Dave just squeezed my hand more firmly and I felt his love flow right through me, giving me the wherewithal to be myself in front of our classmates.

As we went around taking care of our stuff together, I drew strength from David - strength I’d have never had on my own, and I felt he drew strength from me. Yeah, we got called some things I’d rather not repeat, but a surprising number of kids we knew came up to us. Some even told us how cool they thought it was that we had the guts to come out. The president of the GSA even talked David into running for Freshman Student Council. He tried to talk me into it, too but, hey, one of us has to run the campaign.

We never did see Sanderson again, and only heard later that he and his parents had opted for a plea bargain in which he agreed to go to a nearby military school, rather than having to face the possibility of a criminal record. In the meantime, we became good friends with Gary, Lisa, Darren and Mary, even though they were juniors. They joined the GSA along with us and we’ve even triple dated.

Not that everything was rosy, but for the most part, our classmates tolerated us and even the snide comments died down after a short while. Although we didn’t feel comfortable kissing each other in school just yet, we were often seen walking together, hand in hand, smiling at each other and otherwise acting like a couple in love.

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing this story, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey’s World for hosting it.