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Hey again, another month, another chapter or two. I want to thank all of you who have stuck with this story for all this time, you really are shaping my views on want I want to do, and can do, with the rest of my life. Thanks. neonet@ctlnet.com -Dave

Chapter 10

After coming home from the movie, we cruised around town a few times, but Kyle was looking pretty tired so I took him home. It was only around ten o'clock so I decided to try to find Scott. After driving around for about twenty minutes I did, I saw him through the window at the local sub joint. I pulled in and parked my car. As I was walking to the door a guy caught my eye. It was one of the kids that had threatened Kyle the night of the party. We exchanged glances for a minute, he was standing by a truck talking to someone. He turned in my direction and said:

"Hey, you, come on over here." I complied, not worried but just interested, and I headed over to him. He wasn't the one I had thought the leader of the group, just one of the lesser guys.

"Yeah, what do you want?" I asked.

"I just wanted you to know that I was sorry about that whole thing the other night, it was really stupid, you weren't even the ones we were after, but we were kinda drunk and when Joe starts his stuff with someone he doesn't quit. I think he was just pissed because we didn't catch the faggot." He spit on the ground, obviously to act like a manly person or something. My face was getting hot, I was actually getting angry, but I knew I wasn't going to do anything.

"Yeah, ok, I'll buy it. Have a good night." I said and turned to walk away.

"Say, you guys wouldn't have known where that faggot went, do you?" He asked. I turned back on my heel.

"No," I paused, "not a clue." He looked at me oddly, then just turned back to the truck. Once again I turned to leave, and this time reached the door.

Inside, I saw Scott over at one of the tables with two girls and another guy, Ray. Ray was a friend that he hung out with every now and then, at first me and Ray really didn't like each other, but we'd grown to become friend because of Scott trying so hard, and I found out the guy wasn't that bad, after all.

"Hey, Jack, c'mon over!" Scott yelled.

I walked over smiling, nodded my head at Ray and the two girls.

"Hey," I said, "what are you guys up to?"

"Nothing, like usual, just hanging out," Ray said, "What've you been up to?"

"Um, not much really. Hey, Scott, get this, I saw one of those kids we almost beat up the other night, he says that they were drunk and just mad about not finding Kyle, and so he apologized for what happened." I said.

"Well, of course, who would want to be at odds with us?" Scott said, smiling and flirting with the two girls sitting there, trying to impress them. One looked young, maybe fifteen, the other around sixteen or seventeen, but it's always hard to tell with girls, I've seen fourteen year old's that look like they're twenty something.

"Scott, I need to talk to you sometime tonight, when you get the chance. Call me or something, I should be home soon." I said and backed up, ready to leave.

"Why are ya leaving so soon, man? I never see you around anymore, we looked for you, haven't seen you all night? I know you weren't home, so where were you?" Ray was practically interrogating me.

"Had to go eat dinner with my dad, we went out of town. Took my car." Quick, easy, and not very trackable. White lies make up everyday conversation to someone you don't trust.

"Oh. Ok, well, go ahead and ditch us then." Ray was surfacing some of the traits why I didn't like him in the first place. Scott gave me a look that said yeah, yeah, I know.

"Actually, I need to be home in about a half hour, I told my dad I'd be home early tonight so I could do some yard work with him early in the morning, so I'm probably going to be ditching you all, too." Scott said, smiling.

"Hey, man, whatever, I think I can handle hanging out with these two fine ladies for the rest of the night." Ray said, smirking. I could tell he was a little annoyed, but not as much as those girls who were going to have to spend more time with him, alone.

"Right, well, later." Scott said and we left.

That kid wasn't out there anymore when we got out, so we just got in my car and left.

"So, how'd tonight go?" Scott asked.

"Hmm, well, I've got a lot to tell ya, so maybe we should go somewhere to sit down."

"Ok, how about the park, like before."

"Cool." I said, and headed in that direction.

We sat at the same bench we had when just two nights earlier I had told Scott the thing in my life that had brought me to near destruction. It was weird, like visiting a place I hadn't been in years, because it seemed like years or at least months. Time had gone fast but had so much meaning it seemed longer.

"Want a cigarette?" Scott said as we were sitting down.

"Yeah, sure, why not." I said, not being a big smoker, but a casual social one, like before. Besides, one was sounding good right now.

"Ok, so, tell me what's up?" Scott leaned back and put his arm over the bench.

I told him the whole night, starting from the talk in the car on the way up there, about eating dinner and paying for it, about Kyle's past on the island, including his assault. Then I continued with the movie, what we did in the movie, and finally about seeing Jamie and her group at the end. He laughed and said how messed up that was, and then I told him all about the two we encountered in the bathroom. His eyebrows raised immediately.

"No way, that's weird. He said he knew me from computer class, hmm, I can think of a few people maybe, but nothing immediately comes to mind." Scott said.

"It's kinda cool, actually, knowing there are others out there besides Kyle and me." I said, taking a puff and exhaling slowly with the nightly breeze.

"Hey, yeah, maybe you guys can double date." He said and smiled.

"Yeah." I said and fell silent, drifting into thought.

"So, you and Kyle haven't really known each other three days and you've already confessed love for the guy? Jesus, took me almost a month to tell Carmi I loved her, and I'm not even sure at the time I did." He said.

"Yeah, well, this feels right, it feels good. I can imagine my life without him, actually remember it, and I don't want that again. Ever again."

"Oh, yeah, I understand that. But you guys are moving a little fast, aren't you?"

"Maybe. I'm having fun, though, and I know I at least really, really like him." I said.

"So, that's nuts about Jamie, eh? She can't seem to find a break, she attracts gay men." Scott said, laughing.

"I know, damn. I wonder who those guys were, really. They seemed pretty intimate, too. How did they meet, y'know? How did they discover each other's secret, a secret so dark that they're masking it by double dating and actually lying to others directly. I couldn't do that, I mean I don't like Jamie that well, but I couldn't put someone through that kind of lie." I said, taking another hit.

"It is pretty crappy of those two. So, um, how did you plan to handle the whole social thing, anyway? You gonna come out to the school or what? Ky_"

"No." I said, cutting him off.

"Oh. Well, it's gonna be hard for Kyle, how are you planning on handling that?" He asked.

"I'm going to protect him, going to stop anybody from hurting him, you know, look after my guy." I took a hit, waiting for Scott to tell me that it wouldn't work, people would ask questions, people would wonder, people would accuse, and people would discover. Instead, however, he said:

"Ok, good luck, I'll be there to help both you and him out. I'll look out for him, too, maybe take some of the fire from out under you. I can get a few more seniors, enough to keep anybody from messing with him, at least physically, for this year, without suspicion."

I looked at him and felt a shiver.

"You know, you're the best friend to not only me, but even to Kyle. You don't even know the guy really, but you're willing to put your rep and a few others on the line. For what, man?" I asked.

"For you," Scott said, "you're my best friend. Besides, you get a kind of noble feeling from sticking up for friends, it's cool."

I nodded my head and smiled. I finished my cigarette and threw it to the gravel. Scott looked over and said:

"So, what are you doing tomorrow, want to go to the beach?"

"The beach? Where and who?" I said.

"The one we used to go to as kids with our parents, remember? It's about three hours from here, but if we left early we could get there, spend the day, eat somewhere nice and be back by midnight at least. You could bring Kyle and on the way I'll pick up Vanessa." Scott said.

"Vanessa, eh? You talking to her again?" I said. Vanessa was a girl Scott met at a summer camp a few years ago, where they became close and after the camp tried a long distance relationship. It didn't work, obviously, but since Scott got a license every now and then they get together, I've even met her once or twice, she's really nice.

"Yeah, I called her today, she suggested we all do something. I told her I'd bring you and Kyle, and she said cool." Scott said.

"You told her about me and Kyle?" My eyebrows instantly went up.

"No, course not, but I was planning on it tonight." He said.

"Are you sure, I don't know, I can't have many knowing, you know." I was breathing a little harder.

"Hey, she's cool, she doesn't even really know anyone down here. She won't say anything, she was always pretty open minded, hell, she lives in that huge city. She even knows a few, we've talked about stuff like that before." He said, talking in a small voice. I detected defeat in his.

"Alright, then, tell her. I'll call Kyle tonight, if he's up. Doubt it, though. He should be able to go, though." I said, getting up and dusting myself off.

"Cool, man, tomorrow's gonna be awesome." He said, also getting up. He threw his cigarette away and we headed for the car.

"So how does it feel, Jack, to have gone from not even kissing to getting felt up in a movie theater?" Scott said while we were walking.

"It's nice, really. Although I kinda feel like a slut." I said, smiling at him.

"Ha, I always knew you were one. Just that way you would flaunt yourself for others, jeez, how sleazy." He said, laughing.

I took Scott back to his car, told him I'd call him in the morning around six-thirty, tell him what was up. He said we would leave by seven hopefully, get there around ten. I went home and called Kyle, he wasn't up at first, his mom answering, but he picked up quickly in a sleepy voice, but one with a tone of concern, like something was wrong. He probably thought something was, too, since I was calling this late. I asked if he could go, he asked him mom and she said yes, so I told him we'd pick him up around six-forty-five. His mom had hung up so I said I'd see him tomorrow, and that I loved him. He said "love you too," and we hung up. I floated to my bed, dreaming of tomorrow, spending my day with my best friend and my boyfriend at the beach.

Chapter 11

I woke up around six, showered and got dressed. I was ready at six-thirty-five when Scott called.

"Hey, you ready to go?" He said.

"Yeah, how did things go with Vanessa?"

"Fine, I told her as kind of a by the way thing, and she said cool and started talking about this research paper she has to do for English."

"Really? That's nuts. Wow, wish everyone else had as much detachment from the subject as her."

"Ok, Kyle going?"

"Yeah, talked to him last night."

"Ok, then, be over to pick you up, then we'll go get Kyle and be on our way."

"Right, see you in five minutes."

"Bye"

"Bye"

*Click*

I hung up and gathered a last few things, sun tan lotion, an extra towel, a portable stereo with CD player and my favorite CD's. I already had my swim trunks on and extra clothing for later at dinner. I told my parents I was leaving and leapt out the door. Scott pulled up a few minutes later. I got in and we went to Kyle's house. He left the door open again, I started laughing. This kid was way too excited for his own good.

We started our drive, Kyle in the back with all our stuff and me in the front with Scott driving. We talked about stupid stuff, whatever, how nice it was on the island Kyle went too, Scott made a few jokes about us, we even speculated on who our two mystery lovers were. Mostly, thought, we just talked about the weather.

It was about an hour before we pulled up to Vanessa's house. Scott got out and went to the door. She came out and I told Kyle she knew about us. He was surprised at first, but he didn't care, I had forgotten for a moment everyone at school knew about him anyway, and so it didn't matter as much to him.

Even though I was gay, I could still appreciate a beautiful person. Vanessa was one of those girls I could easily tell was really hot. She had the most amazing reddish blond hair, like caramel or something. Scott's bleached blond hair stood out next to it, but their eyes were both a great shade of greenish blue. Vanessa had a good body, and her hair came down to her shoulders, thick and full. It narrowed her face, and she had a great smile. Almost as good as Kyle's. It brought a similar feeling of excitement, like something really great was going on but I didn't know what it was. Kyle's was different, though, like I knew what was going on, because I was what was going on. His smile brought me warmth. He must've been reading my mind, because he caught me staring and said:

"Don't be switching on me now, Jack."

I turned around, smiled, and leaned forward. He met me and we kissed for the first time that day, just a quickie. They got to the car, I got out and got in the back. Vanessa got in the passenger side and we left her driveway. Vanessa didn't waste anytime, however, instantly she said:

"So, you two are together, right?"

I blushed and said yes, then broke out laughing. Scott and Kyle joined in.

"That's great, last time I saw you, Jack, you looked pretty lonely at me and Scott flirting sometimes, now at least you can we can flirt and you can keep yourself occupied." She said.

I nudged closer to Kyle and said:

"Hey, you may have some competition with that flirting thing, we can get pretty involved sometimes." I smiled and Kyle put his hand around my neck and smiled. Vanessa grinned back and turned around. We talked and laughed the rest of the way, somewhere in there retelling the story of Kyle, how Kyle and I met, and how I came out to Scott. It was great being able to be so open in a group. Kyle didn't even get down telling Vanessa about him being discovered in the island, although he didn't spend more than a sentence or two describing his attack. We arrived at the beach around ten-thirty, parked and got out. We headed for the main beach, then took a detour around rock that me and Scott remembered from when we came here as kids.

We ended up in a very small but very secluded part of the beach. It was great, the sand was warm but not hot enough that it burned to walk on it. The breeze was cooling, the sun beating down. The water itself was a dark blue, the waves crashing into a white foam at the tide line. There were a few trees that provided shade and were away from the shore a little, we set up there and immediately Kyle and me pulled off our shirts and sandals and ran for the water. We got in the ocean knee deep and he tackled me. We wrestled a little and then threw a ball when Scott and Vanessa got in. Scott had a big black inter-tube he brought. He inflated it and we took turns laying in it. At one time I was through the tube and Kyle jumped on top of it, and sank into me and the tube. I held him against me and we kissed a little. Scott and Vanessa noticed I was sure, but they didn't say anything. They were busy enough themselves, they weren't lying about the flirting thing, they were constantly at it. It was as if they knew while they couldn't have a relationship, they didn't care and were just going to have fun. Like old friends, or old lovers. I envied Scott only in his experience. All of this was so new to me, I knew at times it must've looked I didn't know what I was doing, but Kyle never seemed to look at me odd or impatient. He just guided me through things. He even had more than me, but didn't let it seem that way. We played around in the water for awhile, and they laid in the sun awhile, listening to music and talking a little. It really was a perfect day. Around one o'clock we ate a small lunch of sandwiches and pop that Vanessa had brought. Then we went back in the water some more, just me, Kyle and Scott, while Vanessa sat on the beach and decided to sketch. A couple of times I went to go see what she was sketching, and on the second time I sat down to talk. I dried my face with the towel then put it around my shoulders to keep the breeze from making me shiver.

"What are you drawing?" I asked.

"Just the landscape, it's so beautiful out here." She said.

"Yeah, I know, this is all so perfect."

"So," she said, "you and Kyle seem to be doing pretty well, you guys look happy together."

"Oh, yeah, definitely, I get in such a good mood around him, like nothing before."

"I know, I remember you before, not a pretty mental picture." She said.

"Yeah, well, that wasn't too happy a time in my life. I couldn't stand not having someone like that, you know, I needed someone." I said, staring out into the sea. Scott and Kyle were playing in the water fine, they were really getting along.

"Well, just know that a relationship's not all good moods and good times. There are those times when you feel like you're going to spontaneously combust, like everything's on fire." Vanessa said, still drawing, making large quick lines with her black pencil.

"You mean like passion? We've had some of those times, too."

"No, Jack, I mean things like jealousy, fear, and annoyance." She looked over at me.

"Oh, those. We haven't really had that yet, we had a small argument, but nothing too bad, it ended with him in my arms." I looked back at her confidently, like I knew what I was talking about.

"I'm telling you there's more to it than that, and you have to be prepared. Just know that one fight never means it's over, that a relationship, especially one as complicated as yours, is going to have it's nights of tears and red faced anger."

"Oh." Was all I said.

I watched her draw a little more, then watched Kyle and Scott in the water. I couldn't imagine getting mad at Kyle for anything, much less yelling or getting red faced. I was still pretty new to the whole thing, though, so I didn't really think it was impossible.

"I don't want to get you down, though, today is a day for fun, don't let a pessimistic person like me get you down." She said.

"Pessimistic? Oh, Vanessa, you're far from that, c'mon, you're like the most uppity person I know."

"Yeah, well, I only act like that to forget. Take me and Scott, we look good together, are happy together, but it's only going to last for today, and that sucks. Sometimes I really think we were meant for each other, but it can't happen, we live too far away, and you know Scott and girls, they occupy all his time unless he's got one to keep him away from it by being with him constantly." She looked back and started drawing again.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. But there are others out there, you must be able to find someone for you in your town, right?" I said.

"Haven't found anyone quite like Scott, I can say that. I don't obsess about him or anything, it's just I haven't yet found a love as good as he was, and that summer at camp, and it makes me think of him every now and then." She said.

"Well, you will. You're too cute to go unnoticed by mister right too long." I said, putting my hand on her shoulder and smiling.

"Thanks, that means a lot coming from you." She said, seriously.

"Hey, it takes a lot in a woman to impress a gay guy." I said, laughing.

Scott and Kyle were out of the water, walking this way and laughing and shoving each other around. They got close and Kyle sat down next to me, leaning against me and looking over at what Vanessa did, while Scott dried off with a towel, doing the same. I took my towel and began to dry Kyle off, I ruffled his hair a bunch so I fluffed up and we all laughed.

We packed up around five o'clock, and headed for the car. We showered and changed in the local locker rooms for the beach facilities, then left the beach. The city was pretty at dusk, and we found a nice little restaurant to eat at. We sat down and ordered, talked some, and laughed over our day. It was a great time, much like every other time I had spent so far with Kyle. I was about to discover a different kind of feeling with him, though, a not so good one.

After we got our food, we ate for awhile and started talking again. Somehow, we came across the subject of coming out, and Vanessa wondered what Kyle thought about school.

"I don't know," he said, looking down, "it's not going to be easy, our school isn't so good about those things."

"Our isn't so bad, because it's so huge no ones really cares, there are a lot of gay people there." She said.

"I just wish I wasn't alone, that's all, that I didn't have to hear to comments and jokes and even insults alone, or have them all think I'm the biggest loser who can't find anyone." Kyle said.

"You're not alone in this." I said.

"Yes, I am. I will be the only gay person known at school, there won't be anyone else to take the crap with, no one else to identify with." He said.

"Yeah, there is, I'm with you, I'll stand behind you, and so will Scott, he says he doesn't care what others think." I said.

"Yeah, anybody messes with you and I'll get some of my friends and we'll get em." Scott said.

"Jack, when were you planning on coming out?" Vanessa asked. I looked over at Scott with a worried look on my face.

"I wasn't going to, I was just going to be there for Kyle, I'm not really ready for everyone to know." I said, looking a little more serious than the rest of the day had permitted.

"Then how are you going to have a relationship with Kyle, you guys will have to be like zombies during school, and even at school functions or out on the town or even at parties." Vanessa wasn't meaning to push it, but maybe she was. Maybe she really was bitter about her and Scott, maybe she was trying to screw with me and Kyle. I instantly became protective and snapped back at her.

"We'll be fine, thank you for the concern, though." I said, glaring.

"Hey, don't get on to her, Jack, she's got a good point, how are we going to survive things like that, we'll have to be completely shut up, and won't even be able to show our real selves, we'll have to sneak around. I don't like that idea at all." Kyle said, looking over at me. This was not heading in a good direction.

"Let's not talk about this now, school's not even here yet, we'll deal with it then." I said, hoping to waylay the whole thing.

"No, Jack, school's in only a few days, I want to go into it confident about myself, and this is something we need to work out, it's a major conflict. You keep avoiding it, though." Kyle said. I looked over at Scott with dread.

"I don't know what to do, okay, I have no idea. I'm not ready to come out, I'm not ready for that kind of exposure to possible ridicule, it kills my personality. I just want to enjoy my senior year." I said.

"Then maybe you're not ready for a serious relationship, Jack." Vanessa said. I never thought it could happen, but I got red in the face, she was attacking all I had gotten over the past few days, the only thing that made my life happy.

"Why don't you keep your own damn nose in your own damn business, just because you can't find a meaningful relationship doesn't mean you have to ruin others!" I didn't yell, but my voice went a few octaves higher. Scott looked over at me surprisingly, Vanessa gasped and Kyle's eyebrows raised.

"Jack, man, that was harsh." Kyle said.

"I need a break from this, I'm going to the restroom." I got up from my seat and left. I was washing my face in the sink when Kyle came in through the door.

"Why did you explode like that, Jack? That was completely uncalled for and mean!" He said.

"No, it was what was needed, she was trying to destroy us, she isn't right in the head I swear!" I turned around.

"Jack, you need to get your priorities straight, what she was saying was making a lot of sense." He said.

"So what do you want me to do about it, huh? Come to school and just shout to everyone that I'm gay, huh? You want me to become a social reject and live my senior year in hatred?" I said, red in the face and still very upset.

"That's what I have to do, I only thought since you yourself said 'we're in this together now', I thought we would face it all together, the good and the bad. But now I see you just want the good, you just want to be my boyfriend in secret." Kyle said.

"No, Kyle, I will stand up for you, I promise that, I will, I'm not going to leave you alone with this." I said, walking closer up to him. He looked me in the eye for a second and said:

"Yeah, right, you'll stand up for me, you'll fight my battles for me, but you'll dodge your own, you refuse to stand with me. We can't be together like that." He said.

"No, wait, what the hell are you saying, I love you Kyle, I'm not going to let you be hurt." I said, getting desperate and not liking the way this conversation was going.

"Guess what, Jack," he said, his face tearing up, "you're hurting me right now, you don't love me, I can't believe that, your lying to me. You're hurting me right now." Kyle turned around and left, throwing the door open, raging. I ran my hand through my hair and rested it on my head, which was rushing right now. I was experiencing a great pain or uneasy feeling, like there was a large animal in my stomach that had it's hand balled into a fist up my throat, which hurt from throbbing. I tried to swallow, but it was too dry. I quickly went over to the sink and ran more water over my face, made it presentable. I went numb, like so many times I had before, to make myself ok in public. I still felt like hurling or crying or something, though.

Outside our table was empty, I guessed they had finished and went out to the car. I took a drink and a mint from our table, grabbed my coat and left. The car was on outside, and when I got in it was completely silent. Kyle was looking away from me staring out the window, and I felt such a pang of guilt. Scott started driving, and Vanessa wouldn't look at me. Scott made eye contact a few times, his eyes showed a sympathy for me, and a concern. The car ride was silent except for Vanessa and Scott exchanging words every now and then, and the music, all the way until we reached Vanessa's house. She said goodbye to us all, me and Kyle keeping silent still. I blamed her for the incident, and I think Kyle did a little, too, because even he wouldn't respond. Vanessa simply waiting a bit before shutting the door, told Scott to call her, then said to me as I was getting out to get in the front seat:

"Sorry to screw things up, but that's life. Live it." She said, turned around and left.

I had been looking forward to the drive home, to cuddling with Kyle. But that didn't happen this time, he didn't say a word to me all the way till we got to his house. I let him out and said:

"Look, can we talk tonight, maybe on the phone or something? We need to straighten this up, I agree we can't avoid it any longer, so let's work it out." I looked at him hopefully, and on the verge of tears.

"I don't think so, not tonight, I.. we need a day to think, to let things cool. I'll call you sometime tomorrow maybe, if not that then definitely the day after, okay?" He said, looking away mid sentence.

"Alright," I said, my jaw clenching, "I love you." I looked at him hopefully.

Kyle looked at me, then lowered his head to one side, closed his eyes and sighed. I saw a single tear fall down his cheek. He turned and walked into the house. I stood there agape for a minute, then turned around and mechanically got in the car. Scott drove away, and then asked me how bad it was. I only succeeded in getting out a half word before I broke down and started balling. My put my face in my hands and then pulled at my hair.

"It's all over, I know it! I've lost everything that made my life so happy and worth living for that short time!" I half said, half choked.

"No, man, it's okay, you guys will work it out, it happens." Scott said, putting a hand on my back. He took me home, asked if I wanted him to stay over or something, keep my company. I said no, and that I was a little better, I lied. He told me to call him if things got too bad, and left.

I walked inside, took a glass from the cabinet, filled it with water, took a drink, swallowed, then started crying again. Everyone was in bed, so I didn't have to worry about anything. I leaned forward on the counter and hung my head done. This was making me insane. I went upstairs to my bedroom, laid down and tried to go to sleep, but I didn't much.

The next morning I woke with sticky wet eyes, and drifted zombie like through the first part of the day. I decided to send Kyle something, so I went to the florist and picked out two single roses, read with yellow tips. I told them to where to deliver it, and filled out a card. It read,

Kyle, I'm sorry this happened, I'm sorry we fought. I want you to know I'm going to do whatever I can to fix this, whatever I can to fix us.

Without you, I'm nothing, Jack

(End of chapter 11)

Hey, thanks for reading again, things got a little more heated this submission, hope you're getting into it.. Please tell me if I get boring or old or anything, I need the feedback, mail me at neonet@ctlnet.com .... Check out my new column, second month fer it, and wish me a happy birthday, I'm turning 18 soon! Later!


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