Free Fiction Friday: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 39
Free Fiction Friday: October 31, 2014:
Second Shot – The Senior Year: Chapter 39
“He can’t do this.” Dean paced back and forth. “It’s not allowed.”
Darryl swallowed a mouthful of water and nodded vigorously. “What Little T said. Just talk to campus housing.”
“They might kick him out of school if I do that, Darryl.” Blake struggled with why that thought bothered him. This was Brett’s issue, not his. Wasn’t it?
Dean raised his hands above his shoulders in a shrug and leaned forward. “And we should care that Graydon will have one less douche bag on campus, why?”
“It’s not that simple.” Blake turned his head to avoid Dean’s stare. “We’re… we were friends.”
“Friends don’t act like that.”
“Let it go, Dean.” Jason said as he walked back into the living room. He had two cups of coffee and stopped in front of Blake and held one out. “Black, two sugars. Right?”
Lifting his eyes, Blake managed a thin smile and nodded. “Yea. Thanks.”
“Jase?” Dean moved closer to his brother. “How you can take that D.B.’s side?”
Grateful that Jason took the focus off of him, Blake took a sip. The truth was, he should have gone straight to campus housing and requested a transfer—for Brett. But he couldn’t shake the guilty feeling that this was his fault.
“I’m not taking Brett’s side, just saying lay off for a bit. Until you live it, you don’t understand.”
“Live it? You’re saying I have to be gay to understand he’s violating the non-discrimination rules of campus?”
“No,” Jason shook his head and put his cup down. “I’m saying, I understand what Blake is feeling better than you. Brett’s still a jerk, but I get that Blake doesn’t want to make a scene.”
Peter descended the staircase, wearing a loose fitting Graydon soccer sweatshirt, shorts and no shoes. The first time Blake had met Peter he couldn’t see what Jason saw in his boyfriend. Of course back then, Blake had a huge crush on his team captain and used to compare himself to Peter to see what he had that Blake didn’t. Right then, however, he could see the attraction.
“Your bed’s made up, Blake.” He took the seat in front of where Jason stood. “I put some clean towels in there as well.”
“Thanks, Pete.” Another twinge of guilt flooded Blake’s body and he met Peter’s gaze for less than a second. Every time Peter did something nice for him, Blake regretted how jealous he had felt when they first met. He suspected Peter knew, and that made it worse.
Dean looked around Jason. “Pete, will you please tell my brother that keeping quiet is the wrong thing to do?”
Tucking his left leg under his right knee, Peter rubbed his foot. “No.”
“What?” Darryl looked up from his phone. “You think it’s okay to just let this go too?”
The odd dichotomy of where ‘the house’ fell on his issue surprised him. When he arrived, he didn’t expect support from Peter.
“No, I didn’t say that.” Peter glanced up at Jason. “I think that this is Blake’s decision. What I, or anyone else, might think best isn’t the determining factor. He’s the one who has to feel comfortable with what he does, not us.”
“Right, but what about letting Brett get away with this?” Dean asked. “I mean if he does this to Blake and no one calls him out, he can do it to someone else.”
“Do what to who, Dean?” Blake watched as everyone turned back to him as if they’d forgotten he was in the room. “What’s he done other than say he’s not comfortable around me? He didn’t tell me to go, I left.”
“So when are you going back to your room then?” The challenge in Dean’s words pricked Blake’s skin.
“Why are you being such a tool about this?” Blake stared at his friend. “What’s in this for you that you’re in my face?”
Jason slipped between the two before Blake could stand up. “Calm down.” He shifted his attention from Dean to Blake and back. “Both of you.”
Dean never altered his gaze. The anger Blake saw confused him. He searched Jason’s face for an answer, but he seemed just as lost as Blake.
“Maybe Matt was right.” The muscles in Dean’s face twisted and his expression turned stony. “You do let everyone else do the heavy lifting.”
“You’re outta line, Dean.” Everyone turned toward Peter’s voice. “And you’re also wrong.”
“What?” Peter’s rebuke banked the fire of Dean’s anger. “Why are you defending him?”
“When I was seventeen, I got outed when I was caught kissing a guy at a martial arts tournament. No one at my school knew the guy so he dumped me and was able to skate free without being found out. The few friends I had left told me I needed to out him. To go online and plaster his name as the guy who was kissing me. I didn’t.”
“Okay,” Dean pointed toward Blake. “What does that have to do with Blake and the D.B.?”
“Being a dick back doesn’t make the rejection sting any less.” Peter stared at Dean until he nodded. “This isn’t the same as being bullied or harassed. Brett didn’t complain to campus housing or tell Blake to get out. He just told him that he didn’t feel comfortable sharing a room with a gay guy. It sucks, it hurts and it makes Brett kinda a dick, but it’s not something you go and ruin his life over.”
“So that’s it? He gets away with it?” The venom was gone from his voice as Dean turned from Peter, to Jason, and finally focused on Blake.
Blake got up and walked around Jason. He held out his hand to Dean who looked at it for a moment before accepting the offer.
“I guess.” Blake shrugged. “But thanks for sticking up for me even when you though I was trying to hide again. I appreciate that you have my back.”
They shook for another second before Dean pulled him into a hug. “Sorry, Blake. I guess it just bugs the shit outta me when dickheads like him get away with this shit.”
“So what are you going to do next?” Darryl asked.
Despite the words, Darryl’s real question went unasked, but Blake heard it loud and clear.
“I’m going to give it a couple days. Ethan and I were staying here this weekend anyway, so I’ll talk to him about it.” He already knew Ethan agreed with Dean. “I won’t be here long, D. Promise.”
“That’s not what I mean.” The denial sounded forced and Blake noticed everyone else staring at Darryl. “I just meant, what are your plans if you decide to leave the dorm?”
“Don’t know, yet, but I’ll figure it out.”
* * *
Sitting on the bed that already started to feel more familiar than his, Blake considered his options. Darryl didn’t want him to stay, so moving into Jason’s spare room wasn’t an option. Despite how much easier it would have been if he could, Blake understood why it wouldn’t work. The dynamics of the house didn’t need another player. The problem was, the only way to effect an immediate transfer would be to tell housing what had happened.
Even if he tried to clean it up as much as possible, he expected the school would conduct an inquiry. They almost had to after what had happened to Peter. And with Blake being friends with Peter and Jason, it all but ensured Housing’s investigation would be thorough. Very thorough.
Shifting his legs, he stood up and retrieved his books. He wasn’t sure how much he could focus on schoolwork, but he couldn’t afford to get behind. Placing his English Literature book on the table, he moved a couple of Jason’s papers aside and was reminded how much his staying at ‘the house’ disrupted his friends’ lives. No wonder Darryl wanted to know how long he’d be staying.
Cracking the book, he stared at the pages for a few seconds and tried to move his eyes across the page. The fog in his brain refused to lift and he kept reading the same lines over and over.
“Fuck.” He shut the book and leaned back. Digging into his pocket he found his phone. Maybe Ethan had come back from his meeting. He tapped his foot as the phone rang. “Please, pick up.”
On the fourth ring he was about to hang-up when Ethan answered. “Hey, handsome. How’d it go?”
The upbeat, hopeful tone made Blake regret calling. Ethan expected a better result. “I’m staying at Jason’s tonight.”
“Oh shit, babe. What happened?”