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My Best Friend is Gay

by Victor Thomas

Chapter 10

I woke up the next morning, showered, picked out what to wear, dressed, and then went downstairs to have breakfast with mom, dad, Mary, and Valerie. My sisters didn't join us until late, but that was completely normal.

The pancakes, with real butter, were delicious, as was the bacon. Dad drank his coffee and mom bustled around waiting on everyone as if she was a waitress.

After breakfast, I headed out. I had business to attend to when I entered CHS. I hunted down Wayne. It took me a while to find him, but I finally spotted him and headed straight for him. His eyes widened in fear and he gulped when he saw me coming, but he couldn't escape.

"I want to talk to you," I said.

He swallowed hard and nodded. I led him to a quieter side hallway.

"I want to apologize," I said. "I'm sorry I got so violent, but Spencer is my best friend. I will fuck you up if you tell anyone what you saw, but I shouldn't have attacked you like that."

"You don't have to threaten me," he said. "I would never talk about something like that. I know plenty of secrets about you jocks, and I do mean plenty. I keep my mouth shut, not out of fear, but because I wouldn't want anyone spreading my secrets. Besides, what Spencer does is his business."

"I'm sorry I misjudged you," I said. "I thought from the expression on your face that you couldn't wait to tell everyone."

"That expression was surprise," he said. "I could not believe what we saw. Listen, I misjudged you too. I figured you'd turn on Spencer."

"I'm not quite the jerk I appear to be," I said. "I just wish I could get Rebecca to see that."

"Rebecca Braxton?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "You know her?"

"She's tight with my sister," he said. "So, you're into her?"

"Yes, but she's not into me," I said. "I'm trying to get in good with her, but it's not going well. Know anything that will help me?"

"I know she reads a lot of historical fiction," he said.

"Ugh," I said. "What else?"

"She and my sister like to listen to boy bands," he said.

"Eww," I said. "That's worse."

"Tell me about it," he said.

"Keep your ears open and let me know if you find out anything that will help me," I said. "If you do, I will owe you a favor."

He nodded and we departed, but only until that afternoon. He walked up to me between classes and said, "Rebecca is reading 'Fire From Heaven.' I saw her carrying it. I also remembered that she likes pink roses. I heard her and my sister talking about it sometime in the past. I'm not sure why I remember, but I know she's into pink roses."

"Thanks," I said. "I owe you. I mean it. If someone gives you shit or something, come to me."

"You mean like… if someone grabs me by the throat and threatens me?" he asked with a grin.

"Yeah, if some asshole like that gives you trouble, I will kick his ass," I said, grinning back at him.

"I think I'll like having a bodyguard," he said.

I hurried to the library right after school and searched the card catalog. There was a copy of ' Fire From Heaven' but it was checked out and wasn't due back for a week and a half. Rebecca probably had it.

After football practice, I headed for the local library. There I found a copy on the shelf. I read the dust jacket. The book was about Alexander the Great. This might not be so bad. I also thought it might be possible to do one of my book reports for English on it. If I was going to have to read it, I might as well kill two birds with one stone. Why did people say that, kill two birds with one stone? Why would anyone want to kill one bird, let alone two? It guess it was one of those things I didn't get.

I checked out the book and headed home. I wasn't looking forward to reading it, but with any luck, it wouldn't be horrible. Thank god Rebecca wasn't into romance novels. I didn't think I could stomach reading one of those.

The novel loomed overhead like a dark cloud while I finished my homework. It was almost ten before I could get to it.

I began reading. 'The child was wakened by the knotting of the snake's coils about his waist.' Hmm. This was not what I was expecting. I read on. The first chapter was about a five-year-old boy, the very young Alexander, who would become Alexander the Great. As I read, I began to see a palace in ancient Macedonia in my mind. Rebecca was into this book? It didn't seem like the kind of book a girl would read. Was Wayne putting me on? Was this his revenge?

I kept reading. The story wasn't all that bad and I planned to get a report out of it, so this was homework as well. I didn't know much about ancient Macedonia so I struggled some, but I liked the mention of armor, spears, and swords. The kid grew up in a more interesting place than I did for sure. A part of me wished I lived back then, but then again, they didn't have cool cars or electricity, and maybe girls weren't as easy to get then. I kept reading until I could read no more.

I made it a point to carry the novel in plain sight all the next day. I passed within sight of Rebecca at every opportunity, hoping she would notice. As with my other plans concerning her, this one failed as well. She never so much as looked in my direction. I was invisible to her.

Very late in the day, I spotted her holding her copy of the book. She was gabbing with a couple of other girls, but I knew this was my chance, so I approached.

"So, you're the one who beat me to that book," I said, pointing and then pushing mine forward. "I had to go to the town library to find a copy. I love Mary Renault books.

"You do?" she asked, obviously surprised. "Which is your favorite?"

"Um…" Think, Philip. Think. You read the list of titles. "' The Last of the Wine,' " I said at last.

"Really? That's your favorite?" she asked as if that surprised her too.

"Yeah," I told her. "Do you like her books? I'd love to talk to you about them. I can never find anyone else into them."

She was instantly suspicious. I didn't blame her. She wasn't stupid.

"Well, I guess we can, but I can't until Saturday," she said.

"I have a game Saturday, but we could meet after," I said.

"That will be fine," she said.

I smiled.

"Until Saturday then."

I turned and stepped away before I had a chance to screw things up. I walked down the hallway, grinning, no doubt like an idiot, until my steps faltered and I frowned. Now I had to find and read 'The Last of the Wine' too.

"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" I said.

"You just now realized you're stupid? The rest of us caught on years ago," Spencer said.

I looked up. I had been so lost in my little world of elation and consternation I hadn't spotted him.

I attempted to smack him in the head, but he ducked.

"I just volunteered to read a book," I said.

"You know, some people read them for fun," he said. "Why did you volunteer?"


"Ah," he said. "Now I understand."

I quickly filled him in on my conversation with her.

"Not at all bad," he said, "but now you have to read two books by Saturday. Do you think your brain can stand the strain?"

"I'm gonna smack the crap out of you," I told him. "Right after school, I'm going to check the library for a copy of 'The Last of the Wine. '

"You told her it was your favorite," he said. "You have to buy a copy."

"Oh, man!"

"Yep," he said. "Are you sure she's worth the trouble?"

"Yeah, she is," I said with a smile.

"Ugh," he said. "You are hopeless. I liked you better when you were nailing as many girls as possible."

"I still want to… mmm… but I kind of feel like I shouldn't."

"Yeah, you've turned into a pussy," he said.

"Shut up!"

He laughed.

The truth was, I needed some and I needed some bad. I hadn't realized it, but I hadn't pursued girls with my usual vigor since Rebecca crossed my path. I wasn't getting as much action and my private parts noticed.

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm doing great thanks to you," he said.

"I didn't do anything," I said.

"Yeah, you did. "You have no idea how much I feared I'd lose you if you found out about… you know," he said.

He couldn't speak too openly for fear of being overheard.

"If I was a truly good friend, you would never have had the fear," I said. "I never considered the possibility, so I said a lot of things I shouldn't have."

"Guys talk shit," he said. "They don't always mean it."

"Sometimes I did," I admitted, "but my views have been changing even before… you know."

"I'm glad."

"I'm sorry, but I haven't had time to come up with any new putdowns or jokes, but I won't forget about you. I'm going to come up with some real nasty ones," I said.

"You're a real pal," he said.

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