The Journey of Jacob and Kyle
by Andrew Davis


Chapter 14: This Cold Heart (Cont.)
Time line: Monday

Jacob gave one final look of reassurance to Kyle and began opening the classroom door. As it were, they were already fifteen minutes late and the expectation was high that they were about to get some flak for their tardiness. After entering and closing the door, Mrs. McDonald looked up from her desk and gave them a look of her deep disapproval.

“And where have the two of you been hiding?” Mrs. McDonald requested ever so quickly. “You know what time you’re supposed to be here. If you had only been a few minutes late, sure that wouldn’t have been a problem. But fifteen minutes? Now c’mon! I’ve already marked the two of you absent on the attendance and sent it down to the office. So now I have to send you down to the office to get everything worked out. And as for you Jacob, you’re a great student, but this is now your third strike being late. So now you’re going to need to speak with Mr. Matthews and explain to him why you’re late for my class yet again.” With the conclusion of her words, and without waiting for a response, Mrs. McDonald got up from her chair and barged towards the intercom.

Oh shit here we go’ Jacob thought, staring at Mrs. McDonald from the doorway.

“Hello Mrs. Appleton, Candace here, I’m just buzzing to let you know that I’ll be sending Jacob Carlson and Kyle Crispers down to the office for being late. As I’m sure you already know, Jacob is on his third and final strike for being late in my class, so he’ll need to speak to–”

“Hey Candace, Jacob and Kyle were in my office having a little chat with me, so I’m the reason they were late. There’s no need to send them down this way. I’m sorry for not letting you know by the way of a note, so they can remain in your class and I’ll handle this attendance problem. My utmost apologies,” Mr. Matthews spoke up in the background.

“Oh, that’s not a problem at all Mr. Matthews, sir. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I kind of jumped the gun on this one and didn’t give them the chance to tell me where they were, my sincere apologies.”

“No problem Candace. Just be sure to ask them next time.”

Mrs. McDonald turned around and looked at Jacob and Kyle. “Well, if you could please take your seats and I’ll inform you of what your assignments are for today.”

Jacob felt a little confused; he couldn’t understand why Mr. Matthews would lie to his teacher and cover up for them, especially when he knew they hadn’t been with him. Nevertheless, Jacob followed his teacher’s instructions and went to sit down in his assigned seat.

“As I told the class a few minutes ago, we’ll be doing something a little different, and I know this isn’t English class, but Mr. Matthews and I feel this would be a good opportunity for everyone to write about what anti-bully week means to them. It can be anything along those lines; maybe how you will or have helped someone. What it feels like to know people are behind you no matter what. Or, you can even make it personal, like a journal, and talk about how you feel internally. We just want you to be objective and open to new ideas.” She smiled and gave a reaffirming tap on their shoulders. “I’m expecting big things from you two.”

Jacob then gave a blank stare towards his teacher. ‘Has she heard the rumor about me?’ Jacob thought, unable to pull his eyes from his teacher. ‘I wonder if she cares that I’m gay.

“I’ll do my best, Mrs. McDonald, but I’m no writer,” Jacob said, still peering deep into his teacher’s eyes, trying to gather any sign that spoke of her acceptance.

“Just try your best. That’s all we can ask of you.”

“Don’t worry Mrs. McDonald, I’ll give Jacob the help he needs to figure out how to put his thoughts into words,” Kyle piped in. “I’m a poet you know, but not everyone knows that about me.”

“Good for you Kyle, I’ll look forward to hearing some of it.”

Mrs. McDonald walked away and Kyle went smashing away at the keyboard in front of him, just like Jacob had taught him. Jacob wasn’t so lucky; he just continued to stare at his screen, fingers at the ready hovering over the keyboard. The screen blinked back at him, as if mocking him for his lack of ideas. Kyle on the other hand was writing a brisk pace, smashing key after key, writing God knows what.


Bill pulled up to the driveway and swiftly placed the car in park, directly in front of his two door garage. At present, his mind was a flutter with how his meeting had gone with Sarah. From the very moment he’d left Sarah, he replayed every word, every little syllable, and every micro-expression that had come across his wife’s face, as if it were playing on repeat in his mind. The more he thought it over, the angrier he became and as such, he returned his hands to the steering wheel as if he was bracing himself for some sort of impact. His eyes had not moved since he pulled up, and had remained fixed forward staring through the grimy windshield, glaring at the immoveable structure that stood out in front of him. For several long minutes, he continued this unguided gaze while his mind took him deeper in thought.

Bill hadn’t fancied the way his meeting with Sarah had ended. He deeply wished, and had hoped, that a change of heart was in the cards, and yet there hadn’t been anything that clearly stated any sort of change; just a stone face that glared back towards him, with an ever growing conviction in her heart for what she wanted for their boys.

The more Bill stared at his home, the more he came to realize that he could no more force it from its foundation just by the spoken word, than he could move the very foundations of Sarah’s so fervently held beliefs. In their meeting, there had been no coming to terms, no change of heart, nothing had been accomplished; it was all the same attitude of disrespect, disillusionment, and spats of painful words; it was all a sham.

As logical as this seemed an open and shut case, he still tried to reason with his thoughts. When he couldn’t find a justification to the issues at hand, he finally concluded that Sarah’s foundation was that being gay was the worst thing of all. It was an abomination, and one that would send their children to the pits of hell to be tortured, staked, and prodded by whatever means necessary. As if her stance hadn’t been so blatantly clear the first time around, this still struck Bill as an evil act in itself, and one that would send his wife’s soul into a self-absorbed disillusion for her acts of hatred and bitterness.

As Bill continued to stare blankly towards the outside of his home, the more it made him sick to his stomach. This was to be the place they were to start their lives, to have a family, to love their children unconditionally, regardless of the problems that would come their way. This was also to be a sanctuary from the outside world for all of them. But Sarah had shattered that dream with her broken promises, and now the safety net that was supposed to be filled with loving guidance was gone.

Bill no longer felt anything for Sarah. So much had happened since the news broke of their children’s sexual orientation that he felt he could no longer justify the means in speaking with her again. All of the things his wife had said and done, and because of these simple facts, they had compounded heavily upon his shoulders

By the time Bill had come around from his deep thought processes, he felt a weight come over him, a burden of sorts. He felt solely responsible for letting Jacob and Matthew down. He thought his plan would have worked, but it didn’t seem to have and now his hope solely laid with the DVD to win Sarah over, and if that failed, then all was to be lost.

This was his last chance to prove once and for all that anything was possible with just a little prayer, and yet he was left feeling like nothing would ever change Sarah’s mind. His faith in God was waning, and this was a very bad thing; he was weak and unable to fight the urges that peeled him away like an onion. Finally, he reached over to the passenger seat, grabbed a twelve-pack of Budweiser, a bag with two bottles of white wine, and a bottle of Sherry.

Bill was defeated and wasn’t able to fight this old curse of his; one of the bottle, sorrows, and broken dreams. This was a struggle that had been long fought over these past five years, and he had been quite successful at keeping himself sober up until now. He knew where this was going to lead, he’d gone down this road before, and he wished he was strong enough not to go down this road again, but this addiction ripped him, through and through, until he could no longer fight the urge.

He then quickly exited his car, bottles in hand, entered the house, and walked into the kitchen to retrieve a wide mouth drinking glass. He filled it to the brim with Sherry and then emptied the bag, placing the wine in the fridge alongside his beer and went off to start cleaning the bathroom.


“What exactly are you writing about, Kyle?” Jacob questioned, trying to take a peek over at his screen.

“Nothing really, just some of my own personal thoughts,” Kyle smiled, turning his screen away from Jacob. “But it’s not ready to be read by anyone just yet. I can’t seem to get the wording, rhyming right just yet, so it’s a work in progress.”

“Oh, well that’s cool and all, but I can’t think of anything to write … like I know we have some good material that we could write about, but I think some of those things need to be kept, um, private, you know what I mean?” Jacob explained in a low voice, moving his chair closer to Kyle. “Especially about this whole Thomas situation, and everything we know about him.  I just can’t stop thinking about him; I wonder if he’s okay, or if he’s still in the boy’s washroom, crying. I’m just a little confused by him and his actions, but oddly enough, and I don’t quite know why; but I think we need to trust him completely. Do you think I’m crazy to think like that?”

“No, I don’t think you’re crazy, and I’m actually really glad you said that because I feel the exact same way as you do.” Kyle smiled once again. “I think Thomas really needs our help, and maybe a little guidance as my mom would say, but we can’t just go around blabbing his secret to just anyone. I think we can trust Amanda with this and can share our concerns with her, and maybe she’ll think of a way we can help Thomas.”

“That sounds like a great idea. We should invite her to join us at your house after school.”

“I agree; that’s a good idea. I personally wouldn’t mind spending some more time with her if she’d like to come. I think we could learn so much from her, she seems like a strong girl, and I think that’s the best part of her.”

Suddenly, the school bell rang and Mrs. McDonald was quick to request for everyone to save their work so that they could continue working on it throughout the week. Joann then approached, placed her hands onto each of their shoulders. “Hey, how are you two holding up? I was starting to get worried when you didn’t come to class right away; I thought maybe someone else tried to come after you. But I’m glad to see you’re still in one piece.”

Kyle laughed. “Yeah, but let’s be honest, after what Amanda and the rest of you did for us today I don’t think anyone’s going to be stupid enough to try something against us, but I’m sure if it comes to that, we’ll be at the ready and on our guard.”

“Just remember that you don’t need to fight this fight alone anymore, never forget that. But hey, the reason I came over here is because I wanted to give you all of our cell numbers,” Joann pulled out a pen from her back pocket, ripped a sheet from within her binder, and began writing down a list of numbers. “So, now that you have the rest of ours, what’s yours so I can add it to my phone?”

“Well, I don’t own a cell phone because my mom can’t afford it. And as for Jacob, shit, I don’t know why he doesn’t have one, but if it’s okay with you, I’ll give you our home numbers.” Joann nodded, and waited for Kyle to finish writing his and Jacob’s phone number. “But let’s be honest here, if I did have one, I wouldn’t even know how to use the damn thing, or even how to text. I’m not the most tech-savvy-person you’ll ever meet that’s for damn sure.” Kyle admitted, passing a torn piece of paper off to Joann.

Joann looked at the paper, and deciphered Kyle’s writing. “That’s great, totally ace.  Hopefully you’ll get one soon, because I’m a texting addict and I just love talking to my friends, day and night.” Joann smirked devilishly and batted her eyes. “I’m only kidding of course, it’s not like I’m going to stalk you or anything … or am I?”

“Ha! I love that sense of humor of yours,” Jacob belted out laughing. “Anyway … I think we should all start heading to our classes before the next period starts; I don’t want to be late again.”

“Sounds like a plan, I’ll see you guys soon,” Joann said, walking towards the exit.

“Yeah, I think it’s best if you aren’t late for gym class, I don’t think Mr. Matthews can cover for you again.”

“I don’t think he’s going to want to cover for me again! I’ve already caused so much shit today; I guess I’m just thankful to have such an understanding principal. So, will you walk me to my locker so that I can get a change of clothes?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way my love.”

Once Jacob had retrieved his gym clothes, he swiftly gave Kyle a kiss in the hallway for all to see, and then they parted ways to head off to their own classrooms. Jacob entered the change room, and headed directly for one of the toilet stalls to change. At the very least, he didn’t want to give anyone the chance to try and start something with him – had they wanted to make fun of him – so he quickly got himself changed and made his way into the gym to wait for his class to begin.

Deep down, Jacob hoped his gym class would go off without a hitch, though he still had his doubts that it wouldn’t be so easy. Kyle was no longer with him, and neither were any of the others that had made the knight’s pledge with him today. He felt alone to face the world, and yet, he felt strong in who he was, no more a wave in the ocean that could be so easily swayed by someone’s words alone.

When he finally made it into the gym, he could sense everyone’s eyes watching him, and he couldn’t help but feel out of place, like the odd man out. For the first time in his life he was no longer invisible to people’s prying eyes; he was now someone who could easily be singled out and prayed upon, which left him feeling uneasy. The gym was rather quiet; not a whisper could be heard as Jacob made his way over to the group of boys who were sitting on the bleachers waiting for Mr. Morris to arrive.

When Mr. Morris finally arrived, he came through the side door with his hands full of football equipment. He threw them down to the floor and called everyone over to him. “Sorry about being late boys. We’re in a bit of a quandary today. It would seem some hooligans decided that setting the storage shed on fire was a wise thing to do. Now all of the football equipment is damaged and I’m going to need your help looking through it all to see if there’s anything still salvageable.”

“Why didn’t the fire alarm go off then, sir? And why can’t we smell it?” A boy asked.

“It was a small fire, and I caught it in time, sort of, and it was put out with the fire extinguisher.” Mr. Morris pointed to where one had usually hung on the wall. “Anyway, instead of having a normal class, I’m personally asking you to help me clean up this mess. But if you’re not interested in helping, then unfortunately for me I can’t keep you here and you’ll merely get an F for the day. So you decide, and I won’t be angry if you wish to go.”

“The hell with this, I’m out of here,” said a boy. Many others agreed and refused to get burnt ash, charred plastic and the likes on their clothes and ended up walking out.

By the time all was said and done only Jacob and two other boys remained. “I’ve got your back Mr. Morris; I’m just sorry that those other jerks seem too prissy to get a little dirt on themselves. But not me sir, never have, and never will I be afraid of getting a little dirt on me. Or, as my dad would say, God appreciates a man who can come home stinking to high heaven and still feel good that he’s done a good job, and for that I’m your man.”

“Thanks Jacob, I really appreciate your dedication; and the same goes for you Steven, and Jesse. I also appreciate your willingness to be of use. So let’s get going,” Mr. Morris suggested as he headed out the side door.

What Jacob saw surprised him; uniforms, footballs, and equipment lay strewn across the grass in piles of two or three each. Some were black as night, burnt to a crisp, while others merely had a slight discoloration from smoke damage or a mild kiss from the fire. At least half of the garage-like structure was destroyed. Why the fire department hadn’t been called was beyond Jacob, but he felt happy to help either way.

As they went to work, classifying what was to be kept, and what was to be thrown away, Jacob began to think about what Kyle was doing at this very moment. Though he didn’t know, he somehow felt that Kyle was thinking of him. A feeling deep down inside of him had alerted him to this fact, and so he in return began reflecting how much he loved and adored Kyle. His life had been changed even in this time of hardship; he knew he couldn’t have made it to this point without his beloved. The more he thought of Kyle’s undying love and dedication, the more he realized that he couldn’t live or breathe without his beloved standing by his side.

Life had become so dynamically different ever since Kyle had come to him, and been the boy he’d always wanted and needed, and now he was better because of it. But even while he sorted, thought, and stared blankly, he was interrupted from his musings when Mr. Morris approached him in a gentle, loving manner.

“Jacob, can we talk for a moment?” his teacher requested ever so gently.

“Sure, what do you need?” Jacob questioned as Mr. Morris pulled him off to the side away from prying ears.

“Jacob, I’ve heard some rumors, and since I’m not the type to believe in such fallacies, as rumors go, I wanted to ask you personally; are they true?”

“Well, if you heard that I’m gay, and that I attacked Thomas for verbally attacking gay people, then yes, everything you’ve heard is true. But let me say that my attacking Thomas was definitely wrong and that I regret it very much.”

“Well I’m glad you feel guilty, as you should. This school has a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence, and let’s be honest, if Mr. Matthews didn’t suspend you that’s a gift from God, so I highly suggest you keep that nose of yours clean.”

Jacob was taken off guard by Mr. Morris’ forwardness, but nodded nonchalantly nonetheless. “Shit, if you’d been sent to my office, you and I would’ve had more than a few words; I can tell you that right now. Do you think I would’ve suspended you Jacob? And do you think Mr. Matthews should have as well?”

“Listen Mr. Morris,” Jacob’s voice abruptly spiked upward, “If you’re trying to egg me on then this just isn’t going to work. I don’t know what you’re trying to get at here … are you trying to get me angry so that I’ll hit you or something? Because if that’s the case, I’m sorry to say that just won’t be happening, no matter how hard you try. I’m not this monster deep down inside, as much as everyone might like to think so, and do you know why? Because I have someone who loves me with all his heart. I know this, I see this, he brings light to my darkness and I do the same for him! I made a mistake just like everyone on this planet Earth has done, and yes, I’m sorry for my actions. Now, goodbye, you make sure you have fun cleaning this mess up without me.”

Jacob began walking back across the field towards the door, but Mr. Morris would have none of it and vigilantly tried to stop him. “Leave me alone Mr. Morris. I don’t deserve the way you just treated me. I’ve already had a difficult day if you haven’t realized, and the last thing I need is a teacher trying to prod and taunt me into attacking him.”

“Jacob, stop, please forgive me. I’m sorry I had to do that, but I really needed to speak with you in private away from your fellow students.” Jacob stopped, looked at Mr. Morris confused, and wondered what he was trying to get at.

“I don’t understand. So, you only said those things to get me away from them?”

“Yes, I did and I’m sorry if I’ve somehow upset you, but I thought this might be the best way to get you alone.”

Jacob stepped away from Mr. Morris. ‘Alone? Why the hell does he want to talk to me alone? Is he gay too? Is he one of those sick fucks that wants to molest me?

“Don’t worry Jacob, I just want to talk to you for a second, then you can leave if you want, but I would appreciate it even more if you stayed.”

“Go on then,” Jacob demanded, crossing his arms, and keeping sufficient distance between them.

“Okay, well, Mr. Matthews approached me shortly after lunch, during my free period from all you rascals and asked me to keep an eye on you. He’s very worried about you Jacob, and he made me promise to make sure that no one picked on you.” Jacob’s posture immediately relaxed and he listened with open ears. “He informed me of all the things that happened today, including what had happened in the lunch room. And yes, he knows all about that too; news seems to travel fast here. But first and foremost let me say that I’m really sorry you’ve had to go through all of this and I just wanted to take this time to encourage you.”

Jacob opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. The mere thought of being encouraged struck Jacob as some sort of ploy, and one that had an ulterior motive at its heart. Had Mr. Morris known him on a more personal level, this might have gone over better, but now his defenses were up in full force. But for one reason or another, the way Mr. Morris had spoken to him, with an earnest desire of loving guidance, somehow had eased the tension of the moment, and had quite simply siphoned any sort of rebuttal from his tender lips. In Jacob’s moment of insecurity and uncertainty, his eyes peered deep into Mr. Morris’ and attempted to see if he could find any hint of deception within them. Yet, the more he gazed into Mr. Morris’ eyes, the more he realized there wasn’t any sign present that indicated the fact; only a glassy-eyed teacher that genuinely cared for his student.

“Well, I can’t say I’m a little skeptical, but please go ahead, I’m interested in hearing what you have to say,” Jacob said, talking with his hands, hoping this leap of faith wouldn’t be in vain.

“First things first, thank you for your leap of faith in trusting me. So I’ll just go ahead. When I was your age, I was picked on every single day in high school, not for being gay, but because I was smaller than everyone else, hadn’t started puberty, and had a squeaky voice. When I was at my worst, lost in my own world of despair and my mind clouded with the judgments of those around me, I thought of suicide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you’re going through these emotions yourself, but I want you to know that it got better for me in time. I mean, look at me now; I’m nothing but muscle, my voice isn’t squeaky anymore. I’m now a man that is stronger, both physically and mentally, and now none of those kids that once bullied me would dare come after me.

“I just want you to take this one minute, one second at a time, because there’s so much that can define you as a person, here and now, on this day. God willing, I hope that you will see even through these times of hardship, pain, and discomfort that there’s always a better tomorrow. You and Kyle are very fortunate to have found each other, as I’m sure you already know; it’s hard enough finding someone who loves you back period. I can only imagine how difficult it must be; being a person who’s gay and trying to finding that special someone, especially at such a young and tender age, you’re very lucky indeed.”

With all the strength that Jacob could muster, he still wasn’t able to stop the salty liquid from flowing from his eyes. Every word that Mr. Morris had said to him made complete and utter sense. This was a time of reflection, a time of learning of what God would have him do, whatever that meant.

“Please don’t cry Jacob. I know this is hard, but you’re so strong, maybe not as physically as Kyle, but your spirit is massive! I can see the strength that’s deep inside of you. You’ll overcome all of this, and one day you’ll thank God and your lucky stars to have had someone like Kyle by your side. And from what I’ve heard about Amanda, this will be the place where a lifelong friendship is born; be sure to keep that one by your side.

“But that’s not the only thing I see, because I can also perceive this fighting spirit that’s deep inside of you, and no I don’t mean the fists kind, but a kind that is rarely seen in a boy of your age, let alone any man. And come to think of it, you remind me of a man named Harvey Milk. He too had this fighting spirit within him, you have that same look he did; one of conviction to do what was right, for the greater good, and for equal rights. He was a revolutionary man, who at a time when gay rights were next to none, urged all gay people to come out to their families so that they could bring that personal effect to their families lives, and you know what? It worked. So, always hold that head up high and stand proud knowing who … you … truly … are.”

“I don’t know what to say Mr. Morris,” Jacob said, wiping a wandering tear from his cheek. “I’m deeply touched by your words. I just don’t understand why everyone seems to be coming out of the woodwork to help me; I’ve never known people to be this real, this genuine, this kind. But let me start by saying that I’ve never thought of suicide, but I deeply appreciate your advice on the matter, I really do. But if you don’t mind me saying, and I don’t mean to be offensive, but what the hell does God have to do with anything?”

“Well … I can’t say I didn’t expect this, but I’m a Christian, and I believe that God loves you so much Jacob, he really does. Did you honestly believe he cared about your sexual orientation?”

“Um … yes, I mean … why wouldn’t I? All you people preach is that being gay is wrong, that I’ll be going to hell. What else am I supposed to expect from a so-called Christian?”

“That’s not for me to answer Jacob; this is your own personal journey to discover God’s deep love for you. I can’t show you the path, but if you desire to walk the path in finding God then I’ll show you the road.”

“Sorry, I’m not really interested. God will need to confront me personally to prove his existence. Once again, I’m sorry if that’s offensive to you, but way too much crap has happened to me lately to believe in some sort of mystical being that loves me unconditionally, especially to allow all of these bad things happen to me. If he cared, then I wouldn’t have been forced to go through all of this.”

“God likes to work in mysterious ways. Maybe you have something to learn here. Again, I won’t force my faith upon you. But please know that I’m here for you, as is Mr. Matthews. We all care about you very much and I know when I say this, that all of your teachers want the best for you. Now with all of this said and done, I would appreciate it if you didn’t speak of this to anyone. I’m technically not allowed to share my faith with any of the students.”

“I understand, and I’ll be sure to keep this our secret.” Jacob smiled as he extended his hand and gave Mr. Morris’ hand a firm handshake. “But I’d really like it if you didn’t tell anyone that I was crying, and if it’s a deal then I’ll come back and help you clean up, but on one condition … you give me one of those uniforms that aren’t so badly burnt. That’s a price I think you’d be willing to pay. I know my brother would love to wear one; to feel like a big boy. What do you say?”

“Well, I’d say that you’re trying to twist my arm, and doing a hell of a job at it too. I guess I don’t see a problem with that, considering anything that’s not burnt will be kept and placed somewhere safe for the time being. And anything that has any sort of damage, such as mild burns, discolorations, may that be from smoke damage or flame kissed, will be thrown out, so I’d be glad to give you one of those if you want one.”

“Sounds like a deal to me,” Jacob announced, walking back towards the old burnt garage that now lay in ruins. “So, not a word … if worse comes to worst, you were chastising me for something and then I’ll rag on you for the rest of the period.” Jacob smiled, with a smile quickly being returned back from his teacher.

By the time everything had been categorized to throw out or keep, Jacob had picked out a single pair of shoulder pads, knee pads, elbow pads, a partly discolored jersey for his school’s team, a cup which didn’t come with a jock strap, and a well-worn helmet that had a minor burn upon its crown. “So, is all of this okay for me to take Mr. Morris?” Jacob finally inquired, to which he received a swift nod.

“Thank you so much for all of your help boys.” Mr. Morris looked at his watch. “Well, it looks like there’s ten minutes left, so if you’d like to have a quick shower to rid yourselves of the soot on your bodies, then please feel free and I’ll see you all tomorrow. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.”

“Eww, are you kidding me? I’d never shower with Jacob present, ever!” said one of the boys.

“You shut that mouth right this instant young man! Jacob is just like you or me, and I definitely won’t be having any of this bullying bullshit in my class. So if you want to open that mouth again, then I’ll make it my own personal mission to be sure you get suspended. Do you care to try my hand?”

“Whoa! No, please don’t, my mother would kill me! I was only playing around, I swear. I just thought you were against him since you went over to talk to him in private. I thought you set him straight, I dunno, I quite honestly have nothing wrong with him being gay. I just thought you’d want me to think it was gross …”

“Well, you’re dead wrong, and if I ever hear you speak in that derogatory manner again, it’ll be the last thing you ever do; and no, that’s not a threat, it’s a goddamn promise.” No one dared to say a word, including Jacob, who’d been taken aback even further than before. It had been one thing for Amanda to back him up, but it was another for a teacher to take a firm stance, declare it loud and clear, and stand by it in such a firm tone. “Now, go for a shower if you want one, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

Jacob stood back and watched as the other two boys walked away. Once they’d made it inside, Jacob turned his sights to Mr. Morris, who was still attempting to clean up the remaining mess. “So, sticking up for me now, huh? I can’t say that didn’t surprise me, because it did.”

“He deserved it and you know it. I honestly don’t care who you are, like I need to explain this to you again Jacob; but he was out of line. This whole crowd mentality really pisses me off to no end; I just don’t understand how people can think this is socially acceptable to pick on another to prop up their own status. This isn’t how people need to fit in; they only need to be themselves, which you’re already doing Jacob, so good for you.”

“Well, thanks for speaking up; it means a lot to me.” Jacob stopped speaking when he saw Mr. Morris give him an off-colored look. “No really, it’s just been a weird day, it’s like all the support I’ve ever needed and never knew I had has arrived, and I’m really surprised by all of this. So thank you again. Now if I could ask one last favor. Can you help me bring my football equipment into the change room?” he smiled ever so slyly.

“Need some backup, do we?” Mr. Morris smiled back, and began helping Jacob carry in his new toys.

They gathered everything between them and began waddling through the open doors. Once they made it into the boy change room, they let everything crash to the floor. “Thanks for your help. I’ll have to get Kyle to come help me once the bell rings, but I think I’ll take your advice and take a quick shower.”

“All right, well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Until tomorrow it is.”


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