Roll Call
by Ricky


Chapter 20

“Thomas, go ahead son. Cry it out. It’ll be alright.”

“No dad, he hates me! It’ll never be alright!”

“Son, it’s a shock, give him time to come to terms with it. Best friends don’t just give up on the other. You wait, he’ll come around.”

“No, he hates me, I can tell. He couldn’t wait to get away from me. He’ll probably tell everyone!”

“I don’t think so son, but if he does, then we’ll deal with it. You’re not alone son. Your mom and I will be here. And I’m sure there will be others. Just give him some time.”

“Dad, I don’t know if I can bear seeing him again. I mean, I knew he was probably straight, but at least . . . Well, at least I could be near him. Now . . . Dad, I just feel so alone, it’s like I’m all empty inside. I just . . . I just don’t want to live anymore.”

“Thomas, look at me,” his dad said, pleading. “Son, I know that today you feel like that, but tomorrow’s another day. Give it a chance. Give Ernie a chance. You’ve got nothing to lose son. Give it some time, please. It hurts me so to see you in such pain. But it will pass, I promise. Just hang on son. We’re right here with you. I love you Thomas, so does your mother. And if Ernie can’t see that it makes no difference then Ernie doesn’t deserve to even mumble your name.”

He held Thomas until his tears gave way to sleep and he tucked him in. Kissing his forehead he whispered, “I love you son, it’ll be alright. You’ll see,” and he headed quietly down the stairs.

“How is he?” Mrs. Rex asked her husband.

“I don’t know. He’s a bit of a mess right now. Ernie wasn’t just his best friend, he was the boy he loved. He was even contented just to be near him, now . . . I don’t know. I’ve never seen him like this. There was no consoling him.”

“Is he sleeping?”

“Yeah, he cried himself out.” He looked at her with sorrowful eyes, “I’m scared for him Marilyn.” She took him and held him.


Jeremy awoke to find his bed empty. He looked at the clock, 6:00 A.M. Sliding his legs over the side and sat up wiping the sleep from his eyes and trying to clear the stardust from his brain. He put on a pair of shorts and walked quietly downstairs and into the kitchen. The coffee was made. It wasn’t his favorite drink but with enough milk and sugar it was okay. He poured himself a cup, leaving room for the balance of the concoction and turned to get the milk from the refrigerator when he saw Jess sitting out on the porch. Topping off his brew and mixing in the sugar needed to make it palatable, he set the spoon quietly in the sink and stepped over to the door leading to the veranda. Standing there he gazed at the back of his boyfriend surrounded by a sea of glimmering gold as the sun peaked over the clouds to say good morning to the neatly manicured back yard.

“Hey, you haven’t seen my boyfriend around here have you? OH! Wait! That would be you, isn’t it?” Jeremy said with his boyish laugh mixed in.

“Uh, yeah, that would be me,” he said with a shy grin, leaning in to kiss his boy.”

“You look troubled. What’s wrong?”

“I’m in a mess.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, um there is Janice, and now you.”

“Oh,” Jeremy said in a whisper as he sipped his coffee. He remained silent.

“Is that all you can say is ‘Oh’?”

“What would you like me to say? I’m sorta on the spot here too, ya know.”

“Why you? You don’t have to face her. I mean, what do I tell her? Oh, Janice, by the way, I love you but I love a boy too?”

Jeremy remained silent, staring down into the dark brown clouds in his cup for a moment before he spoke. “Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Do you still love her?”

“Yeah, you can’t just turn it off like a light switch.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Jeremy said, getting up and turning back towards the house, his eyes welling. He was trying to get away before the flood.

“Wait, where are you going?”

“To get ready for school. I’ll move my things into the guest room.”

Jess was on his feet in a second and had Jeremy in his arms. “Wait, why would you think that you had to do that?”

“You still love her. You have a history. I’m the new kid on the block. She can give you things I can’t. You won’t be frowned upon with her, you will with me. A pretty easy choice when you look at it practically.” He turned and started to pull away when Jess held on to him and pulled him closer.

Jeremy pushed himself back, the tears were close and he knew he couldn’t stop them if he waited.

“Wait!” Jess said, “you’ve got it wrong!”  Jeremy just froze, looking down, praying he would just let him go. “Jeremy,” he said, lifting his chin to make his eyes meet his own, “Look at me.” Jeremy’s eyes drifted up to meet Jess’s. “You aren’t going to move your stuff anywhere. I love you. And I intend to be with you.” He pulled Jeremy into his arms again and kissed him and Jeremy melted into him. “Come on, sit down, listen to me,” Jess said, pulling him back to sit on the steps. “Jeremy, try to understand. I have been with Janice for quite some time, and of course I love her. You can’t be that close and spend that much time with someone without loving them, and that’s what troubles me. I can’t see any way to break it off without hurting her. This is really going to tear her up, and I’m leaving her for a boy. That has got to be a real brain fuck. I’m just trying to find the words. And as for her being able to give me things you can’t . . . well, you’ve got some pretty unique things to give yourself.” He was in a full on blush. “And as for what other people think, well, fuck them if they can’t deal with it. It’s their problem, not ours. No, that one is a non-issue. The only issue here is how do I break it off with the least amount of pain?”

Jeremy snaked his arms around Jess’s waist and laid his head on his shoulder. “Any ideas?”

“Just one,” he said, pulling back a little bit from Jeremy. “I think I know how I can do it and at least let her save face. It will still hurt her, but she won’t be humiliated at least by me dumping her for a boy. It’s the best I can do. Can you give me a day or so?”

“Sure, I’ll wait. I’d wait for you forever.”

Jess smiled and leaned in to give him a kiss. “Well, I don’t think it will take that long. But I need to do this right and it can’t be at school. I’m going to invite her over for dinner. When she comes I’ll explain it all to her and hopefully she’ll listen to reason. If she doesn’t fly off the handle too bad, maybe she will be game to dumping me at school. Then we give it a week or two before coming out with us.”

“Wait, you plan on coming out to the school?

Jess smiled and slipped his arms around Jeremy this time. “What? You want to keep it a secret? I don’t want anyone to think that you’re available. You might find someone better and then where will I be?”

“Not happening,” Jeremy said, smiling. “There is only one boy I want, one boy I love.” He kissed him passionately.

A throat clearing from the door told them they weren’t alone. They broke apart blushing as they looked up to see Jess’s parents standing in the door. His dad spoke, “I’d tell you to get a room but I’ve heard what you guys do in there and I don’t want to escalate things any more than they are. How about some breakfast?”

Their eyes lit up at the mention of food and hand in hand they made their way back into the house. “Um Mom, I need your help. Can I ask Janice to dinner here tomorrow night…?”


“Hey Tanner, Jeremy asked if I could drive him over to his dad’s place to get some more clothes and stuff since I have a van. You want to come along?”

“Sure, why not. Maybe I’ll get to deck the guy for being an ass hole.”

“Nah, Jeremy says he has bowling today and he never misses it. Um, I had to take the back seat out for more space because he has to get his computer and table. Do you think Ry would mind keeping Elliot company until we get back?”

“He’s probably okay with it, let’s ask.”

“You’ll ask me what?” Ry said, walking into the room with Elliot.

“Jeremy wants to know if I’ll take him over to pick up some stuff at his dad’s house since he is at his bowling league and I have a van. I asked Tanner if he wanted to come along so we have some more muscle, but I only have 2 seats because I took the back seat out for more space for his computer desk and stuff, so we were wondering if you would mind keeping Elliot company until we get back?”

“Sure, we were playing a game anyways. Go, we’ll be fine. Just stay out of trouble.”

“Who, me?” Tanner said, batting his eyes at Ryan. “I’d never get into trouble.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of. Try not to leave anyone unconscious and bleeding, okay?”

“You wound me!” Tanner whimpered in mock offense.

“Yeah, right. See ya’s when you get back. Besides, I’m kicking Elliot’s ass in GTA,” Ry said, as they grabbed a drink and turned to go back into the room.

“Beating me? Your ass sucks canal water. I just unlocked a sweet little pink and black drifter just waiting to kick your ass.” Their voices trailed off as the disappeared back into the room.


“Hey Liz? This is Ernie.”

“Hi Ernie, Cindy and I were just talking about what movie to see. How do you feel about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? It sounds great.”

“Yeah, well, that’s why I’m calling. Um, we have a little snag.”

“What do you mean, ‘a little snag’?”

“Well, I mean that T-Rex can’t come. Umm, he went and got himself grounded.”

“Ernie, he had asked already, they can’t do that. Talk to his dad, see if he can be grounded starting tomorrow. He’s not the only one affected by this you know? Just explain it to his dad, I’ll bet you can get him off.”

“Um, no, I don’t think so. Even if I could, he really isn’t into it you know? I sorta pushed him into it.”

“Great! Well, push him again Ernie. We have to have a second couple, or I can’t come. My mom is being a total bitch about it.”

“Look, maybe I can get someone else to come. I mean, it’s not much warning, but maybe I can get like Malcolm or someone to come along.”

“Malcolm? Really? Are you insane? He’s a geek! Worse than a geek, he’s probably gay!”

“He’s not gay and so what if he was? We need another warm body to show up for a movie. We aren’t asking Cindy to marry the kid.”

“There is no way Cindy will go with Malcolm. She’s scrunching up her nose. I mean, what would people think? Cindy couldn’t get a date with a regular guy so she was hanging with a homo?”

“Yeah, heaven forbid. Look Liz? Stuff it in your ear. Why don’t you and Cindy go and have a good time by yourselves. Everyone thinks you’re lesbians anyways. Later!” Ernie hung up the phone fuming. As he paced back and forth, his mind kept drifting back to T-Rex. He grabbed his coat and headed out the door.


Ernie stepped up to the door and paused as he started to knock. He took a breath and knocked on the door and waited for it to be answered. As Mr. Rex opened the door, he paused when he looked down and saw the small frame of the boy that had never knocked before. “Hello Ernie, taking to knocking now, are we?”

Ernie looked up and then his eyes dropped to the floor. “Well, um, I wasn’t sure I was still welcome.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Um, well, I don’t know. I guess, um, T and I had a bit of a disagreement yesterday and I wasn’t sure he wanted to see me.”

“You mean when he told you that he was gay and you couldn’t get off the phone fast enough?”

“He told you?”

“He didn’t have to. He collapsed on the floor in tears when you hung up.”

“Oh shit! I mean, I’m sorry Mr. Rex. Is he alright? Can I see him?”

“I think you should give it a day or so Ernie, he’s pretty messed up over it. Why don’t you come back tomorrow?” he said, as he started to close the door.

“No, please, let me go to him. I never meant to hurt him. Please, he needs to know.” Ernie’s eyes welled and his desperation was in his voice. Mr. Rex opened the door.

“You know the way. Don’t make me regret it.”

“Thanks Mr. Rex!” And he sprinted up the steps and then came to a halt outside his door. He knocked softly.

“Just go away. Please,” came the whimpering voice from inside. Ernie opened the door and stepped inside, closing it behind him.

“No, I don’t think I will,” he said in a quiet voice as he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. Placing his hand on T’s back he gave it a little rub, “Hey, you okay?”

“What do you want?”

“I want to talk with my best friend. I just told Liz off and I got no one to talk to about it.” T-Rex rolled over and looked at him. His reddened eyes looked as if they had been flowing for days. He clutched a ball of tissues in his hand and rubbed his nose with them as he sat up and looked at Ernie.

“Best friend?”

“Yeah, we are best friends aren’t we? Who else would I talk to?”

“Then you don’t hate me?”

“Of course not. I don’t care who you sleep with and I don’t care who you love. You are my best friend and it would take a lot more than something like being um, you know, to break that up. I mean, you didn’t just get that way during the phone call did you? I mean, you didn’t, did you?”

T-Rex giggled, “No, you don’t get that way, you either are or you aren’t. You’re born that way.”

“Yeah, of course. I knew that. I mean, I don’t know that, because, well, I’m not um, you know.”


“Yeah, that.”

“You can say it, that’s what I am. It’s not a dirty word or offensive. It just describes my lifestyle preference.” He paused a moment in thought, “You know, I don’t know why they call it a preference, because I really have no choice. Look, it’s gay. It’s what I am and it’s okay to say it.”

“Yeah, of course, I knew that. Gay. See, I said it, no problem.” T-Rex launched himself on him hugging him tightly. Ernie was taken aback a little and paused only a moment before hugging him back. “Um, well, you know, you and me. Um, well we’ve seen each other and even um, you know, fooled around when we were kids. But um, you know, I um, really like girls.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s too bad too, because I’ve always been in love with you. Since the first day you showed up in my yard on that red bicycle, I fell in love with you that day.”

“Um, yeah, about that. I understand that I’m irresistible and you really have a difficult time keeping your hands off me and all but um, well, you think you can put it in check until we find you a boyfriend? You know, sorta save it for him?”

T-Rex took his finger and tracing his jawbone he moved his face inches from Ernie’s, “Hmm, well, I don’t know, you are irresistible and all.” He was enjoying making Ernie squirm and as T got closer to his face Ernie leaned back until he fell off the bed onto the floor taking T-Rex with him. T landed on top of Ernie nose to nose, prone between Ernie’s legs as the door opened and Mr. Rex stepped in and froze “Is everything . . .?” He smiled and backed out the door. As T-Rex burst into laughter, he leaned in and kissed Ernie quickly on the lips and rolled off him.

Ernie got up wiping his mouth, “Hey, what was that for?”

“Because Ernie, I still love you and probably always will. I figured it was my only chance, so I took it. I had to have at least one. You said it yourself, you’re irresistible and a gay guy just can’t keep his hands off of ya. But alas, you’re not a very good kisser. No wonder Liz dumped ya.”

“Hey, she didn’t dump me and,” he said, shaking his finger in his face, “that’s your last one! And you can’t tell anyone about it. EVER! Got it?”

T-Rex laughed, “Ok, but you really could use some practice kissing, how about hugs?”

“Um, You’re the only one who ever complained about my kissing and as for the hugs, only when we’re alone. Never in public!”

“Like now?” T-Rex said, snaking his arms around his waist, causing Ernie to fidget from the tickles on the way.

“Um, yeah, but don’t overdo it, alright?”

“Never!” Rex said as he grabbed two hands full of Ernie’s bubble butt and pulled him into him.

“Hey! I said hug! That’s a bit more than a hug, don’t you think?”

“Oh, that was a gay hug. Didn’t I tell you we have our own style?”

“Um, no, you failed to mention that. Um okay, regular non-gay hugs and ONLY when we are here. Okay?”

“Alright, but you’re taking all the fun out of it.”

“For who?”

“Me, of course. Who else did you want to have gay hugs from?”

“Um, no one!”

“Oh, then you DO still want them from me!” he said, as he started to advance. He was clearly having fun making him squirm.

“No, um, yes. But um, regular ones!”

“Like this?” T-Rex said as he hugged him genuinely and whispered, “Thank you.” He stepped away smiling and looked at him. “So why did Liz dump you, just because you couldn’t take her to the movies or because you suck at kissing?”

“I told you, she didn’t dump me. In fact, I dumped her! And I don’t suck at kissing!”

T looked at him slack jawed, “Why would you do something like that and yes you do?”

“Well, I was trying to think of a second person who could take your place for the date and all I could think of was Malcolm, and she said some stuff about how Cindy wouldn’t go with him because then everyone would think she couldn’t get a guy so she went with a . . . a homo, so I told her that in the first place he isn’t gay.” He paused for a second, “He isn’t, is he?”

T-Rex shrugged, “How should I know?”

“Well, don’t you guys have like, a directory or something or signals or secret signs or something?”

T-Rex laughed, “God, I hope so!”

“You ‘hope’ so? Don’t you know? You aren’t very good at this gay stuff, you know.”

T-Rex laughed again, “Dude, I’ve been out less than 24 hours. Give me a break. And hey, I think I know enough to get started, wanna see?” he said, advancing on Ernie.

“And cut that out. You’re making me nervous.”

“Alright, I’m just having fun with you. But if you ever want lessons on how not to suck at kissing, let me know. I can arrange some private lessons.”

“Well anyways, getting back to Liz. When she made the homo remark it got under my skin. All I could think was that she was calling my best friend names and it pissed me off.”

“So what did you say?”

Ernie grinned and tried not to laugh as he said it, “I told her to go ahead and go to the movies with Cindy. Everybody thought they were lesbians anyways, and I hung up.”

“No way!”

“Yes way. No one can make comments about my best bud and get away with it.”

“Thanks,” T said meekly. “Um, you know when it comes out, um, they’re going to give you a hard time. They’re going to say you’re gay too.”

“Let them say what they want. Who knows, girls usually flock to the gay guys because they know they’re safe, maybe I’ll let one or two try and turn me,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Hey! That’s discrimination!”

Ernie raised a single eyebrow. “How in the hell do you get discrimination out of that?”

“Well, you didn’t give me the same opportunity to turn you did you?”

“Okay, so call me a bigot!” Ernie laughed.”And as I recall, when we were about ten you gave it your best shot. And hell for a night it was awesome. I’ll have to give you references for your first boyfriend.”

“You better never!”

“Yeah, now who’s in the hot seat?”

“Well, you were tasty even then. You sure you don’t want to give it a go? I mean my dad already thinks you are, after coming in and finding us the way he did.”

“Oh shit, don’t remind me and no, thank you, but if I ever change my mind, you’ll be the first to know, okay?”

T-Rex smiled sincerely, “Thanks Ernie, you really have no idea how important you are to me.”

“Yeah, well, I’m sorry that I hung up the way I did. It was a bit of a shock and I had to sorta sort it out in my own messed up mind. I mean, I really didn’t expect that one. I’m sorry.”

“So, we’re good then?”

“Yeah, we’re good. And I should go. I have to be home for dinner,” he said, as he got up and opened the door to leave.

“What about Liz?”

“What about her? I’m gay too, remember?”

“You are?” It was Mr. Rex, smiling ear to ear.

“Um, no, not really, it was a joke.”

“Yes, of course it was.” Mr. Rex winked at him. “Don’t worry. It’ll stay our little secret.”

Closing the door and following him down the stairs, “No, um really, Mr. Rex, I’m not really. Honest, it was a joke.”

“Yes, of course it was, I understand entirely.”

“No, dad, he’s telling the truth. He’s straight. He was joking about people thinking he’s gay when I come out and how the girls will like him because they’ll think he’s safe.”

He stared for a moment at T-Rex then at Ernie. “So, you’re really not gay then?”

“No sir, honest.”

“Well, nobody’s perfect. Look, if you change your mind . . .” He winked again as Ernie rolled his eyes and made for the door.

T came down into the living room, “He really isn’t Dad.”

“Yeah, I gathered that. You alright?”

“Yeah. I mean, I’ll always love him. I told him that. But I’m okay. Having a best friend is more important to me. I thought I lost both.”

“Yeah, those new hormones really blow things out of proportion, don’t they.”

“Yeah, I guess they do. They suck sometimes. And you don’t even know it’s them when they do it.”

“So, do me a favor.”

“Sure Dad.”

“If you ever feel hopeless again, come to me, okay? There is no problem too big for us to handle, nothing to great that we can’t get through it together. Alright?”

“Thanks Dad. You’re the best.”

“I love you Thomas. Never forget that. Mom does too. You’re never alone. And you have a great best friend too.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s why I love him.”


“Thanks for taking me over guys. Jess wanted to help too, but I don’t want him getting into the middle of this mess. His parents and my dad are pretty good friends and I just don’t want him caught in the middle, you know what I mean? So, I’m going to run upstairs and throw some more clothes in these trash bags. Oh and Jan, don’t let me forget my History and Math books. I’ve been using Jess’s for History and Marsha Bramwell’s for Math. I think she has the hots for me and I need to get mine back before she figures it out.”

“So, you want us to just start stuffing stuff in the bags out of your drawers and closet? We can make pretty short work of it I think.”

“Well I’d like to get my computer too. It’s a small tower case, and if there’s room, my little computer desk too. Jess said we could put it up right next to his. He’s making some room for it now. He said he had to do something, just waiting would make him nuts.”

“Alright then. Tanner, you get to work pulling the computer stuff apart and stuffed in the van, I’ll help Jeremy get his clothes stuffed into the bags and I’ll take them out while you and he carry the computer desk out. I don’t go down steps carrying stuff too well with the leg yet.”

“Sounds like a plan, so let’s do it.”

They backed into the driveway and maneuvered into the back yard to be less visible from the street and bailed out of the van as Jan deployed the lift, giving them access to both the side door and the back. Jess unlocked the door and he and Tanner ran up the steps and into the room, followed quickly by Jan who started opening drawers and grabbing clothes and stuffing them into the bags. Jeremy started on the closet and Tanner undid cables and started carrying pieces out to the van.

Two trips down to the van and the computer was loaded. “Jeremy, grab an end of this computer table and we’ll get it in and pack the clothes around it so it holds it in place and takes up less room.”

“Good idea,” he said as he dropped the bag of clothes and made for the desk. He froze for a second. “Shit.”

“What?” the other two said in the same alarmed breath.

“Think there’s room for my bike? I forgot all about it.”

“Phew, I thought you heard something, you know?”

“Sorry. We should have plenty of time. Even if he comes home I doubt he would say much. Well, unless he’s tanked and he sometimes get’s that way bowling. They drink a shot and a beer on every strike the other guy makes. So if he’s bowling really bad, or the other guy is having a streak he could get pretty messed up.”

“Well hey, let’s waste some more time. Come on, let’s get this desk in. I’d just as soon not know what kind of game he bowled at all.” Tanner said with a little sarcasm pushing his attitude.

“Good point, watch your hands on the door frame!”

“Thanks, I’m through.

“Be right back Jan, keep stuffing. Oh! And grab my pillows too would ya?”

“On it and hey, I got your books too, they’re in the bag with your underwear.”

Placing the desk in the van, Jeremy ran back in and returned in seconds with a trash bag in each hand.

“Damn, what did you do use, a freaking transporter? You didn’t even have time to get to the stair case!”

“Jan tied these and threw them down the steps.”

“Damn, I was almost going to compliment ya. Glad I caught myself.”

Jeremy flipped him off, laughing, as he headed back towards the house. “Hey! Where’s your bike?”

“In the garage!” he said, not breaking his stride.

“I’ll get it.” Tanner walked over to the two car garage and tried the side passage door and allowed himself in.

It was surprisingly organized and clean with the typical lawn implements filling one side. Tanner found the light switch and flipped it on which illuminated both sides with florescent light. He spotted the bike hanging on hooks against the wall with the door that he had passed through. Reaching for the bike, he was halted with the sound of the garage door being opened and seconds later a car pulled in with a very angry looking driver.

“Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my garage?”

“Relax pops. I’m here with Jeremy to pick up a few more of his things. I was just getting his bike.”

“Are you the friend? You one of his fudge packing butt buddies?”


“No not really, at least not until this very moment. Look pops, I think you have had a bit too much of the sauce. Why don’t you just take it easy? This doesn’t have to get ugly.”

“Where is the little queer? I’ll give him something he can take along,” he said as he grabbed Tanner’s shoulder.

“Bad move pops,” and he grabbed his wrist and twisted it peeling it off of his shoulders he pushed him away from him, slamming him into the workbench, causing a crashing cascade of tools to hit the floor. “Look it doesn’t have to come down like this. But don’t touch me with your filthy bigoted mits, got it!”

Mr. Steiner staggered for just a moment before turning with a snarl mumbled, “I’m gonna enjoy this.”

“Not likely.” Tanner said as he stepped into him and cold cocked him with an uppercut to the chin. Mr Steiner staggered back and slipped on the fallen tools strewn about the floor. As he started to recover, tanner pulled a metal storage locker over on top of him. “Stay down, you’re starting to aggravate me. I may even get angry.” Throwing his body on top of the locker which pinned Mr Steiner to the ground he heard him grown. He looked over the edge of the cabinet into Mr Steiner’s eyes. “You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

Mr Steiner started to struggle to get out from under the cabinet. “Ok, your choice, how about a little nap!” And he landed one in his right eye. It was done, Mr Steiner was out for the count. Tanner stood and grabbed the bike off the hooks and rolled it towards the side door. Opening it, he emerged into the sun to find Jeremy and Jan just coming out of the house. Tanner reached inside the door and pushed the automatic garage door button closing the garage door. He flipped off the light and quickly pulled the door closed behind him.

“What was that crash?” Jeremy came forward, concerned.

“Umm, sorry. I knocked over some stuff getting your bike down.”

“Shit, I better clean it up. My Dad will have a fit.”

“Look, he’s going to be pissed anyways because you came and got all this stuff. Let him clean it up. Serves him right for being a jerk. Let’s just get out of here before he wakes up.”

“Wakes up?”

“Yeah, umm, you know, wakes up to the possibility that we could be here getting stuff out of the house. Here, help me put the bike in.”

Jeremy paused only a moment, “I guess you’re right. Fuck him.” Jeremy grinned as they shoved the bike in and closed the van up. “I was freaking out. I heard the garage door open and thought he came home.”

“The garage door? Umm, yeah, it was really dark in there, had a hard time finding the light switch.”

“Oh shit, I should have turned it on for ya. Brain fart. Sorry.”

“No problem, I enjoyed the challenge.”

Jan eased the gas pedal down and entered traffic. “Let’s drop this stuff off at Jess’s and head back, I’m starving.”

“Yeah, his dad said to just shove it all in the garage and they’ll help me sort it all out and make room for stuff. Thanks guys. I know moving is no fun, that’s when you find out who your ‘real’ friends are.”

Jan grinned, “No worries.”

“Yeah, I actually enjoyed myself,” Tanner said, with his adorable smirk. Jan noticed and the smile changed to a slightly worried look.

Arriving back home they got out and Jeremy headed toward Jan’s garage, “I’ll put the seat back in. I’ll be in, in just a moment.”

“Yeah, thanks,” Jan said, smiling until Jeremy was out of ear shot, then turning to Tanner, his look serious, “How did your knuckles get bloody?”

Tanner’s smirk turned into a bit of a blush, “Umm something got in my way.”

Jan’s eyes widened. “Do I want to know what?”

Tanner smiled, wiping the blood off of his knuckles and reaching for the door with his other hand, “Nah, probably not. But I think Jess’s dad should pick another sport. He’s not too good at bowling.”


“Wow mom, that is hot! Can I take it for a spin?”

“Why not, it’s because of you that I got it. I guess you should share in the glory a little. Just don’t get comfortable, it’s mine. I’ve always wanted a French Blue convertible sports car.”

“Wait, what do you mean it’s because of me?”

“Your dad lost the bet.”

“What bet?”

“Whether you would turn out gay or straight?”

“Wait, you guys bet on whether or not your son was a homosexual and you thought I was? And Dad lost because he thought I was straight? So, if I’m really Bi do I get it?”

“Snowballs chance in hell. But I’ll make you a deal. You explain it to your sisters and I’ll let you use it Saturday night.”

“Oh damn, I forgot about them.”

“They’re young, they should take it well.”

“Yeah, but, umm, they’re young. How do you tell them without explaining what gay is?”

“Honestly, I would just tell them that you decided to be Jeremy’s boyfriend and leave it at that.”

“That sounds pretty easy. Sure, I’ll do it.”

“Great, they’re inside.”

“You mean now?

“No time like the present. Think of it this way, it’s great practice for when you tell Grandma.”

His head snapped to his mothers as she led him into the house.

“I have to tell Grandma?”


“You ready?” Jeremy asked as they were getting ready to enter the school.

“No, not at all.”

“Great, let’s go.”

“Thanks, for that. God, I hate this.”

“Yeah, I know, but it won’t hurt a bit.”

“How do you know that?”

“Don’t be daft. It’s happening to you, not me.”

“Gee, I feel better now.”

“I’m gonna go sit down with Elliot. You go to your death. I mean, you go sit with Janice.

“Gee, thanks for the support.”

“Hey, if you want me to come over too, I will.”

“Umm, no, you’re too eager. I don’t want a cat fight.”

Jeremy raised an eyebrow. “A cat fight? Really? You’ll pay for that one. I’ll have you know I’m ALL man.”

Taking a quick glance down at his package, he blushed, “Yeah, I have a ‘small’ memory of that. Perhaps you can give me a refresher course tonight just to drive home the point.”

It was Jeremy’s turn to blush. “I’ll take it as a personal challenge. Talk at ya in a bit. See ya in first period.”


“Hey, Jeremy, how is stuff?” Elliot was fishing.

“Eh, my dad’s still being an ass, you know.”

“And anything else you want to share with us this morning?”

“Who me? No why?”

Jan reached across the table and touched Jeremy’s hand, “If you don’t tell him he is libel to leap out of his chair and scratch your eyes out.”

Elliot turned to him and sissy slapped him on the arm.

“See, I told you, she can be violent.” He paused for a moment and looked at Elliot before everyone broke up. “Okay, he can think mean things about you.” Elliot kicked him under the table and yelped when his shins got raked on Jan’s prosthetic. The laughing that ensued only served to make Elliot blush even more.


“Dude, I loved seeing you again. It’s been ages.”

“Yeah, you sure you have to get back? Can’t you stay a few more days? We barely got to do anything.”

“Yeah, maybe next time. We got school and you know Ry, a real homebody. And I gotta keep the little lady happy, you know?” He winced as Ry gave him an NCIS slap upside the head.

“Hey, I’ll ‘little lady’ your ass when we get home.”

“See, she can’t keep her hands off me!” Slap! “Ouch, honey!” Tanner laughed as they headed for the gate.

“Those two are too much,” Elliot said, placing his arm over Jann’s shoulder. “Think they’ll be back?”

“Of course! The very next time we sense Armageddon, he’ll be here. He just knows how to show up at the right moments. That’s him, show up, save the world and then off to fight bigots and homophobes in another land.”

Elliot laughed as he turned with Jan and headed for the airport door. “Hey, did he just stick you with the parking?”

“He he! Yeah, I think he did,” they joked as they headed for the van.


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