Chapter 28 – Jealousy
Monday, February 20th, 2017
I can’t hold back a laugh as Carson stares at my mid-landing bird, that I just sketches on a regular paper in a couple of minutes right before adding some water colour to see if I would be pleased about it enough to use water colour on my actual sketch.
The result is stunning, and Carson stares down at it with his jaw nearly touching the ground.
“Don’t tell me you just made that in like, under fifteen minutes.”
“Uuh…” I scratch the back of my head. “Think I did, why? Do you like it? I’m not sure about the reds and the blue’s…”
“NO dude!” Carson nudges me and I notice Calo sending us an annoyed look from my right side. “This is… holy shit I want you autograph…”
I feel my face heat up over his reaction, when suddenly Calo leans over to take a look.
“It’s beautiful Nee…” He smiles at the drawing, sends Carson a cold look, and then leans in to peck a kiss on my cheek – surprising everybody who was looking at us because Carson tends to get a bit loud whenever he’s excited.
“Uuh… Cay?” I mutter, slumping down because I know he hates to be publicly out.
“It’s okay,” he hums with a smile. “It’s you, so it’s fine.”
“Are you sure?” I turn to smile at him, and I feel Carson sliding away a bit to offer us some privacy.
“I am, really.” He leans in to peck another kiss on my cheek and I can’t fight back a smile that breaks onto my face, leaning towards him a bit as if I’m pulled right in his direction, while butterflies mess up my previously eaten lunch.
“Good…” I absentmindedly answer, still soaring over the fact he is now comfortable enough to kiss my cheek in public.
It’s a big step.
Most definitely if you think this is only his first day back in school. He had been home for the entire week last week, but his parents wanted him to readjust to the situation before going back to school.
And with school, they asked if he wanted to switch again, but he was adamant about being in the same school, preferably in the same class, as I am.
This is the sixth class of the day, I introduced Calo and Carson to each other right before school, and I don’t think Calo has said anything friendly towards Carson, while Carson keeps trying to be friendly.
It’s really awkward since Carson showed up during Arts class again, to help me with the water colour, and perfect my techniques before applying it on my massive and very detailed bird-sketch.
“So, ehm…” Carson drawls, nudging me again. “The master becomes the apprentice, when are you going to teach me how you do this stuff this quick?”
I chuckle, turning back to my sketch, staring down at it for a second. “Just… let the water colour do what it wants…” I shrug. “I think I’m ready to colour my actual painting.”
“Awesome!” Carson cheers, some classmates send him an annoyed look, while Mrs. Gabriel smiles happily towards the two of us. “Go get the drawing, I’ll clean out the brushes and get all the water colours you need.”
I watch him jump up, rushing towards his locker because that’s where he keeps the rest of the bottles of concentrated water colour. It’s his personal stash, that he does not want to get in the wrong hands.
There’re tons of colours that he all dragged to school for me, and I picked 9 colours that I want to be working with during lunch already.
Most are tints of orange, red, and blue. There’s one bottle of green because I have a big leaf at the bottom of the painting that I need to colour in with green.
“I don’t like him,” Calo states with a hostile stance, glaring at the watercolour sketch that I made to try out the combination of the colours.
I roll my eyes, push myself up from the stool and retrieve my masterpiece. As I head back to my desk, I take in the mess on my desk and smile yet again.
It’s one small achievement I made lately; I do not organize my stuff as obsessive anymore.
I still make a habit out of organizing colours, but sizes, subjects, they don’t matter anymore.
It’s small, but a victory to me that means that I don’t need extra time to set up and clean up my desk anymore.
“He’s my friend,” I deadpan with an annoyed look sent his way. “He is really supportive, and I can’t survive on solely your support. You won’t always be there. Be happy I have someone that likes me for me…”
“Exactly. He likes you. He’s drooling all over you!” Calo hisses, pulling me back onto my stool. “He’s flirting with you and you’re more then happy to let him.”
“What! He does not, and I don’t either!” I stare at him in shock. “I told you, you’re my boyfriend. I like you romantically, while I like Carson in the same way I like Angela; as a purely platonic friend.”
Calo shrugs, not in the least convinced by my words, turning towards his painting, further ignoring any attempts to talk about this.
And once Carson is back, I drop my attempts, send Calo an angry look for trying to ruin my mood, and focus back on the painting and Carson’s tips.
Since I didn’t use water colour paper, it requires a bit more care to not ruin the paper, but with his help, I manage to get the first layer of watercolour ready by the end of class. It needs to dry before I can apply the next layer tomorrow.
Calo already left the classroom before I was done cleaning up my desk, stuffing the lab coat, the latex gloves and the water colour in the bag that Carson and I now use to carry around the supplies, handing it back to him.
“I’m sorry Calo’s been acting like this… just… give him time.”
“Must be stressful for him to be back in this place.” Carson smiles reassuringly. “I won’t take it personal.”
“Good.” I nod, smile, and sigh. He should take it personal, because I bet Calo simply dislikes Carson because he looks a bit like him. Not much, not nearly as handsome as Calo, but same skin tone, hair colour, eyes, length. But those are basics. Calo has this air around him that sets him apart from anyone else; even from Seino. “I’ll go and find him, to see if I can calm him down a bit…”
“Good luck with that.” Carson smiles again. “Text me whenever you have time, I found a new research about OCD that you might like to read.”
“Cool!” I smile widely. “I’ll text after school.”
With that, we both nod, smile, and wave, going in different directions as soon as the bell rings to indicate next classes are about to start.
I find Calo by his locker, like I expected to, and I recognize the expression on his face. He’s jamming, panicking over something. I’ve been in that situation one too many times before.
“Hey…” I greet him unsurely, noticing his eyes are slightly more bloodshot, and he seems on the edge of crying. “Can we talk about it?”
“Is there something to talk about?” He whispers with a thick voice. “You like him, don’t you?”
“I like you more. I like him as a friend…” I shrug, grabbing Calo’s wrists to turn him so that he’s facing me. “Just a friend, Cay.” I lean in to peck a kiss on his mouth, that he answers distantly. “What is it that makes you worried about us this much?”
“Do you really like me? For me?”
“Yes, why do you even ask?” I chuckle awkwardly, not understanding why he started doubting again.
“Or do you like the fact I was the first that liked you for who you are? Is it the idea of being with someone?”
“What? No!?” I stare at him in horror. “You think I’m just with you because you give me attention and you hang out with me?”
“Well, it’s what he does, and you keep seeking his company…”
“Cay, he’s teaching me all sorts of stuff. I teach him stuff too…” I start to feel a bit annoyed, though I don’t want this to end up in a fight. “I’m not with you for the wrong reasons. I’m with you because my whole body goes crazy whenever you smile, or touch me in the simplest ways… I don’t have that when I’m with Carson. I like Carson for his humour and the fact he knows so much. But I’m not attracted to him like I am with you.”
“I’m not saying you are physically attracted to him. I’m saying you just think you are with me.”
“You don’t know that.”
“But then how would you explain the fact I’ve struggled with these feelings for years, and you accept it, just like that? People struggle over their sexuality, Neo. And you… you just… you don’t even mind! If you really would be gay, and you really would’ve discovered it just now, with me, you wouldn’t accept it just like that. You would struggle…”
“That’s dense, ignorant bullshit, Cay.” I cut him short with a snap. “And I don’t like it how you’re claiming that I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. Because, news flash, I’ve been struggling with shitloads of things, I disliked every part about myself, and the fact I am capable of loving someone unconditionally, no matter what size, colour, or gender they have, is something I admire in me! It’s the one thing I do like about me. And if you don’t think it’s true, then fuck you, Calo Delgado. Because I deserve someone who trusts me instead of acting like a jealous monster because I finally start to make friends!” I send him a cold look and I already turned around and ran off before he was capable of stopping me.
And the worst part; he doesn’t try to stop me.
He doesn’t call out after me, he doesn’t follow me. He just let’s me leave.
* * * * *
I walked home, not in the mood to yet again call mom, since she should be able to pick up Pyper whenever she’s ready to go home.
And at home, I slammed the front door shut, and ran up to my room.
Mom tried to stop me, calling out for me in worry, but allowed me to get to my bedroom, and onto my bed, without stopping me to demand an explanation for me being home two hours early.
I overheard her calling school, explaining that I was home and something was wrong, and then it went silent for a while, until she knocks on my door, and enters the room with tea, cookies and cake.
’Hey honey.” She greets me as I sit up on the bed to give her some space to put down the drinks and treats. “Let’s drink some tea, so you can calm down and tell me why you’re home early, why you didn’t call me, and why you tried to damage the front door by slamming it like that.”
I send her a look to tell her this isn’t the time to joke around, causing her to smile, yet sigh deeply.
“What happened, Neo? You were doing great…”
“Yeah, huh? I was, right?” I mutter, sliding back down to lay on my side, pulling the cover back over my head, not really caring if I would spill tea.
“So, what happened? Did they bully you again?”
“Did they hurt you?”
“What did they do?”
“He told me I’m just in a relationship because I like the attention…”
“Relationship?” Mom exclaims shocked, pulling the cover off of my head to stare at me in disbelief. “Neo, are you in a relationship?”
“Since when? And why didn’t you tell us? That’s… great!”
“Yeah… awesome.” There’s no enthusiasm in my voice, or my demeanour. It’s because it’s Calo who hurt me that I can’t be too happy right now.
“Honey…” Mom sighs, pushing back my messy curling hair. “Who said you’re only in a relationship because of the attention.”
“And is it possible Calo is jealous because he likes you?”
I snort, rolling away from her because I do not want to face her while pronouncing the next words. “Would be weird to be jealous for him since he’s the one I’m dating…”
The silence that follows is suffocating, and eventually I turn around, to find my mother smiling at me. It’s more like a proud smile, then it is a sad one.
“You’re dating Calo,” she repeats my words with a bit of caution. “You’re gay?”
“I don’t know!” I cry out, pulling the cover back to cover my face. “I’m just into him and he makes me happy and I feel all giddy and girly and whatever…” I let out a groan full of frustration. “But he says I only pretend to be gay because he accepts me the way I am and he was the first to do so.”
“No, mom!” I call out in anger. “I love him to death…”
Did I say love? Do I love Calo? How’s that possible already? I just got to know him!
“Neo, sweetie…” Mom chuckles, again uncovering my face to look at me. “Then tell him exactly that.”
“What, that I like him? I do that all the time!”
“No, you just said you love him to death. I’m sure he’ll like to hear that.”
“I’m sure he’ll just think I pretend to love him.”
“Why does he think that? Is it because he’s insecure?”
“I bet it has something to do with that. But he said it’s impossible for me to accept being attracted to guys like this, while he, and others too, struggle with their sexuality for years. But I really, really admire that one part about me where my mind didn’t decide to make a big deal out of something that is yet again not living up to the expectations of the bigger mass, but just accept it and go with it.”
“Which is really good, because there’s nothing wrong with loving anyone. Did you tell Calo this is how you feel? Does he understand that after years of fighting to be accepted the way you are, your sexuality is the least of your problems? That you’re being judged enough as it is already and that being attracted to guys is just something you do accept because it’s really not a big deal?”
“I snapped it in his face, and then left… because he was really making me angry because he’s jealous over my friendship with Carson and I just, for once, want to have friends without it being weird.”
“Then let your words sink in and he’ll come to you to tell you he was being silly and than you get to tell him how you really feel. And for today, you’re done. I’m going to spoil you, because I secretly miss spoiling you now that you’re becoming really independent. You know how boring my days are without you or Pyper calling for my help?” She smirks, and I roll my eyes.
“As if you mind a little more time off.”
“Well, I do feel old since you both seem to need me a lot less.” She admits with a chuckle. “So, I’ll grab this opportunity to spoil you like I always used to. So, let’s drink tea, tell me all about you and Calo and how you got together, why you didn’t tell me, and then we’ll go buy ice cream and head to the park.”
“Sounds good to me, mostly the park and ice cream part.”
Mom smiles and leans in to peck a kiss on top of my head. “I love you, Neo. You’ll always be my baby boy and I’ll always be there for you to support you in everything you do.”
“So, please, promise me you didn’t keep your sexuality hidden because I gave you the impression I’m against it.”
“No!” I call out in shock, pushing myself up to hug her tightly. “I wanted to tell everyone the day I got together with Calo… but then Milan’s parents called and it didn’t feel right to tell because he was in hospital… and then it just slipped my mind and I forgot to tell.”
“So, you know we will support you no matter what?”
“I think I never doubted that fact, since you both are eager to attack anyone who ever says anything bad about me, even if they might be right in some ways.”
“Because to us, you are perfect the way you are.”
“That’s a bit cliché.”
“Wait until you get kids of your own, and then tell me if that cliché is stupid or not.”
“I’ll get back to you about it as soon as I have kids.”
“Good.” She chuckles again, hugging me back in a warm embrace. “Now, let’s gossip about your boyfriend.”