Bullets of Love and War

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Chapter 7

In first period language class, I can’t stop thinking about Blake. I wonder about him in general. How he is, what he does, and why he’s made of fire.

It’s no secret at Lincoln High that the most respected people in the school are the ones that affiliate with Blake; ie, his “gang.” Although they’re not necessarily scary-looking with tattoos or anything, they put caution in people. I’ve seen Blake and his gang before, and I’ve often wondered how they came to be because at first sight, they look like a regular clique. We all just know not to mess with them. There’s this unspoken notion that you just respect them. Especially Blake, who I’ve heard through sources may be emotionally touched; in a bad way.

But this dawns another thought upon my head. What if Blake isn’t so bad of a guy? I mean, no one knows the true reason behind his mad behavior. Every time I see him alone, he has this hard, cold expression etched into his face. Blake seems irritated at the world all the time. Always a dynamite, ready to ignite. His stance, tone, and walk is utterly intimidating. I still can’t believe I locked eyes with him, which still has my heart beating slightly.

His eyes are as black as the deep ocean, and they are big, like mine. If only I could look beyond his iris and in through the door of his soul, then maybe, maybe, he wouldn’t seem so unreadable.

“Ronald Mitchell? Ron, Mitchell?” calls Mr. Hanson for roll.

I snap out of my thoughts and look around. These group of jocks to my right keep snickering at me, and it makes me wary.

“Um, here,” I manage to say.

“Hey sweetheart,” says the biggest douche of all time, Daniel Cliff. His jock friends are obviously holding something back as they try not to laugh at me.

“Day dreaming about dick over there?” calls someone else.

They know they can get away with discriminating against me because Mr. Hanson is homophobic himself. He only tells them to stop once but once they continue, he backs down a little.

“Sweetheart, look at me,” Daniel says again, and this time, he’s turned toward my desk, arms relaxed upon it.

I don’t look at him and his taunting friends. He’s poking my cheek and calling me sweetheart, my earned nickname out of due respects for just being me. Mr. Hanson tells him to shut up. Daniel the Douche stares at me, and through my peripheral vision, I see him smile a wicked smile.

“You know you like me, Ron,” he whispers unnervingly.

Mr. Hanson has asked for us to take out our notebooks. This gives this brainless jock the perfect duration of time to lean in closer, breath hitting my ear.

“I can take your sweet little butthole later on if you want. Maybe in this classroom even. Isn’t that what little gay boys want? Dominance?”

His remedial friends burst out laughing as Daniel does a good job at humiliating me. Mr. Hanson warns them that if they don’t knock it off, he’ll send them out.

Should have done that when lover boy was whispering in my ear.

I am not surprised that Daniel and his friends fake cat-call me. They do it to belittle who I am. They do it to let me fully realize I don’t fit in at all.

Sitting up a little straighter, I ignore their constant slurs and belittling and pay attention to what I wrote. Eventually, they stop.

“Now class,” Mr. Hanson’s bored voice takes over. “last period you all had to write an analysis paper about money reductions out of schools. With this being said, I want--”

The door slowly creaks open and all eyes are on him. A boy who I know because I see him with Blake all the time. His name is Antonio Soriano.

“Mr. Soriano thank you for interrupting my lesson,” Mr. Hansan says coldly.

“No problem,” Antonio takes a seat in front of me.

I don’t mean to stare, but I end up doing it even as his back is facing me now. His face looks vaguely familiar, as if I’ve caught him at several locations before. That was stupid, I do see him at school, but I’ve seen him elsewhere. He had this soft look; this concerned really bothered soft look. From when I looked up and felt embarrassed for being trash, to when I threw up in front of his face.

Maybe Antonio was who I was looking at?

"What on earth are you doing here?”

“Trying to fit in for once in my life.”

“That’s unlike you.”

“What do you know about me?”

“Not much. Other than the fact that you’re cute.”

And then he smiled, taking a sip of his dark drink.

“...really cute.”

Antonio is a soft-spoken guy from what I’ve observed. Says very little, always has this easy-going look to him, not very hard to talk to at all. Maybe if he didn’t hang around Blake and his other gang member friends, I would cough up some nerve and try to pursue a friendship.

I’m interrupted in my thoughts again when Antonio taps my desk and whispers anonymously, “Hey, you got a pencil I can borrow?”

My cheeks burn red as I suddenly recall the second part of that conversation.

"Want to go upstairs and talk? It’s crammed down here.”

“Uh...I don’t know really...”

“Why are you so unsure all the time? Just live a little!”

“I don’t think I should be here.”

“Then why show up?”

"Please, I think I should leave...”

“Come upstairs with me.”

My chest tightens around the memory. This makes Antonio - soft-spoken Antonio - carefully ask, “Is everything okay?”

Maybe that wasn’t Antonio at all?

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