"Tell me again." Evie demanded.
"I thought I was losing my mind, but no. He's really there." I muttered almost psychotically.
"Calm down. You haven't lost your mind." Evie reassured me.
I put my hands in front of me and inhaled. "You know what,"
"He's probably just moved here and is just in our third block and it's my first time noticing him." I theorized.
"This is my first time seeing him." Evie interjected. I frowned.
"Oh! I mean- he's probably been there all along and I'm just noticing too!" She tried to mend the situation.
I ran my fingers through my hair. I closed my eyes and released all the stress with one sigh.
"We'll just go about our day. Come on. The bell's about to ring." I said. We’d been standing by the bathrooms outside the cafeteria waiting for the school day to end.
We walked to the bus lot and stood at the end of the walkway before branching off.
"So what are you doing this weekend?" Evie asked.
"Not much." I replied while slowly kicking my feet.
"Well, let's hang out on Saturday." She suggested.
"Let's video chat tonight to decide on something." Evie said as she started to walk to her bus.
I nodded and walked to my bus.
Later that night I sat at my desk video-chatting with Evie.
"So maybe an amusement park?" She suggested.
"Too hot. Too expensive." I responded.
"What about a movie?"
"Which one?" I asked.
"Any is fine." Evie said.
"I'll text you some suggestions later." I said.
"How are we getting there?" Evie asked.
"My parents work on weekends." I do not ever want Evie to meet my parents.
"Ok. I'll ask my parents." Evie informed me.
"My mom keeps giving these to me!" She held up a magazine with girls my age wearing skimpy clothes on the cover.
"I guess she doesn't like this stuff and gives it to me. I don't like it either." Evie stated.
She showed me a page. "Here! Take a peek!"
I turned my head away. Disinterested.
I heard Evie giggle.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
I turned my head to the screen. "I don't like those things."
"Why not?" She asked.
"I'm gay. Gay! There I said it!" I said somewhat loudly, I might add.
"Oh. That's...nice?" Evie drawled. I looked down.
I’m afraid she doesn't want to be my friend anymore.
"Well, I've never had a gay friend before." She stated.
I looked at her.
"It's okay, Luc, it is." Evie smiled.
I smiled too. Then I dropped it.
"Oh dude, that's messed up." I heard Winn's voice.
I spun around in my chair.
Sure enough, he was standing in the threshold of my room.
He got a bit giddy. "Ooh, wait ‘til Mom finds out!"
He ran off.
"Hey!" I yelled after him.
"Luc?" Evie questioned.
I slammed the lid of my laptop and ran out of the room after Winn.
No, no, no! Chet's down there!
"Winn stop!" I yelled; in vain, of course.
I ran down the stairs.
"He's gay!" I heard Winn say.
"What?" I heard Monique say.
I burst into the kitchen.
"He's lying!" I shouted to Monique.
Chet jumped into the conversation.
"Bitch! You're supposed to know this shit!"
"How am I supposed to know?"
"You're a woman!"
"Oh right. Hang on."
Monique touched my forehead.
"Boop!" She showed her palm to Chet.
"Oh look! He's gay!"
"Are you fucking kidding me? We’re fostering a fucking faggot?!"
He came over to me. I took a few steps back.
"Please..." I pleaded.
"What the fuck is the matter with you?" Chet seethed.
Great. Not only do I live with assholes, but homophobic assholes.
"I can't help it..." I cowered.
"We should send him back to that foster home!" Chet told Monique.
God. Please, no.
"But, won't you lose the money you make for keeping me?" I asked. Why did I ask that? What's wrong with me?!
"I didn't ask for your input, faggot!" Chet roared.
I backed away rapidly. Chet grabbed my arms.
"Please...I didn't make it this way..."
Nothing I said could shake that furious face. I knew what came next. And you do too.
Along came Saturday. Finally. Evie and I walked outside the movie theatre, after the movie was over.
Evie held the popcorn bag to her chest and picked from it every now and again.
"So..." She started.
"So..." I responded.
"What happened with your brother the other night?" She asked.
I froze up mentally.
I put my hand on my lower back, trying to hide the burns -- even though they are hidden by my shirt.
I shook my head and lied. "Nothing really. My parents actually took it a lot better than I thought. So, I guess the jokes on him."
Evie smiled. "That's good. Really good. It's so cool you have an accepting family."
I slowed down a bit and ended up behind Evie.
"Listen Evie, about my home life..." I started.
She stopped and turned to me.
"What about it?" She asked. She's looking at me, with those eyes. Those damned innocent eyes.
I looked at the ground. "Nothing."
"Let's just go." I said. We piled in the Jensin’s car and Evie’s mom drove me home.
"Bye, Luc." Mrs. Jensin called.
"Bye, thank you!" I smiled.
"Bye." Evie said.
I waved to her and watched them leave.
No, don't go. I have abusive parents and siblings in there.
I looked up at the darkening sky. Such a big sky. I wish I could fly away to it.
"Who was that?" Winn asked from the window when I walked in.
I just walked past him.
"What? Still mad at me?" He teased.
I rolled my eyes and made it to my room.
I closed the door and took off my shirt. I patted my lower back and winced. I dove for a worn t-shirt and put it on.
There was a ping from my laptop.
"New Message from: Evie." It read.
I clicked it.
"Had fun this afternoon! :)" It said.
I looked at the message. Fun. If only I wasn't afraid to do that whenever I wanted.