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Chapter 8

The next morning I didn’t stop at Atlas’s house to pick him up.

I’m a bother, remember?

He probably wants nothing to do with me anyways.

I spent most of the day avoiding everyone, to be honest. Drew was busy with his football friends because of their upcoming game and he didn’t notice my change in behavior.

Caleb managed to corner me before my last class started though.

“Where’ve you been all day?,” he asked.

“Around,” I simply answered and he rolled his eyes.

“Why are you avoiding everyone?”

“This sounds like an interrogation,” I pointed out and he shook his head with a small smile.

“It’s not. I’m just worried about you.”

“Worried? Why?,” I asked confused. Nobody has ever really checked up on me before. I have always had to just figure it out on my own.

“Elliot, this isn’t a conversation we should have here. I know you would want this to stay between us where nobody can hear us. How about you come over to my house after school and we can talk and hang out?,” he offered and I thought about it for a moment. I had a feeling it was going to be a long, emotional, and difficult talk and knew he was right. This wasn’t the place to have that kind of talk.

“Alright. I’ll let my mom know and you can meet me at my car. We can just go straight there if that’s okay?,” he nodded and gave me a smile.

“Yeah, sounds good. I’ll see you later,” he said and we parted ways. As I walked to my classroom, I sent my mom a text saying I was going to a friends house after school to work on school work and that I would probably be home late. I knew she couldn’t know what was actually going on in my life, so I told her what I knew she wouldn’t say no to. She has always seen school as important and wants me to get straight A+’s. For me, that isn’t possible. I’m not dumb, but I’m not as dedicated as she wants me to be. I make sure I pass my classes, but I don’t get upset when I get a B on a test. She does. She puts way too much pressure on me and it somehow causes my grades to slip sometimes. I think it’s the stress.

The teacher tried lecturing me about how being on time to class was important, but he gave up once he realized I wasn’t going to respond to him. I wasn’t trying to look like a ‘bad boy’ or anything like that. I just really didn’t care. He was a shitty teacher anyways. I always ended up teaching myself the shit anyways.

I ignored Atlas and Matt in the hall when I was about to leave. My eyes wanted to stray over to them but once I saw them exchange a kiss, I did my best to pretend like they don’t exist.

I was a bother to him anyways and would only cause him and Matt problems. The desire I felt to be around him was drowned out by the pain I still felt. Every time I would even think about him, all I could think about was what he said yesterday.

In his eyes I only caused trouble. He probably regrets meeting me that night at the party. It’s probably best if I just stayed away. If not to please him, then for my mental health. I knew feeling this way wasn’t good. I knew the sadness and pain was morphing into a different feeling and I knew it wasn’t good.

By the time I got to my car, I was already feeling like shit about myself. In less than a few minutes, I had gone from feeling fine to feeling like absolute shit. Maybe it was a good thing I was going to spend time with Caleb.

“Hey, you okay?,” he asked me as we got inside my car.

“Lets just talk at your house,” was my answer. He was quiet after that. He looked to be deep in thought as I drove, so I didn’t say anything.

The drive felt too short. We immediately went right up to his room and dropped our bags onto the floor. We both took off our shoes and we sat across from each other on the bed.

“First, I want to talk about yesterday. What Atlas said was out of line. You aren’t a bother or trouble. I want you to know that,” he started.

“Are you sure? I feel like I am. I’ve only caused him trouble since we met,” I responded and he rolled his eyes.

“It isn’t your fault though. You can’t control that your parents are conservative. You’re scared. I don’t know what I would do if my mom was like that. My dad left as soon as I came out, but my mom has always been supportive. It’s okay to be scared. It’s how you handle it that matters,” he said. I didn’t know what to say. His dad left? I felt so sorry for him in that moment, but I could see from his facial expression that he wanted to continue the conversation and didn’t want to talk about his dad.

“As much as I want to deny it still, I think I need to say it out loud,” I started and he nodded and scooted closer to me. I could feel a lump in my throat forming and tears were stinging my eyes already.

“Take your time. I know it’s hard admitting to yourself and even hard saying it for the first time,” he said softly.

“I’m not straight. I’ve done some research and I’m,” I paused and took a deep breath, “I-I’m p-pansexual,” I finally said and burst into tears. I began sobbing and he pulled me into his arms. I never knew until now just how emotional it all was.

I couldn’t stop the tears from falling and it felt like I had cried for at least an hour. It was probably only twenty minutes top, but it felt like an eternity as I let it all pour out.

I was gripping onto his shirt tightly, and felt so grateful to have met Caleb. If I hadn’t met him, I probably would have gone through this alone.

After this, I knew I could consider Caleb one of my best friends. I still felt like Drew was my best friend because he’s been through a lot with me, but my friendship with Caleb was different. I felt like after this I could completely trust him and knew he was here to help me through this.

I was so lucky to have him in my life.

Once I stopped crying, he said the one thing I wanted more than anything to not talk about.

“I think now it’s time to talk about Atlas,” he said and I groaned.
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