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Chapter 9

“I don’t want to talk about him,” I grumbled and he sighed.

“Elliot, you can’t ignore that you have feelings for him,” Caleb sighed and I stayed silent. I was adamant on not talking about him. “You know we need to talk about it. You can’t keep beating yourself up for liking Atlas. He’s a guy, so what?”

“Caleb, you wouldn’t understand. So please just drop it,” I pulled on a loose string on the blanket.

“You don’t think I would understand what it feels like to have a homophobic parent? Why do you think my dad left?,” he said angrily and I stayed silent as he spoke. “When I came out, my dad told me he refused to have a gay son and made my mom choose between kicking me out or losing him. I know what it feels like to be afraid of losing family just because of sexuality. Most of my family thinks it’s either disgusting, sinful, or a phase. So please, don’t tell me that bullshit.” He had tears on his cheeks and I quickly pulled him to me. He gripped into my shirt tightly as he cried on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around him and held him close to my body. His legs were wrapped around my waist since he was sitting on my lap, and I felt a warmth in my chest.

It felt right. I liked that I could be this close with someone who understood me completely and accepted me for who I am.

Drew was a great friend, but I wasn’t sure if I could ever be this close with him. I didn’t even know how he would feel about me not being straight. Part of me wanted to tell him, but I didn’t want to risk losing that friendship with him. He was like a brother to me and I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing a look of disgust on his face.

“Thank you, Elliot,” Caleb sniffled as he stopped crying.

I squeezed him a little tighter and said, “You’re welcome. I’m always here for you.” He nuzzled my neck with his nose and sighed.

“I’m sorry Atlas is being such an asshole right now. He isn’t usually like this,” he muttered.

“It isn’t your fault. You’re right, I need to stop being so jealous and get my shit together. If he is happy then I should be happy for him. I should give Matt a chance and get to know him,” I rubbed my hands up and down his back.

He pulled away from me and looked at me for a second before holding his hand up to my forehead.

“What are you doing?,” I asked him with a chuckle.

“Just making sure you are feeling alright,” he smiled and I rolled my eyes. “Does that mean you are going to stop avoiding us now?”

“Yeah,” I sighed and already wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow.

“It will be alright,” he kissed me on the cheek and I could feel myself blush a little.

Did I seriously just blush? What was wrong with me?

I spent a few more hours at Caleb’s house talking and cuddling some more. I knew I should have felt uncomfortable with cuddling him, but I loved having him in my arms. It felt good holding him and I wasn’t sure why. I decided not to dwell on the thought.

I went home after having dinner at his house and noticed how much better I felt after our talk. I felt lighter, and I loved the feeling.

That feeling disappeared once I got home though. My mom was in the kitchen washing dishes and called me in there as soon as she heard the door.

“So, I heard something interesting today,” she started and I noticed the unhappy look on her face. I stayed quiet and waited for her to continue. I felt anxious and nervous. “Elliot, when were you going to tell me Atlas is gay? You know how I feel about those people!”

I could feel anger rising in me.

“How does his sexuality affect you in any way?”

“I don’t want him turning you gay! He is disgusting and I don’t want that to rub off on you!”

“That isn’t how that works, mom. Gay people can’t just turn other people gay. It isn’t some kind of sickness that can just be passed from one person to another,” I snapped at her and she looked at me as if I grew two heads.

“You’re a fag too, aren’t you?!,” she yelled and I could fee the rage boiling inside me.

“The word is gay, mom. I’m not gay, but that shouldn’t matter even if I was! I am your son! He is my friend and I don’t want to hear you talking about him like that!”

“I don’t want you to be around that boy anymore. He is clearly a bad influence on you,” she snapped and I rolled my eyes.

“He’s my friend. I’m not going to just cut him out of my life just because you and dad don’t approve of his sexuality,” I glared.

“You’re grounded. Now, give me your car keys and your phone,” she held her hands out and I scoffed.

“No! I’m almost eighteen and I bought my car with my own money. I paid for my own phone, too! You have no right taking my things from me!,” I yelled back and her face got red from being so angry.

“You live under my roof, and you will obey my rules! Give me your keys and phone, now!,” she demanded and I shook my head.

“Who he is attracted to doesn’t effect you in any way. Why does it even matter so much?,” I asked her.

“It is disgusting and wrong,” she answered, “I will be telling hour father about this when he gets home later.”

“You go ahead and do that. It won’t change a thing,” I responded and walked up the stairs to my room. I locked the door behind me and immediately called the one person I knew I could count on more than anyone.

“Elliot? You just left my house. What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“Caleb, I don’t know what to do,” I began and explained to him what happened. Halfway through telling him, tears began spilling down my cheeks.

I felt better after telling him, but I couldn’t shake the fear inside me away.

My dad shares the same beliefs as my mom and I’ll be honest, he scares me when he is angry.

I’m afraid of what he will do after my mom talks to him.
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