Jake Wesley wasn’t as tough as he appeared.
Oakleaf was so incredibly far from home, he might as well have moved to Australia. His accent was indistinguishable down south, and people merely laughed. They assumed he lived in a council house with an alcoholic Father and a pit bull. That’s what his voice and appearance suggested; the typical British chav.
It was partly true. But almost every student at Oakleaf came from deprived backgrounds, he wasn’t any different.
Him and Sebastian Steel were sat in his empty dorm room, glancing out at the starry night sky, sharing a hip flask as fiery vodka ran down their throats. “We’re gonna get outta here, Steel.” He said deliriously, the alcohol starting to work its way through his system.
Sebastian laughed, “How’re you planning on pulling that one off?”
“Let’s escape. Me and you, man.” Jake announced drunkenly.
“Yeah, dude, I can’t do that.”
“What? Why not?” He slurred — He’d drunken a lot more than Sebastian.
“You and Porter beat up my roommate.” He stated simply, taking another swig from the hip flask. “You can’t get away with that shit on the outside.”
“Ah, just...it was just a laugh, mate.” He said airily. “He’s fine. Still alive, ain’t he?”
“That’s not the point.”
“C’mon, Steel. He had like blue hair. Like...like blue."
Sebastian snorted, “You ever think about prison?” He asked lightly. “We say this place is as bad as it gets, but what if it isn’t? What if we get out and fuck up again? We’ve already used up our second chances.”
“It’s probably similar to this place without the bullshit lessons.”
“It’s not similar at all, Wesley.” Sebastian corrected. “It’s worse. Way worse.”
“Stop stressing. You’re not gonna end up there.” He laughed. “You’re gonna get out, find yourself a nice bird to settle down with and live a crime free life. Picture it now; barbecues, holidays, sex with your beautiful blonde wife while having an affair with your coworker. It’s the dream.”
“I’m gay, Wesley.” He deadpanned.
Jake stopped, his brows furrowing, his eyes darting back and forth as if trying to untangle a complicated calculation. “What’s it like having a dick up your arse then?”
Sebastian snorted, “Wouldn’t know, mate.”
“So, you’re not really gay.”
“I am.” He rolled his eyes.
“But I thought that’s what gay guys did?”
“Right, well, maybe I should get going.” Sebastian interrupted, downing one last gulp of vodka and taking off.
Benji had been avoiding Diesel at all costs over the past two days. He went to lessons, retired to his dorm at the end of the day and spoke to no one besides Lucky and Kit. His mind was spinning and a headache developed every time he tried to untangle the situation.
Benji was aware that him and Elias had nothing in common. He didn’t even know anything about the boy, other than the fact that he was Scottish and ran an illegal drug ring. And yet, he seemed to know everything about Benji. He knew about his Dad and how he ended up in Oakleaf, he knew he slit his wrists and spent the half term at someone else’s house to avoid his own abusive Father. He knew everything, and Benji knew nothing.
Besides, was it really the best idea to get involved with someone in this environment? They could never be a real couple who went on real dates and shared real moments. Everything was restricted in here. It was all false.
He couldn’t push down that nagging feeling of worthlessness either. Why would someone like Diesel ever be interested in him? It would be like his last relationship all over again; too good to be true. Boys like Diesel weren’t just attracted to boys like Benji, it was impossible. He had nothing to offer and soon enough, Diesel would realise that. Surely it was better to protect his mentality now, rather than pick up the pieces once Diesel broke him later.
But despite all of this, he just couldn’t ignore his feelings. They were there, existing within him, and no amount of logic could override desire. However much he wished to reject the idea that him and Diesel could never be more than friends, it was proving to be difficult.
He was attractive, with that messy hair and those mismatched eyes. His absent tie and tattered dr martens, his scruffy uniform and disobedience towards rules. He was Benji’s polar opposite. Someone who scoffed at authority rather than feared it. Someone who had the courage to order people to do things as opposed to the submissive nature of someone being bossed around. Diesel could use Benji so easily and Benji wouldn’t even question it; he was too used to people taking advantage of his good nature.
But Diesel didn’t do that. He tried to, but he didn’t. Benji was treated as an equal, a human being with a heart and a brain and a tragic backstory. Just like him.
And maybe, just maybe, Benji regretted pushing Diesel away; he should’ve kissed him back with everything he had.
While Diesel’s mind was corrupted with thoughts of Benji, a more pressing issue tugged at his conscience. Benji could wait, because right now, he needed his brother by his side.
He hadn’t seen Quinn properly since it happened. Quinn went to lessons, ate with his new ‘boyfriend’ and stayed in Samuels’ room until well past lights out. He’d slip into bed once he knew Diesel was already asleep, or at least thought he was asleep. Of course, Diesel couldn’t sleep, however hard he tried. There was too much on his mind, too many regrets and memories and words whirling through his brain. What he should have said, what he should have done. Now he had the chance to do those things and he was still stalling.
He needed to make things right.
“I don’t hate you.” Diesel murmured. Quinn had entered the room five minutes ago, changed into his pyjamas in total darkness and clambered into his bunk bed. “I was just surprised.”
Quinn stared up at the ceiling, his lip caught between his teeth, “I was scared to tell you.” He whispered back.
“I’d never judge you, Starr. You know that.”
“I-It’s the things you say, Diesel. Things that mean nothing to you but everything to me.” He replied shakily. He’d never gone so long without talking to Diesel before, it was like he’d forgotten how to. Sure, it’d only been two days, but he was his best mate and they lived together. It was weird. “How was I meant to know how accepting you are? We don’t talk about that stuff.”
“Well, I’m sorry.” He said honestly. “I should’ve talked to you sooner, Quinn. But I don’t care who you are, as long as you never stop being my best friend. And being totally honest, I was more surprised to see you getting off with Samuels than the fact that you’re gay.”
Quinn smiled lightly to himself, feeling relief settle over his body. “So, you really don’t care?”
Diesel sighed heavily, “I’m gonna be keeping a close eye on Samuels and if he tries anything, I’m gonna bash his skull in. But...no. No, I don’t care, Quinn.”
They both jumped when they heard an erratic knock on the door, as if the knocker was desperate and heavy with their fists. “We expecting someone...?” Quinn frowned.
Diesel shuffled around in the sheets and slipped out of bed to pull the door open. Benji was stood on the other side, wearing loose pyjamas and an oversized jumper, his hair messy and unkempt. “I...I couldn’t sleep.” He admitted tiredly.
Then he wrapped his arms around the back of Diesel’s neck and pulled his face down to his, standing on his tiptoes until their lips meet. It was short, sweet and quick, before the Pup pulled back and whispered, “Okay. Okay, maybe I like you too.”