We talked for a while after I got my breath back; at nearly midnight we hung up due to needing to be up at six for school, even though school didn’t actually start until about eight; we both liked having some time to spare readying in the morning.
At school that morning, every kid in the lobby turned to look at me when I walked in. I hardly noticed. My attention was on the five-foot-eleven-inch black haired teen lost in a conversation with another male. My heart was pulling, trying to get me closer to him. He was unaware of the change in his surroundings; that focus was insanely attractive to me and I felt a desire to have him focus like that upon myself. This was followed by a massive guilt trip because how dare I actually want attention like that!
After about a minute of silence, just as I took a step towards my boyfriend, the heckling began which ended up being an oddly-harmonic chorus of voices yelling variations of:
“Ew, the fag is here.”
“Go home, you sick freak!”
“You deserve to die, you aids magnet, before you spread your fuck disease!”
Along with taunts such as:
“You want to suck my dick, pretty boy?”
“Bet you lay awake at night, rubbing one out to the thought of it being in my ass!”
“How sick do you gotta be to actually want ass?”
“Someone needs to send you to a conversion camp!”
You get the gist. My favorite one was the one telling me that Eli deserved better than a lowlife, bottom-of-the-barrel scum like me.
I was now frozen in place with my siblings standing behind me. I feared that if I moved a second time then the mob would attack. I looked back at Eli, and watched as a friend of his approached him. Whatever the friend said caused Eli to appear alarmed and then look right at me with adorable widened eyes. I felt an immediate pang of excitement in my stomach the second our gazes met. I also saw his expression soften despite the obvious stress he was feeling from the situation; he headed my way, kicking my heartbeat up quite a few notches. Many of his friends attempted to stop him, but he just pushed through, determined to reach me. Upon doing just that, he took my face in his hands and kissed me.
The lobby fell into a creepy, dead, you-could-hear-a-pin-drop silence.
Beyond that, I became lost in the kiss, which dragged for far longer than I realized it would. Those in the lobby just…watched (creepy, right?), based on how nobody said a thing.
When quiet murmurs started up again, Eli pulled away. My siblings, deciding I was safe now, left me to it, both heading towards their lockers. My gaze returned to him; I made a note that my main emotion was elation, although some confusion was there, too.
“Morning,” he said with a grin.
“G…g…uh…” Crap. I shook my head to try to clear it (not that that worked), and tried again: “Morning.”
His gaze turned an odd mixture of amused and concerned as he stroked my cheek.
“You okay?” He asked, his thumb stroking the cheek a little bit. My stomach quivered with excitement.
“Wh…what do you mean?” I asked, unsure if he meant me specifically, or the situation, or the kiss, or…
“Everything: the kids, the kiss…you just seem to be struggling a bit.”
Oh. He was right, of course.
“The kids I expected. You and your kiss I did not.”
Now he looked confused.
I attempted a steadying breath, but my body went right on being all kinds of excited (no, not like that…thankfully; last thing I needed was a boner).
“Well, you had to know I’d take the bulk of the bullying.”
His hand moved from my cheek to my arm, down my arm to my hand where his fingers then interlocked with mine. I struggled to keep my breathing even.
“Yeah…which is,” here he raised his voice, “STUPID OF THEM,” the outburst caught the attention of most of the students in the lobby, most of who looked disgusted. I wanted to smile but fought it. He continued: “So what, though?” He flinched immediately after saying that. “No, wait, I didn’t mean it like that. I just…what does that have to do with me?” Here he closed his eyes and sighed. “That sounds worse.” Upon his opening his eyes again, I found myself instantly getting lost in them. This time I didn’t fight the smile. He really was so very cute.
“I understand,” I assured him. “I just meant association with me…means they’ll bully you…or at least…try to pry you away from me. Either way, lots of drama, ’cos, ya know, I’m bottom-of-the-barrel scum and what not and anyway, my point is, I thought you’d avoid me today. I didn’t expect you to come over.”
“Okay, Luke,” he took my other hand, “you lis—”
Banging sounded on the doors behind me caught his attention. I looked, too, and realized we were blocking the way in, had been for a while (based on the size of the crowd out there). They’d waited, I assumed, because Eli was involved but I guess their patience had run out.
He led me to the side, partially in the hallway there.
I watched the kids stream in; each of them gave me a dirty look, quite a few flipped me off. There were a lot of them, so I was unaware that Eli wanted my attention until he grabbed my face and made me look at him. Instead of looking mad, he looked as if he found this to be highly attractive.
“Sorry,” I murmured.
He shook his head slightly, looking as if he was cherishing everything he saw. Of course this was ridiculous, but either way, he was stroking my cheeks again and, shocker, I loved it.
“Listen to me,” he said in a quiet, firm voice, “You are not bottom of the barrel scum. They’re teenagers, they’re idiots. Their juvenile brains can’t handle the very idea of being nice. It’s a foreign concept. And they’re dead ass wrong. They’re bullying you most likely out of jealousy more than anything else.
“Jealousy?” I echoed…yet I could understand that a little. “Well, I suppose…” I heard how that sounded and rushed to correct it. “No, I mean, of course, it makes sense…you’re very attractive…I just…”
“Didn’t want to sound like my looks were the reason you were into me,” he finished for me. “Luke, I get it. You don’t have to worry.” He rested his arms upon my shoulders as he moved in closer (and I assumed his wrists were crossed behind my head but I don’t have eyes back there so I can’t tell you for sure). He was so close; this seemed so real…yet it also seemed so much like a dream.
A voice in my head was insisting I was a damned fool to be interested in someone like him because he was massively out of my league. Why did I want to regress into pretending I didn’t like him?
“Luke,” his tone soothed me out of my troubling thoughts.
“Eli,” I replied automatically.
He broke out in a wide smile and let out a soft laugh.
“The reason I want you is precisely because you like me for me and not for my popularity or how I look. You’re not scum. You’re a treasure; hopefully mine.”
I would’ve asked him to marry me if I didn’t already know how insane that was. Words failing me now, I merely nodded at him. It may have only been a couple of days, but I knew I belonged with him. Something about him just comforted my soul. I felt like I was home.
“So. With that said. I was wondering if you’d wanna go out on a date tonight since...ya know...last night’s got ruined.”
As I opened my mouth to answer (obviously yes), his dad rounded the corner, and abruptly my entire everything froze.
“Luke?” Eli asked, but sounded faint, as if he was far from here. “Luke? Luke!” He tried snapping his fingers. Then he turned and saw what was freaking me out. “Dad?!”
His father spotted us mere seconds before Eli had uttered the word, and upon seeing me, hatred seeped into his gaze. He headed straight for us, and I suddenly felt like running. I didn’t, but I did move several feet away from Eli, who looked at me with utter confusion as I did so.
“Luke, what the hell are you doing?”
His father reached us, his attention solely on me. He pointed a finger at me.
“That’s damn right, you freak! You stay the fuck away from my son!”
“DAD!” Eli roared, grabbing not only my and his father’s attention but that of pretty much every being in the lobby. He [Eli] was furious and he launched right into it.
“Would you fucking stop it?! HE IS NOT A THREAT TO ME!”
Of course, his father was not one to back down from a challenge.
“I am your FATHER. I decide who is and isn’t a threat!”
“Yeah, if I was a fucking child! I’m eighteen god damn years old! I CAN FIGURE IT OUT MYSELF!”
The pair stood staring at each other with equal expressions of fury. After several minutes of high-tension silence, I watched as Eli’s breathing slowed, as his fists relaxed. His father, however, didn’t.
“How dare you speak to me that way? I let it slide in the hospital, thinking the pain had caused you to act out, but this is unacceptable!”
“Then maybe you should fucking listen to me, instead of trying to force me into being someone I’m not! Luke didn’t beat me up!”
“I can hear just fine, kid! He’s the reason you got beat up.”
“OH my fucking god! I ju…FUCK!” He started off towards the lobby, looking to get anywhere that was away from his father. He didn’t get far; his father caught his arm.
“You actually need to head with me to the principal’s office. We have some business to discuss.” Without waiting for Eli’s consent, his father tugged him down the hallway towards the main office. I watched, helpless in fear, and there I waited, to find out what was going on.