13. Maniac Monday
"I'll be late home today." Lucas told his dad as he collected his bag. "After choir rehearsal I have Cheer practice and Coach Kennester usually works us pretty hard and late."
"Yeah Lucas, I remember what it was like when you were on the cheer-squad last year." James pointed out. "I'm taking Stacy out tonight anyway so I'll probably be late myself. Are you ok to fix your own dinner, buddy?"
"That's fine." Lucas nodded. "I'll probably eat with Lizzy and Ruth. Take it easy today and don't stay out too late."
"Hey, I'm the parent." James reminded him. "I don't know when I'll be back tonight so make sure you get to bed at a reasonable hour."
"I will, dad, I will." Lucas replied squeezing his shoulder as he moved past him and headed out the front door.
He stopped at the Knight house to pick up Lizzy and drove her to school. The girl was in high spirits that morning, talking happily about an art project she had been working on.
"Lulu?" She asked as he pulled up outside her school. "Jensen will be coming home soon won't he?"
"I hope so." Lucas answered reaching out to tuck her hair behind her ears. "It depends how well he behaves this week. If he's good this week then he'll be let out at the weekend. If not, then he'll be away for a little bit longer."
Her face fell a little, her happy mood seeming to deflate.
"Jensen's hardly ever good." Lizzy sighed. "They'll probably have him there forever."
"Hey, don't say that." Lucas told her. "Have a little faith in your big brother, Liz. He might surprise you. He certainly surprises me all the time. Just you wait, Little Lady, he'll be back home by this weekend. I'm sure of it." He smiled confidently but Lizzy still didn't look fully convinced.
"I don't want to go to school today." Lizzy pouted. "I have a funny feeling in my stomach."
"Lizzy, you have to go to school." Lucas said sternly. "Don't try to pull the fake illness trick."
"I'm not sick," Lizzy replied. "I just have a bad feeling. I don't think you should go to school. Let's just have the day off. We could have a picnic, or go to the movies, or to the pool. Let's just have fun today, you and me. Please?"
"I'll take you out somewhere Friday after school." Lucas said. "How does that sound?"
"No, I want to spend the day together today." Lizzy insisted. "Something bad will happen if you go to school. You should stay with me so I can look after you."
"Lizzy, honey, nothing bad is going to happen." Lucas assured her. "Now come on, your friends are over there. Go and play with them."
"But Lulu…" Lizzy tried.
"No, you're going to school and that's final." Lucas interrupted. "Now hurry up before you make us both late."
"Fine." Lizzy grumbled moodily as she climbed out the car and stomped off.
As Lucas watched her walk towards her friends, he made a mental note to buy her a pair of sensible heels and teach her how to walk like a lady. The prowl she had was far too similar to her older brother.
Driving on to Beach High, Lucas fiddled with the music, searching for a song he was in the mood to listen to.
Parking his car in the school lot, Lucas glanced at his reflection in the mirror and smoothed out his bangs. Grabbing hold of his bag strap, he exited the car and hitched it onto his shoulder. Ensuring that his car was locked, he walked gracefully up to the school entrance.
As soon as he set foot into the building, he sensed that something was wrong. People were looking at him, pointing and laughing as they whispered with their neighbours.
He knew they couldn't be laughing at his outfit choice. The skinny jeans, silky shirt and waistcoat combination was a fairly low-key ensemble by his standards.
"He did it with the entire swim team." A girl whispered to the group she was with.
Pausing in his steps, Lucas twisted so he was looking right at them and they all avoided eye-contact.
"Ladies and gentleman," he said stepping closer to the group. "If I may… I couldn't help but overhear your little discussion and I find myself to point out that our school doesn't even have a swim team. Therefore it is highly unlikely that I did it with them all."
Turning on his heel, Lucas continued on his way.
"It was the swim team from Sunnydale High." The girl said and Lucas rolled his eyes as he caught the whisper before reaching his locker.
Stopping in front of the metal cabinet, he felt his cheeks burn with embarrassment as he saw the picture that had been taped to his locker door. It was a picture of himself crawling across the floor back from their 'Push It' number in the first assembly they did.
He tried to rip the picture down but the sticky tape had been placed all over making it a chore to get it down.
"Lucas, dude, I'm sorry." Dean apologised coming up to Lucas with a stack of the pictures. "These things are everywhere, pinned on the notice board, in the bathrooms, the locker rooms, the gym and the cafeteria. A couple of the hockey jocks have been handing them out to people and printing more off. We're trying to get them all down but there's just so many."
"It isn't your fault." Lucas told him quietly giving up on removing the picture from his locker and opening it to put his things away.
"Coach Kennester and Miss Blake are looking through the camera footage now." Dean replied.
"Wonderful." Lucas sighed. "Did you hear the rumour about me sleeping with the entire swim team of another school?" Lucas asked.
"Yeah," Dean admitted sympathetically. "Among others."
"What did you hear?" Lucas asked taking the books he needed for his first two classes then shutting his locker.
"There are still rumours about us," Dean answered. "And I'm starting to hear more about you and Jake, you and Brent and you and Benny. There was also one about you and a Mr. Ryerson."
"Oh that is beyond repulsive." Lucas commented. "If the student body insists on creating a false whorish reputation for me they could at least give me a decent taste in my choice of conquests. Any others I should know about?"
"You and Jane's dads." Dean told him and they both winced. "You also had an affair with Mr. Blake last year which resulted in his divorce. Apparently you have girl parts and you can get pregnant."
"Now that is taking ridiculous to a whole new level." Lucas said taking one of the papers from Dean's hands. "Look at this, obviously this isn't actually my body, but do you see any sign of the female anatomy here? No. Some people are such Neanderthals. The lack of intelligence is alarming and offensive."
He threw the picture into the trash can and Dean dumped the load in his arms along with it.
"Lucas, there is one more rumour I heard." Dean said looking a little reluctant.
"Tell me." Lucas ordered bracing himself for what he was going to hear.
"People are saying that you… abused Josh in the locker room." Dean whispered.
"You cannot be serious." Lucas scoffed and Dean shrugged a little awkwardly. "When did my life become so insane? That troll is the one stalking me, not the other way around. As if I could force Josh into anything anyway, look at the size of me compared to him. He's the tree trunk and I'm just a twig. Surely people can't actually believe such a ridiculous rumour… right?"
"I'm sorry, Lucas." Dean told him sincerely. "But a lot of people at this school have a bad attitude towards homosexuality. They think that people like… people like you… are out to convert any guy you can. Smart people will know it isn't true, but most people here aren't smart. The homophobes will believe it. Just… stick close to me ok. You shouldn't be alone. If the likes of Zack find you on your own then you'll get your ass kicked and if Josh finds you… I don't know. Just stay with me."
On the way to first period, they met up with Molly, Tatia and Elena. The three girls were all carrying heaps of the pictures that they threw into the trash.
"Sue had all the cheerleaders help take them down." Elena said. "If we haven't got them all down yet then we will before first period is over."
"Adam and Cameron were the assholes printing hundreds of them off." Tatia said. "Coach Skyler caught them and gave them a serious grilling before hauling them off to Gilligen's office. They won't be printing anymore now."
"The photo doesn't even do you justice, Lucas." Molly said. "I know your man-piece is much bigger than that."
"Thanks, Molly. That's sweet." Lucas replied before they entered the classroom.
Silence greeted them as they made their way to their seats before gossip broke out. The teacher tried half-heartedly to settle the students down and teach the lesson but wasn't very successful.
"I'm really sorry about all this." Lucas sighed making a conscious effort not to sit too close to Dean or make physical contact.
"Hey, don't worry about it." Dean replied. "As soon as we can prove that Josh is the instigator of all of this bullshit and get him out of this school everything will die down. It'll be fine, trust me."
"Are you ok, Lucas?" Molly asked softly, pausing in her task of colouring rainbows.
"I'll manage." Lucas answered. "I just wish Jensen was here."
"I don't know who that is." Molly responded. "But I wish Knight was back. He'd make everything ok."
For the remainder of the school day, Lucas was escorted from class to class by Dean and Coach Kennester.
Coach Kennester, Miss Blake and Coach Skyler all prowled which ever corridor Lucas's classroom was in to ensure that nothing happened.
At lunch, the choir members squeezed into Miss Blake's office so that they could eat there rather than have Lucas face the rest of the student body in the cafeteria.
As Dean, Jane, Laura and Coach Kennester accompanied Lucas to his locker; he made another attempt to remove the picture that had been taped there.
"Out of the way, Porcelain." Sue instructed and she easily tore the photo down as if it were a band aid.
After walking Lucas to his next class, Dean departed their company and headed alone to his own lesson.
Throughout the day, all of Lucas's lessons seemed to last longer than usual and his current class was no exception.
Lesson over, Lucas allowed Jane and Laura to steer him to his next class, Sue a few steps ahead of them shoving people out of their way. A funny feeling entered his stomach and he tried to analyse what it meant.
"Wait, why isn't Dean here?" Lucas asked.
"His lesson was two floors above us." Jane pointed out.
"But he said he'd meet us." Lucas told her.
"I'll see where he's at." Laura said taking out her phone and calling Dean. "He didn't answer." Laura told them. "It just went to voicemail."
"Coach Kennester, I think something's wrong." Lucas said.
"You misfits get to class," Sue replied. "I'll find Macaulay Culkin." She set off in search of the blonde boy, Miss Blake accompanying her while Coach Skyler roamed the hallway up and down to make sure nothing bad happened to Lucas.
"I don't like this." Lucas whispered to the two girls as they found their seats.
"Maybe he just stopped to use the restroom." Jane suggested.
"Nobody's seen him." Laura said looking down at her phone. She had texted the other choir members hoping to hear something about Dean's whereabouts.
"I can't stay here." Lucas said standing up and grabbing his things, ignoring the teacher telling him to sit back down. "If something's wrong then it's my fault."
"Lucas, you shouldn't…" Jane began as Laura got up to join the countertenor who was halfway out of the classroom.
"I have to find Dean." Lucas replied.
"That's right, Benson, go and fuck your new boyfriend." One of the jocks jeered earning a death glare from Laura.
"Mr. Benson, Miss Jones, Miss Bright, get back in your seats at once." The teacher ordered.
"Go to hell." Laura retorted as Lucas led the way out of the door.
"I'm very sorry, sir." Jane called on her way out after her two friends. "I'll perform a song next class as an apology." She promised before closing the classroom door then jogging to catch up to Lucas and Laura, Coach Skyler following after them demanding to know where they were going.
It wasn't clear what happened, but it had happened in the gym. Coach Kennester and Miss Blake were already there when Lucas, Laura, Jane and Coach Skyler went to investigate.
"Oh my Barbara." Jane exclaimed covering her mouth in shock when she saw the state both Dean and Zack were in.
"Children, its ok, just remain calm." Miss Blake told them as she moved in front of the two teens as though trying to block them from view.
"No, I'm not leaving." Lucas replied stubbornly moving past her and kneeling by Dean along with the Cheerleading Coach. "What happened, what did you do to him?" He asked glaring at Zack.
"Lucas," Laura said his name gently as she stared at Zack who rocking back and forth. "He didn't do this."
"Dean?" Lucas asked. "Can you hear me?"
"Don't move him," Sue warned when Lucas made to touch the blonde boy. "You might cause further injury."
"He's losing a lot of blood." Lucas commented.
"He's going to be fine." Sue insisted as she kept pressure on the wound to Dean's stomach.
"The ambulance, I can hear the ambulance," Miss Blake said. "I'll go meet them and lead them back here." She rushed away, her heels clicking with each step.
"Zack?" Laura asked tentatively crouching in front of the large boy. Although he bore a few grazes and what appeared to be a hurt ankle, he didn't look to be seriously injured.
"I've never seen him like that." Zack muttered. "I tried to help. Tried to stop it. I tried to help. Tried to stop it. I tried to help. Tried to stop it."
He continued to repeat the same phrases under his breath, still rocking his body back and forth.
As Miss Blake returned with the paramedics behind her, a low moan of pain passed through Dean's lips. Lucas watched on helplessly as the boy was tended to and placed onto a stretcher before being wheeled out.
"I want to go with Dean." Lucas said but Coach Kennester wouldn't allow it.
Miss Blake rode in the ambulance with the two students instead and Coach Kennester instructed Jane to report to the Receptionist and have her contact both boys' parents.
"I'm taking you back to class then I'm reporting this attack to Gilligen." Coach Kennester told them before leading Lucas and Laura away from the gym.
"Coach Kennester," Laura said looking down at her phone in dismay. "Benny just text me."
"Get to the point Aretha." Coach Kennester told her impatiently.
"There won't be any footage. All of the cameras were disabled earlier today." Laura explained.
"Damn it." Coach Kennester complained.
"What the hell is actually going on here?" Coach Skyler questioned looking between them all.
"I'll explain on the way." Coach Kennester told her. "But we still need to go and terrify Gilligen into actually doing something."
"You kids get to class." Coach Skyler said and Lucas and Laura reluctantly returned to their classroom just as Jane appeared round the corner having returned from the Receptionists office.
"We should tell the others." Jane said quietly as they reclaimed their seats after a small lecture from the teacher. "Elena first."
"I'll do it." Laura replied sending the texts on her phone.
"Do you think it was Josh?" Jane asked.
"Who else would it be?" Lucas asked darkly.
"He can't possibly get away with this." Jane said vehemently. "Zack was there too, he'll speak up about what happened. He has to."
"Didn't you hear the guy earlier?" Laura asked rhetorically. "He was hardly making sense. I don't think he'll be talking straight for a while. Whatever happened in that gym seriously put his mind in a funk."
"I want Jensen." Lucas sighed.
Choir and Cheerleading practice were both cancelled that day.
After putting Lizzy to bed, Lucas entered Jensen's bedroom and grabbed one of his shirts from the wardrobe. He pulled it on over his own clothing before making his goodbyes to Ruth and driving home.
He slipped into bed wearing only his underwear and Jensen's shirt. After the C.D finished, Lucas became aware of a tapping on his window.
Stepping back, he struggled to get his breathing under control. He then realised the tapping sound was merely the raindrops hitting the window pane.
Unable to sleep, he grabbed his quilt and headed upstairs to the living-room. He turned the T.V on and curled up on the sofa waiting for his dad to return home.