5. Uncomfortable encounters
Normally, the wearing of his boyfriend's clothing was something Lucas limited to the inside of his or Jensen's house.
He indulged in his usual morning chat with Laura by their lockers before she left with Sakura in one direction and he headed with Jane in another.
As Josh got closer, he brushed past Lucas. Not a rough shove like Lucas was used to; it was more of a caress of their bodies.
"Lucas?" Jane asked in confusion after Josh walked on, still looking at Lucas over his shoulder. "What was that?"
"Nothing." Lucas sighed as he gave an involuntary shudder.
"It didn't look like nothing." Jane objected falling in to step with him as he moved on at a brisk pace.
"Clearly I've been correct all along." Lucas told her. "The majority of males that pollute our society really are inferior with their minds so underdeveloped they act out animal-like behaviours."
"Lucas, what aren't you telling me?" Jane pestered him as they arrived at their classroom.
"There are plenty of things I'm not telling you." Lucas responded. "For example, I've managed to contain my opinions on your hideous outfit as well as sparing your feelings by opting not to point out how much more talented I am than you. I choose not to tell you about the happenings between Jensen and myself when we have private moments and I haven't felt it necessary to voice all the insults I could throw at your boyfriend and I could go on with an incredibly long list of things I don't tell you. Oh, but just so you know… I totally threw the diva-off. I can hit the high F in my sleep."
"You don't have to be mean." Jane replied quietly. "I just want to help."
"Well I didn't ask for your assistance." Lucas pointed out.
"Fine." Jane huffed before sitting down at the front of the room while Lucas moved to a seat near the window.
As he took down the class notes, Lucas wondered how long it would be before Jane talked to the other choir members about Josh's sudden need to smell him.
To Lucas's surprise, the first person to talk to him about the Josh situation was Mr. Blake. The curly-haired teacher called him into his office during morning break and asked him what was happening.
"Josh told me what happened this morning." Mr. Blake explained. "Is it true that Josh was sniffing you?" He asked.
Lucas just nodded silently as he sat on the wooden chair, one leg crossed over the other.
"Do you have any idea way?" Mr. Blake asked.
"Because he's psychologically unhinged." Lucas suggested making Mr. Blake frown in disapproval.
"Lucas, if you want me to help you then you need to tell me what's going on." Mr. Blake said gently.
"And when have I ever asked for your help?" Lucas retaliated. "When have I ever asked any teacher for help? Never, and do you know why that is?" He asked not waiting for the choir coach to provide an answer. "Because none of you care. At least not enough to actually do something."
"Hey, that's not true." Mr. Blake told him. "I care about all of you choir kids, you're like my children."
"Well no offence Mr. Blake but you don't make for a very good father figure." Lucas said not having the energy to feel guilty or apologetic at the hurt expression that crossed the Spanish teacher's features. "You clearly favour Jane and Brent."
"Lucas, don't make this about who gets the solos in the choir." Mr. Blake chided. "As your director I keep an open mind and I choose who is better suited for which songs so that we can perform to the best of our ability at competitions."
"Of course, how could I ever question your judgement?" Lucas replied bitterly. "Having Jane and Brent sing every duet while the rest of us sway in the background is obviously the reason we performed so well at Regionals last year. Our last place victory truly was a wonderful moment for all of us."
"That is enough." Mr. Blake snapped raising his voice and Lucas merely rolled his eyes. "I am your teacher and you need to drop this bad attitude and show me some respect."
"Respect, of course," Lucas replied dryly. "Because it's so respectful how the teachers at this school turn a blind eye to the bullying I endure. It doesn't matter if I get shoved into a locker or show up to class covered in slushie and who cares if a few homophobic slurs are hissed at me during classes? The teachers certainly don't."
"I do." Mr. Blake insisted.
"Not enough to do anything about it." Lucas said. "For years you simply walked past when I was surrounded by jocks at the dumpster even though you knew they weren't really my friends and that I was about to be thrown in. But you never stopped them. I'd show up late to your lesson with wrinkled clothing and garbage in my hair, sometimes even with a cut or bruise but you did nothing. So please, don't insult me by pretending that you care."
"You know what, Lucas; I think Jensen's been a bad influence on you." Mr. Blake spoke up from his desk and Luacs gripped the door handle tightly as he tried to reign in his mounting anger.
"You're hardly a model citizen, Mr. Blake." Lucas countered. "I know that you bribed Brent into joining the club, and your ex-wife might have been insane but it wasn't fair to her for you to be practically cheating on her with Miss Blake. And Jensen isn't a bad influence on me. You all say he's a trouble maker but you never bother to sit down and talk to him and find out what's wrong. You pass judgement, write him off as problem child and don't even try to help. The only reason you're even talking to me right now is because of Jane. She and Brent are the only ones you really listen to."
"Lucas," Mr. Blake sighed before he could leave. "I'm listening now. I'm sorry I've been neglectful to some of you. Let me make things right and be here for you now. Sit down, please."
As Lucas looked out through the rectangular window in the door, watching some of the other students milling by, many of whom had bullied him in the past, some who had been bullied themselves, and others who had witnessed acts of bullying only to ignore it, he was really tempted to leave Mr. Blake alone in his office feeling guilty. However, he knew in his heart that such a thing would be completely childish and he was more mature than that. Letting out a puff of air, Lucas swept back to the chair and reclaimed his seat.
"Thank you." Mr. Blake said leaning on his elbows on his desk. Lucas just shrugged waiting for something more to be said. "How bad are things with Josh?"
"It's nothing I can't handle until Jensen gets back." Lucas told him. "He's just… I don't know… troubled."
"So perhaps Josh needs some help." Mr. Blake mused. "Maybe I can talk to him, warn him to leave you alone."
"If he thinks I squealed on him that'll only make things worse." Lucas sighed. "You were in high school once; surely you remember what it was like."
"Just leave it to me, Lucas." Mr. Blake said. "I'll talk to Josh; see if there's something troubling him. I won't even mention you. It'll be fine, trust me."
"Whatever." Lucas mumbled. "May I be excused now?"
"Yeah, yeah get to class." Mr. Blake nodded and Lucas took his leave.
As he made his way to his next period, he couldn't help but feel resentful over the fact Mr. Blake had been so fast to offer help to Josh while he only paid attention to the likes of him because Jane talked with him first.
At lunch time, Jane, Sakura and Laura all tried to coax some information out of him about what was happening between himself and Josh.
"He's a bully," Lucas pointed out. "He picks on all of us. It's nothing."
"Sweetie, the dude was smelling you." Laura reminded him. "That just ain't right."
"Seriously Lucas, we're all really worried." Sakura told him.
"Your worry is unnecessary." Lucas said. "Could we please just drop it? As you can see I am perfectly fine. Mindless inferior jocks have never prevented me from being my fabulous self in the past; they're not going to get to me now. I am more than capable of taking anything they throw at me."
"Lucas, it's ok," Jane said placing her hand over his own. "We're all here for you. And we'll speak to the boys. They can protect you."
"I don't need their protection." Lucas hissed. "Least of all from the likes of Brent."
"But your parents are still dating; the two of you are practically family. Brent will want to look out for you." Jane insisted.
"Don't delude yourself, Jane," Lucas told her. "Brent cares more for his popularity than he does for me. In his eyes, I'm just the freaky gay kid who used to crush on him."
"That's not true." Jane objected. "We're all in the choir together. We're friends; we look out for each other."
"I once covered myself in slushie for Brent," Lucas reminded the three girls. "I totally ruined the outfit I wore that day and did I even hear a thank you? No, I did not. And when has Brent ever done something like that for me, or for any of us? Friendships aren't a one-way street. If he actually wanted to be friends he would meet me half way instead of calling me derogatory words in my basement and talking me out of singing duets with other boys."
"He dressed up in that Gaga outfit for you." Sakura offered.
"Fine, he did one thing." Lucas relented. "That doesn't erase everything else."
"Aren't you being a little hypocritical?" Laura asked. "Jensen used to do a lot of bad things to you and now you're dating him."
"And before I agreed to date Jensen I gave him a list of things to do before he earned my forgiveness, respect and the right to take me out." Lucas answered.
"You shouldn't be so hard on Brent." Sakura said.
"Talk to him if you must." Lucas sighed before taking a sip of his drink. "But be prepared to be disappointed in him when he dismisses my troubles."
The three girls fell silent, all looking at each other in concern over Lucas's little outburst.
"Oh for Gucci's sake, are all of you blinded by that dopey puppy-dog grin?" Lucas asked in irritation. "Honestly, you need to open your eyes and realise that the sun does not shine out of Brent Tracy's ass."
"Gay boy's gotta point," Tatia commented as she came up behind him and slung an arm about his neck. "Frankenteen isn't even that good a kisser. Oh and Bright, just in case you ever stop being such a prude, I warn you now that Tracy junior isn't in proportion with the rest of his body if you know what I mean."
Jane's face flushed, Laura rolled her eyes at Tatia's bitchiness while Sakura disguised a laugh as a cough and Lucas just allowed a smirk of amusement to pass over his face.
"Come on, Benson," Tatia ordered picking up Lucas's bag for him. "The cheerleaders are practising a new routine and Sue has required your help."
"Ladies." Lucas said in farewell to the three girls as he linked arms with the Latina and allowed her to escort him outside.
"By the way," Tatia told him. "You're back on the squad and, no, you don't have a choice."
For the remainder of the day, Lucas was excused from his lessons and after having to change into a brand new cheerleader uniform out on the field, he spent the day doing high kicks, back flips, dance moves and lifts.
"Damn, Tat, have you put on weight?" Lucas asked as he supported Tatia's weight, her feet balancing in his hands as he held her up above his head.
"Fuck you, Benson." Tatia retorted angrily. "It's because of the boob job." She added.