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Free Fall

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Luke Montgomery is going through a tough time. He has to decide about college, pass physics, and deal with the secret that he is gay. But when Christian Day walks into his class with his "when you got it, flaunt it" attitude, everything completely changes. When Luke and Christian are assigned to be Physics partners, Luke started improving his grades towards a passing level. The more time Luke spends with Christian, the more comfortable he becomes being himself. This also includes thinking about things he has never thought of before. Even more so when those thoughts turn to Christian, and the butterflies start fluttering. How can Luke be so sure that Christian isn't gay yet begin to fall for him?

Romance / Other
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

It all starts somewhere. There are theories and debates you can engage in - whether you like or dislike the character and objects.

Mr Olsten wrote such a statement on his whiteboard at the beginning of physics class. Drawing diagrams on the board, Mr Olsten said, "Physics is not just a subject that you see on the board. It is about matter and motion." On his way to the first bench of the classroom, he can see who seems to be interested in the subject and who is not. I was in the middle.

I enrolled in the course due to the rule requiring students to take one science course unless they could show evidence of after school involvement. It appears I didn't learn any athletic skills, contrary to my parents' hopes.

"As I mentioned earlier in the week, science partners will be paired up. Every group project will be graded fifty per cent each and expected on the day of the deadline. No exceptions," Olsten states as he posts the list of groups by the door. Taking part in pairs assignments isn't as beneficial for friends as they anticipated. Their grumbling escalates when they learn their friends have been paired with others. Students have probably considered that it would be easier that way because they think it will be easier.

The conversation and note taking carries on as it gets closer to the end of class. After the new student at Ember River Academy walked into class, the room went black. I suppose that it would have worked if it were a Hollywood sci-fi movie. The difference in height between him and Mr Olsten was noticeable as they stood together in front of the class. His sandy blonde hair and large ocean blue eyes complemented his slim frame, and a small earring reflected off the classroom lights. "There's an empty spot down beside Luke," Mr Olsten told the new student as he instructed and guided him to my desk. I saw him adjust his messenger bag before making his way down to me, not bothering to introduce himself, as described in the movies.

"Hi," My heart pounded as I watched this new student slip into the empty seat next to me. Not knowing if he was about to introduce himself or not, my heart continued to race. "I’m Christian," he finally says, putting his messenger bag on the floor and a name to the face. The fact that I was no longer the only person in the left middle row felt good, even if it was only for the semester.

The both of us remain silent for the last remaining moments of class until the bell rings, as he collects his bag and wonders quickly onto his locker or the next lesson. That’s when I take the time to see who my Psychics partner is on the whiteboard. I figured I would see my name with Eli Rutter or Brandyn Wrigley. Much to my surprise, I see neither of their names. Instead, where my name is, Christian Day appears beside it.

"How did you do on your test?" The voice of Drayden Smith greets me as I approach my locker.
Drayden is one of those loud, annoying friends you have, and honestly, it's sometimes hard to have a relationship when my best friend knows what tests I have. Even though we have been friends since second grade and have been to three schools together, I wish he would stop asking about my grades, despite knowing he would help if I asked for it rather than rushing them in senior year. “You know, MIT looks over them, right?” he proclaims proudly to anyone walking by.

“Do you have to announce everything so loudly? In addition, I didn't have a test," I reply sardonically, as I finally set the combination on my lock to get rid of my Psychics book and get my other course materials.

Before he answered what I had just asked, he changed the subject. “Will you need a ride home tonight? I have football practice," he tells me. His football-playing career began at the young age of ten, a sport he was proud to be a part of. The sun he had been exposed to during his years of training made his skin tanned. No doubt he'll get his full-ride scholarship to the University of North Carolina.

As I stand there contemplating whether to wait two hours watching football or to take the bus, Christian walks by, and I give him a small wave. I wasn't sure if he saw me or not; if he did, he didn't wave back at me. “I’ll take the bus home,” I tell Dryden when Christian is no longer in sight. My friend yelled out to the crowd of students that I never take the bus home is the last thing I hear as I start to walk towards class.

Had I intended on taking the bus home? Since middle school, I hadn’t ridden the school system busses and had no desire to start using one now suddenly. I should fit the time to study for my license, as it would benefit me in the future. However, now was not the time to think about that. Art class waited for no one.

Sitting at my pedestal, I attempted to imagine what my piece would be about this semester. I had always hated art, finding it difficult to understand why it was so challenging for me. What was art? A coping mechanism? A window into your soul?

As time passes by, I still have nothing. I scan the room seeing how the other students in the class had something started. Simon Tremain has begun drawing a rainbow zebra picture, which looks fantastic. It may represent LGBTQ+ issues if anything. The rainbow design strikes a chord with the LGBTQ+ students at the school.

“Still stuck?” Simon asks as he comes over to me. “It’s okay. You’ll figure it; art takes time. It’s the story, not the skill,” he tells me, though I think he wanted to say something more comforting, just didn’t know what to say. “Ms Jones looks for the story,” he concludes as he adjusts his knapsack before leaving, and the bell making its final announcement of the day, I head directly for the bus, as I wouldn’t need anything from my locker until tomorrow.
I was standing in the bus line thinking of what Simon had told me. Ms Jones looks for the story, not the skill. That still didn’t give me comfort, knowing I had nothing to go with. I couldn’t turn in a blank canvas at the end of the semester. I could now only think of how I needed to get Psychics done more than art.

My name is called before I have even stepped into the bus doorway. With several other students behind me, I jumped out of the way to see who it was. Who did I know that drove a red Jeep? Standing there awkwardly until I realised I recognised who the driver was. Christian.

As I walk up to the jeep, I mutter, "Hey." I ignored the thought that it was one more word than what I had used earlier. That had to mean something, wouldn't it? If we were going to be psychics partners, I would have to start getting used to him around more.

My eyes are fixed on Christian's smiley face on his wrist as he readjusts his fingers through his cropped sandy blonde hair then turns to look at me. It was the first time I had noticed the purple, pink and blue smiley face on his wrist. “I was hoping to catch you before you left,” Christian tells me as the busses start to leave, and students with their cars go around us headed to their next big thing after school. “You left your book in class,” he adds as he now knows he has my full attention. I knew I hadn’t left it in class. I placed it in my locker before art class and when I was talking to Dryden. So how could I have left it behind?

“Would I? Could I?” I begin to ask but can’t formulate the question that I want to ask fully. My nerves shot now as I recalculated what I had wanted to ask. I’m never this bad at asking questions. “Get a ride home?” I blurted out as I finally found the words I had wanted to ask. After a few moments of silence, he leans over and opens the door to let me in.

As I climb in, I start to wonder what I could talk about. In my perspective, I had nothing to ask about that wouldn’t make me seem desperate for unwanted attention. Would he even want to be bombarded with a bunch of questions? I had just met him two classes ago and had a little conversation.

"Luke Hemsworth, tell me something about yourself," Christian says as he turns onto another backroad, leading me to wonder where we were. He had gotten my last name wrong, and I was sure that we were on the wrong side of town. I sit there longer, wondering what to say. Besides Dryden, I didn’t hang around anyone.

“My last name is Montgomery. "I'm," I stopped there. What can I say about myself? The time wasn't right for me to discuss my sexuality. I wasn't as brave as those TikTok’s I subscribed to. Was there a possibility he would not accept me? At the age of eight, I realised that I admired Ron Weasley from Harry Potter, which led to discovering my sexuality. The female characters, except for Professor McGonagle, did not interest me at all. The part I intended to avoid was the never-ending thought of what he might do or react.

After thinking for a moment, I replied, "I'm a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer." That would be true if I completed the series instead of quitting after season three. Now I had just hoped that he wouldn’t ask me any questions about the series.

“I’ve never seen it. Though my older sister did make me sit through Degrassi,” Christian reveals as we take another backroad, now making me wonder how many backroads that this small town had. “We started with the Drake years,” he finished as the jeep came to a stop by a pond I didn’t even know the town had, as I wondered where and when he had discovered it. I looked peaceful and quiet—a slight breeze pushing waves across the water.

“This is where we should study Physics. It’s quiet; no one seems to know this place exists anymore. Except maybe the few camps around the pond,” Christian suggests as he looks my way, then over at the water. I thought about it for a few moments before I agreed. He was right; it was quiet no one knew about this place. It would be perfect.

“Alright then, it’s a done deal. This is our spot,” Christian confirms as he starts the jeep up again. “Plus, we won’t fuck up science experiments outdoors,” he adds with a chuckle. That was when his cell phone goes off, but he doesn’t answer it, nor does he seem to care about it right away.

“I don’t know about that. There's nothing quite like messy science. Mother Nature might let us mess up a bit, depending on the subject," I tell Christian, realizing this was my second full sentence. I turn to see Christian with an amused smile on his face.

I’m still trying to figure out what to think of Christian. He wasn’t annoying like Dryden, he seemed calmer, more relaxed. I stand by the jeep as he quickly jumps into the pond. As he does more; questions I want to ask him suddenly come to mind. Who was he really besides Christian Day who watched Degrassi, rides a red jeep, and is a partner in class. Why did he pick a spot for science that no one else would know about? The thoughts are broken when Christian resurfaces.

“We should probably head back before someone thinks you were kidnapped,” now shirtless Christian retorts as he throws his shirt underneath his knapsack in the back. His chiselled chest added more to what I saw in class earlier today. A mauve and orange sunset that seems to have been spliced together from a photoshop image for a serenity brochure was dazzling us with its beauty.

"Christian Day, where are you from?" I whisper as we approach a street where we make our way back to reformability. I hope he hadn't heard me, though I wished that he had. That was one of the parts of getting to know someone.

"I'm from Vermont, Hemsworth. I really hate to tell you this, but it's a sad story." Christian tells me, amused. "That's another story for another time." he adds with his trademark smirk.

The study of sociology has demonstrated that people have something in common that brings them together, and I was sure that whatever the story was, he would open up, whenever he felt like it; that was the one thing that he and I both shared. The one clue that I could learn more about him as time passes.

"I would like to have your phone number," Christian asks, offering his. "So we can study together," he says. Although I can feel a blush forming on my cheeks, he didn't say anything as I typed in my phone number for him to have.

“I’ve got to go,” my voice squeaks as we get done exchanging phone numbers. Did I have to go or did I want to go? Saying and meaning it are two different things. I grab my messenger bag from the back of the jeep to make my escape. The clock on his radio showing what time it was.

“Your book,” Christian mentions holding up the book I had forgotten about since he showed me after school. With the door open, I grab it from him. “See in class tomorrow,” he mentions as I shut the door then watch until I can’t see his jeep lights anymore.

Inside, when my parents were getting ready for church, I knew I would be questioned about school. The family ritual, which had started in middle school, was a tradition that would likely continue through college.

When my father emerged from the den in his full Mass uniform, he thundered, "Where have you been?" The other question I knew would follow. I could have told him straight-forward truth. But I wasn't able to convey it in the words that I needed to. How could I tell my father that I was with another boy, even though he was just a friend that wasn’t Dryden? Instead the answer that comes out is “I was studying with Dryden”, as I only hope that they don’t verify that with Dryden.

Before he could ask anything else, I headed upstairs to do my homework.

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