Thomas was on his way out of the school when someone slapped him on the back. Startled, he turned to see Logan grinning at him. After their surprisingly easy lunch, a smile was instantly brought to Thomas’s face. “Hey.”
“You on your way home?”
“Nah.” Thomas adjusted his backpack. It was heavy with books, and he was dreading how heavy it would get next semester when he had hard classes to deal with. “I was going to head to the library. For some reason it’s easier to do homework there than it is at home.”
Logan laughed. “What a coincidence, I was heading there to.” They fell into step beside one another as they left the building. “There’s this book I’ve been wanting to read, and I know I probably won’t have much time in the near future.”
Thomas was reminded of Logan sitting in front of the morning fire on their camping trip. Then he remembered something else. “I still have your book.”
“Oh yeah.” Logan grinned. “Did you finish it?”
“Uh, yeah. It was…” Thomas felt his face starting to heat up. “It was interesting.”
Logan had called the book a ‘cheesy romance’, but he hadn’t mentioned how graphic it was. Or who the characters were. Thomas had spent half the book waiting for the female love interest to be introduced, only to be blindsided when the prince shared a passionate kiss with another man. And the kiss had been the tame part.
His face must have been an open book, because Logan burst into laughter. “Sorry. I probably should have mentioned that there were sex scenes.”
Thomas grunted in affirmation. “How did you even get that book? Aren’t you thirteen?”
“Hey. I’m fourteen, thank you very much.” Logan stuck out his tongue, and the childishness of it kind of reminded Thomas of Briar. “Besides, Briar got it for me.”
That didn’t really answer anything. Briar was only fifteen, which was still probably too young to buy a book like that. But Thomas didn’t feel like pressing things. It wasn’t his place to enforce age restrictions on literature.
By this point they were already halfway to the library, which was only a block and a half from school. Thomas had a sudden urge to slow down. He wanted to just chat with Logan, or joke around the way he did with his other friends.
Suddenly, Logan stopped walking. “Thomas.” He sounded serious, which was odd after the conversation they had been having.
Logan took a shaking breath, like he had when introducing himself at the GSA. Only this time, his eyes were open and focused on Thomas. “Briar told me that you don’t know what FtM means.”
Thomas nodded. “Yeah. It’s a term I’ve never come across before, and Briar told me not to look it up. She said something about not treating you differently.”
“Yeah.” Logan’s mouth twitched into a slight smile for a moment. “At first, I was glad you didn’t know what it meant for just that reason. You treated me kindly, like you would any new ninth grader from orientation.”
“Uh, yeah.” Thomas thought of the other kids in the orientation group. He couldn’t remember if he had seen any of them since that day. He must have passed them in the halls - the school wasn’t that big - but he couldn’t remember.
“But then,” Logan continued. “I realized that you were treating me that way out of ignorance, which is just as bad as being bullied by ignorant people.”
Thomas took a step back. “Wait, what? I’m bullying you?” Maybe Briar was right to tell him to stay away.
Thankfully, Logan shook his head. “Sorry, that’s not what I meant. What I’m trying to say is…” He locked eyes with Thomas. “I want you to know what it means.”