“I think we should talk.” My girlfriend brings up suddenly, and I tense up. I had a feeling this sort of talk was going to come. She found someone better than me, definitely, or..or maybe her mom was finally making that big move she always planned on doing. I noticed she was distant for these past few weeks. I didn’t know how to bring it up, I was scared of losing her, I..-
“Kai..! Are you listening??” Leslie raises her voice slightly, snapping me out of my anxiety ridden thoughts.
“Uh, no..sorry. What did you say?” She groans, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration, mumbling, ‘This is exactly what I’m talking about..’.
“I asked you if something was going on..you’ve been acting differently lately. You’re not as affectionate as you used to be..you, you don’t touch me anymore!”
I looked up at her, I could see she was hurt. I felt guilty and averted my eyes, “I don’t know what you mean, Les. I’ve just been tired, and busy with school..and.” She cut me off before I could finish my excuses.
“I work a part time job on top of watching my siblings while my mom works, I tutor, AND play soccer. I’m tired too, but I always see you when I can and I always try to make time for you..you can’t say you’re busy, or tired.” She was right, she’s a fucking champ..all I do is barely attempt my homework and pick up shifts at my dad’s tool store whenever I’m feeling up to it.
“Sorry...you’re right. I don’t know..I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I say, hesitant to look back up at her but do anyway.
She stares at me for a bit, eyes tired and searching for an answer. She inhaled deeply, before releasing a deep sigh and speaking in a low whisper.
“..Do you think..maybe, you’re gay?”
My veins felt like they were being filled with ice water. Gay? Did she just ask if I’m gay?
I’m staring at her, wide eyed now, and snap my gaze away to look back down at my lap. I was clenching my hands now, they were resting anxiously against my thighs, I tend to do this a lot.
Was I gay? I’ve never bothered to think about it. I’ve been dating Leslie for about four years now, we met at a camp we were both counselors for.
I’ve always reciprocated her, “I love you’s”, I’ve always kissed her back, I’ve always held her at night, we’ve even had sex before. I looked back up again, frantically trying to find my words.
“I can’t be. I mean, right..? We’ve..we’ve done it before, I..I love you...Leslie..?” She wasn’t looking at me anymore, she still looked tired, but her eyes softened a bit.
“Kairo. I can’t..I can’t answer that for you. This is something you need to find out yourself.” She paused a bit, thinking more before continuing, I could hear a quiver in her voice.
“I’ll..always love you. And I’m here for you, but. You need to find these answers on your own. And until you do..I think we should take a break.”
My heart sunk, a break? “No, please. I don’t wanna lose you.”
“If all you’re concerned with is being alone, with losing me, we definitely should consider a break.”
She got up from my bed, I can’t believe that just minutes ago we were cuddling and talking about school.
“I think I should go. Please don’t think I’m mad at you. I just need to be alone. Okay?”
I didn’t get to answer before she walked out of my room, I heard her get to the bottom of my stairs and heard the front door shut.
I clutched the end of my bed, staring at the ground, thoughts racing through my mind. Did this seriously just happen?
I’m brought out of my trance when I hear my bedroom door creak, I see my dad peering in.
We’ve never been close, we only talk sometimes at the store, but I can see his eyes look at me differently now. Did he over hear us?
My heart dropped to my stomach, I looked at him nervously before stuttering out to him, “N..Need me at the store tonight?”
The look he was giving me never changed, he just shook his head and kept walking towards his room, his bedroom door shutting loudly behind him.
I exhaled shakingly, I don’t like how he stared me down like that, but I decided to push it to the back of my mind, it was nothing, right?
Leslie was wrong. My dad heard nothing. I’m not gay.
I threw myself back down on my bed. I need a nap.
My eyes open reluctantly, it’s dark outside now, I peer over at my alarm clock. 1 AM.
Guess I fell asleep. I groaned and pulled myself up to my pillow, resting my head against it and reached down my pants pocket for my phone. My phone displayed the lock screen, a picture of Les and I, no text or calls from her, not surprising.
Just a text from my mom saying she left dinner in the fridge for me for whenever I’d wake up.
I’m not hungry, as I remember the events from earlier. Nausea and worry set in my stomach, I unlocked my phone and opened my browser.
My thumbs paused in action before typing into the search bar.
‘Am I gay quiz.’
I woke up the next morning, feeling groggy and nauseous. Maybe from not eating, probably from everything that happened with Leslie. Okay, definitely with what happened with Leslie.
I didn’t want to go to class, facing everyone would be hell, even if they didn’t know, because it would feel like everyone’s staring at me, like everyone knew deep down that I..
I clenched my teeth and sat up, I can’t just avoid school because I think everyone can suddenly read minds. It was late, almost 8:30 AM, so I didn’t even bother putting on different clothes, not like anyone saw me yesterday, since it was Sunday.
I walked down the stairs, into the kitchen where my mom stood. “You didn’t touch dinner, Kai. Are you sick?” She turned around, worry covering her face as she handed me money for lunch.
“No, ma, just wasn’t hungry. Leslie..” I stop talking, thinking about my now ex girlfriend.
“Leslie and I grabbed some food before she left, that’s all.”
She nodded, I could tell she didn’t fully believe me, but didn’t press further. “Where’s dad?” She turned back around, hands back in the sink as she finished washing the rest of the dishes. “At the shop, went really early today. I didn’t ask why, but you know your father..”
I didn’t know him, but I didn’t say anything else.
“I’ll see you after school, mom. I’ve got club today, so I’ll be home a little late.”
She nodded, not bothering to look away from the sink.
Like usual, not much was said between us, but I just headed out the door and got on my electric scooter. I was not ready for today, but am I ever?
The school wasn’t far, maybe 15 minutes away. I parked my scooter near the greenhouse and locked it up in the shed. Since I was part of the gardening club, I was allowed to use the space for it. I headed inside through the side entrance and walked down the halls of the first floor.
Usually, I’d meet Leslie by my locker right now, talk until the bell rang and go to bio.
But she was avoiding me, and I was late today.
I rushed into the classroom and took my seat near the window. Thankfully, she wasn’t in my first class, and I didn’t have to see her until math later on.
In fact, the only person in this class that I knew was Dean. We weren’t exactly friends, but we took care of the greenhouse together after classes. But he didn’t greet me with his usual smile. In fact, most people didn’t even look at me.
I found it strange, but maybe it was because the teacher was in the middle of a lecture?
I brushed off my anxiety and irrational thoughts and looked out the window, today was gonna be a long day..
Classes went on, and the day was going by slowly. Time for math, yay. I get to sit next to my ex, and awkwardly shift in my chair for 45 minutes.
Walking up the stairs to the third floor, and down the hallway, I noticed people whispering, while staring at me.
Did I have something on my face? I stopped, getting my phone out to check myself in the front camera, but didn’t see anything.
“I heard they broke up because he’s gay.”
Did I hear that right..? I didn’t dare to look up from my phone. I was so scared, scared I heard the girl less than 2 feet away from me right.
“Leslie told me all about it during our break. It’s sad. Who would’ve guessed the garden boy was a queer.” I recognized the voice now. It was one of Leslie’s, “friends”, Sabrina. Her and the other girls standing around their lockers laughed at Sabrina’s stupid joke.
Did Leslie tell her? Fuck. Sabrina was such a blabbermouth, if she knew-
Wait..is that why everyone avoided looking at me today? Why Dean didn’t say hello..? Did everyone know?
I shove my phone into my pocket and sped past them, straight into the men’s bathroom.
I locked myself into the last stall and backed up against the wall.
I started to hyperventilate. I felt like my lungs were collapsing, my heart hurt and everything was spinning. I crouched down and buried my face into my knees.
Medina, New York wasn’t exactly..liberal. No one would ever admit they were outright a bigot, but let’s just say, no one liked people who, “stood out.” Meaning if you were a POC, queer, disabled, ANYTHING other than white, cis, neurotypical and able bodied, you were standing out.
Leslie hates me, my dad knew, my mom didn’t care, everyone here is disgusted by me, I’m so alone. These thoughts filled my mind until I started crying. I sobbed, loud and ugly. I didn’t care if anyone would walk in and hear me.
I felt so alone and I didn’t even know if I was gay or not.
Suddenly, the bathroom door swung open with a loud creak, and slammed shut.
I stifled my sobs with my hand and got up quietly to sit on the toilet, pulling my feet up, scared of being found in here like this.
Whoever was in here was mumbling the word, ‘fuck’, under their breath angrily over and over again.
They were pacing back and forth, and then I heard skin connect with the tile on the wall.
They groaned and kicked the stall nearest the sinks.
That startled me and I let out a hiccup.
Whoever it was clearly heard me, and stopped pacing.
They slowly made their way to my stall and I stopped breathing.
Everything was quiet for a moment, the person standing, staring at the door.
Slam. The stall door burst open with a swift kick and I was now face to face with Terrance Foster.
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