“You’re going to get it when Dad gets home, you know that,” Jessica said, sounding both pleased and annoyed as she glared at Paul from the entrance to his bedroom. “Mum told me she was going shopping — she clearly needed some retail therapy to get over the shock. You have no idea what you’ve done to this family.”
“Leave me alone.” Paul stuck a pillow over his head, trying to block out his sister’s voice.
“I should hate you,” Jessica said calmly. “The word’s going to get out at school and everyone’s going to know that I have a brother who’s a disgusting pervert. They’ll be sneering at you, and I’m going to suffer from guilt by association.”
Paul flung the pillow at his big sister. It missed. “I’m not a pervert!”
“Really? It’s certainly not normal.” She shook her head. “Why did you have to be doing it when Deslie came over? If it had just been me, we might’ve been able to keep it hidden, until you could be sent away so I’d never have to see you again. But you had to show your perversion in front of one of the biggest gossips in the school. Everyone’s going to know by tomorrow morning.”
Paul grunted. He had already worked that one out.
Jessica pursed her lips. “I think I’ll tell everyone you’re adopted. Or maybe I’m adopted. Maybe both. That way they’ll know it’s got nothing to do with me.”
“Is that all you can think about? You? What about me? What do you think my life is going to be like when I show up at school tomorrow? If you’re lucky, the guys are going to kill me and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Jessica frowned. “Come on, don’t make it bigger than it really is. Your life is going to be a misery. You’re going to be ostracised, picked on, bullied, and probably completely humiliated for every day of the rest of your school life, but they won’t kill you.”
“Gee, thanks.” Paul rolled his eyes. “You really know how to cheer a guy up.”
Jessica entered the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Maybe there’s a way we can make it out to be not as bad as it looked. Do you think you can say it was your first time? That you were just fooling around, and you didn’t like it?”
Paul gave her a faint smile. “Thanks, sis, for trying, but I don’t think anyone will believe that. Some people may give me the benefit of the doubt, but the mud will stick. I’ll always be known as ‛that guy’ no matter what story we spin.”
Jessica stood up. “Well, I tried. You’re on your own, Paul, and I don’t envy you.” She rested a hand on his shoulder. “Cheer up. It could be worse.”
She shrugged. “I don’t know, but I’m sure it could be.” She headed out the door without waiting for a response.
Paul laid on his bed, wondering if there was any benefit in running away. The practical consideration of not having much money kept intruding into any plans he made in that respect. Trying to deny as much as possible seemed the best approach, though he was scared that no one would believe him.
The endless cycle of recriminations and ‘what if’ scenarios that ran through his head were interrupted by a polite cough. He glanced at the doorway to see his father shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other.
“Hi, son.” Paul’s father shuffled in, never quite meeting Paul’s eyes. “Your mother’s told me about what’s happened, so I’ve come straight home to talk to you about it.”
Paul slumped back on the bed and stared at the off-white ceiling. “What’s there to talk about?”
“I know it seems like a big thing now, but I’m sure it’ll blow over in time.”
“Yeah, right. Just after all the guys at school beat me to a pulp.”
“Now don’t be so negative. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who won’t want to do that to you.”
“Okay, half the guys at school. I don’t think that makes me feel any better.”
“Your mother and I will speak to the school first thing tomorrow morning. The school has strict anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, and I’m sure they won’t let anything happen to you.”
Paul snorted. “The teachers can’t be everywhere. My life’s going to be hell.”
“I don’t think it will be, but maybe it’ll help if you meet other guys like you. I’m going to start looking around for an appropriate club, or something, that you can go to. We’ll need to set some ground rules, but it’ll be good if you can mix with other gay guys your age.”
Paul rolled over to stare at his father. “Dad, I’m not gay.” Paul noticed that his father was staring at the floor.
“I know you want to deny it, but your mother told me what happened, and I think it’ll help you cope if you accept who you are.”
“Dad, listen to me. I’m not gay!”
“Okay, maybe you’re bisexual, but I still think finding similar young guys will do you the world of good.”
“Dad, I’m not gay. I’m not bisexual. I’m straight!”
His father glanced up. “Paul, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being gay or bisexual. I’m sure there are lots of nice boys out there who will love to meet you if you give them a chance. Just humour me, please?”
“Dad, I don’t want to meet them. I’m perfectly happy not meeting them. I just want to lie here and ignore the fact that the rest of world even exists.”
His father stood up and awkwardly patted Paul on the arm. “You’re obviously not ready to accept things yet, but your mother and I will stand by you while you work through this. I’m sure we can find someone who you can talk with to help you accept things.”
“There’s nothing to accept!”
His father frowned. “I’m making you upset, and I’m sorry. If you want to let out the emotions and cry for a bit, that’s okay. Lots of guys cry — there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ll leave you alone so I won’t embarrass you.” He backed away.
“Dad… ah, forget it.” Paul waved a hand dismissively. “Just go away.”
“Sure, son. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
“I’m not gay!”
“It’s okay, son. Your mother and I still love you. Being gay doesn’t change that.”
Paul gritted his teeth and stayed quiet. He knew if he said anything more, his father would just continue to aggravate him.
After another thirty minutes of misery, Paul’s thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of his mother, who was carrying several shopping bags.
“Hello, dear. How are you feeling?”
“Hi, Mum.” Paul’s voice showed no enthusiasm. “I’m as well as you can expect.”
“Cheer up, honey. It may look bad now, but it’ll all blow over eventually. Until then, just remember your father and I both love you and that’s all that’s important. Now, have a look at what I’ve bought.” She was holding a long, flowing sea blue dress against her body. “What do you think?”
Paul mustered some emotion as he looked at the silky outfit. “It looks good, but it’s not your size.”
“It’s not for me. I bought it for you. I thought the blue would match your eyes.”
“I’m not gay, Mum.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course you’re not. I’ve never thought you were, and certainly not after I caught you with Penny Whitehouse. Who’s been telling you that? You’re a perfectly normal young man who just happens to like dressing up in women’s clothing. Your sister doesn’t like wearing dresses, but since you do, I’ve finally gotten a chance to indulge myself in clothes shopping.” She smiled. “Now, would you like to see the other outfits I’ve bought you?”
For the first time since he had been caught, Paul felt a sense of relief. Someone understood. “Thanks, Mum. That’ll be great.”
Copyright Notice — Copyright © October 2008 by Graeme.
The author copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be duplicated in any form — physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise — without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply.
Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental.
I would like to thank Ray, Kel, C James, Shadowgod, and also everyone from The Mail Crew for the advice they have given me on this story.
I would also like to thank Rain from The Mail Crew for editing this story for me. I can thoroughly recommend their website to all teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bi or not sure.