Katy Santos was a really nice girl. She went to Crawford County Day and her family was very similar to Jeff's. She had a good personality and she was great to talk to. She wasn't a girly girl or anything that would really put him off and she listened very intently when he talked to her. Their date was a lot of fun. He took her to a movie and then they got something to eat. He dropped her off with a kiss on the cheek and then drove back to Dalton. It had started to rain and he just wanted to get home.
He stopped his car in the lot wondering who he was kidding.
He was gayer than gay and dating girls like Katy just proved it. She was perfect. She was pretty, sweet and had a good personality. Any guy would jump for the chance to date her. That was, any straight guy would jump for the chance to date her. He had been trying so hard to deny it, but there was no way that he was straight.
He didn't know how to deal with it. Sure, he went to a very gay friendly school that had a zero tolerance bullying policy. That had saved many gay teenagers, some of whom were his best friends, but it wasn't the bullying he was afraid of. He was afraid of how his parents would react to their son being gay, he was afraid of the reception that he would receive from his family and friends and he was afraid of Nick. He knew it was stupid but he had always harbored a crush on his best friend and if Nick ever knew he was anything but straight, Nick would never see him the same. They'd never be as close. It was scary to think that he could lose everything he had.
It was silly but it made him cry. He hung his head and leaned against the steering wheel. "I'm gay," he said softly. Out loud, it didn't even sound right. It was something he'd been denying for so long even though it was obvious. "I'm gay and I like Nick." It was real but at the same time he was so distanced from it. It wasn't a part of who he was. He groaned, frustrated because it had to be part of who he was.
He sat there for what felt like hours. The minutes just ticked by, frustrating him to death. It was getting cold in his car and the rain was picking up. Just when he thought about cleaning up and going inside, there was a knock at his door. He could see through the blur of the rain that it was Nick. "Jeffy open up," Nick said, his voice demanding. Jeff panicked, heart jumping into his throat. He couldn't deny Nick though, so he unlocked the doors. Nick slid into the passenger seat next to him.
"You're back late from Katy's and Trent said he saw your car pull in. Are you…are you crying Jeff?" He wished that he could lie to the other boy. No, he wasn't crying. Unfortunately, when Jeff cried his eyes puffed up ridiculously and it was impossible to hide. Nick continued comforting him. "What happened Jeff? Was the date bad?"
"No," he sniffed out. "It was great."
"What's wrong then?" Nick asked, placing a hand on Jeff's shoulder. It was so comforting and sweet that he wanted to scream. What was his problem? Why did he have to be so perfect? Why did he have to be a guy? Why couldn't Jeff be straight? "Come on Jeff, dude you're kind of scaring me here."
"I don't like her…" he whimpered."I don't like girls. Nick, I've tried so hard to like them but I just don't…not even perfect girls like Katy, who most boys would love to go out with. She was really awesome Nick!"
Nick rubbed his shoulder back and forth, comforting. "Jeff," he said softly. "Are you telling me that you're gay? If you're telling me you're gay then that's completely alright. There is nothing wrong with being gay. Dalton is a safe place for people of all sexualities, right? All of our friends are very open minded and nobody's going to judge you. I know your parents are like the coolest people too…"
"I've been hiding it for so long," he whispered. Nick was right, really. There wasn't a huge reason for him to hide his sexuality, but he had out of fear. He wasn't really afraid of being rejected or hurt, but he was afraid of changing the whole world he lived in. He was afraid of changing the status quo so to speak and the way that things were. His life was a certain way and being gay was going to change everything. "I just didn't want to have to deal with it. Coming out, all that…it's too dramatic. I'm me. I'm a laid back guy who's not supposed to let things bother me."
At that, Nick wrapped his arms around Jeff and hugged him tightly. "Jeffy," he said, shaking his head from side to side as he held him in an awkward embrace. "You're not the kind of guy to have a dramatic, sad coming out. You're right. You don't have to. You can be just like the guy I know and love and come out on your own terms, in your own way. It's going to be fine. I promise. I love you, you dork, and nothing's going to change that. Best friend's forever, right?"
Nick was very good at comforting; Jeff had to give him that. Nothing was going to change just because he was gay. He was the same person even now that he'd come out to someone. "I can't fake it anymore," he said.
"Don't then," Nick said seriously. "Be yourself Jeff, because who you are is kind of awesome."
"Only kind of?" he asked, blinking through his tearful, swollen eyes. Nick just shoved him in the shoulder in response.
"You know what I mean."