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The World's Not All Good (But It's Not All Bad Either)

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Bobby left Camilla's car, after she continued to apologize profusely for what they both just experienced, and he replied with a simple "it's chill." He could see the hurt in her eyes when she once again reminded him that she was there if he needed her, and that not everyone is like her parents. With just a nod, Camilla drove off.

He tried to look calm. He just wanted to slip past his family at the dinner table, saying he already ate and that he just wanted to go to bed.

For a few minutes, it seemed like it worked. He shut his door to the world and collapsed on his bed, tears welling in his eyes. His stomach clenched and his gut twisted, threatening to make him puke up the enchiladas. The ones he only ate half of, because his throat was shut for most of the dinner.

"You know your cousin Marco?" Camilla's mom asked, her voice loud and overbearing. "He's getting married. He didn't tell any of us, I had to find out through your aunt. Apparently he wanted it to be 'small' and 'intimate.' But you know what else I found out? Turns out he's engaged to a man." The energy in the room shifted immediately, an icy haze overtaking them all. "That's why he didn't want to invite any of us to the wedding. Apparently this man convinced him that his family has it out for him, just because we want what's best for him. I hope he realizes he's being manipulated by that little queer. I almost feel bad for the poor boy, and even worse for his parents. Marco was such a good student in school, he had such good grades, he was on the swim team, and he had a girlfriend who loved him. But what did he do? He left her for a f-"

"Bobby, are you okay?" Elena's voice cut through his thoughts. He shot up, swiping at his eyes, knowing it wouldn't do anything.

"Knock much?"

"I did but you didn't answer," she said. He was so lost in his memory he hadn't even heard her. "What's up?"

"Nothing. I'm chill," he said, looking anywhere but in her eyes. "Just tired." That part was true. He was tired. Even too tired to get angry at her for invading his personal privacy. She said nothing, instead sat down next to him on the bed.

The silence stretched out, weighing on his chest. He could feel his eyes watering and it took the last of his strength to hold back the tears.

"You know you can talk to me about anything, right?" And with that, the dam burst. He hid his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking as Elena rubbed them. There were so many words he wanted to say, but his lungs burned too much to say any of them. So he just kept crying, a release he'd been needing for hours, maybe even longer. And although he could barely register it, he knew Elena was whispering things like "it'll be okay" and "let it out."

"What if... what if I can't?" he finally said with a sniffle.

"What if you can't... what?" Bobby didn't answer. "What happened?"

"I was at Camilla's," he started. "And she warned me on the way there that her parents were visiting. And that I didn't have to eat dinner with them if I didn't want to, but I did because I didn't want to be rude." Elena didn't say anything, simply nodded at him to continue. When he was ready. There was no rush, no urgency, just silence and patience and open ears. "And they... fuck, I'm sorry," he said. It was rare for him to swear in front of his sister. Usually that was reserved only for his friends, but he couldn't help it. She didn't comment. "They just... they started... they started saying really awful stuff. Stuff about... well, not about... but, you know, related to... Camilla and Danielle and their... their relationship... And I just couldn't take it. I sat there and listened to it all dinner and I just feel... I don't even know what I feel."

"That sounds awful," she said. "I'm sorry you had to sit through family drama like that."

"It's not just that," he said, his voice strained and weak. "The stuff they were saying..." He hadn't planned on doing this. Not yet. Not tonight. But the words were already threatening to slip out. "...they don't know Camilla and Danielle are together. They think they're roommates. And they were talking about her cousin who's marrying a man, and calling him slurs and saying they hope he dies of AIDS and it hurt so badly knowing someone could think that about someone else. Just because they're... just because they're different. And it made me realize that the still really sucks for..." He still had an out, a way to end the sentence that wouldn't incriminate himself. "...for people like me." He didn't want to, but he plucked up the courage to glance over at Elena. Her eyes were wide as he realized what he was saying.


"I'm gay," he whispered. As if he said it any louder, the entire world would know. "I'm gay and I'm scared." She hugged him and he let out a few more stray tears. It was out in the air for the first time. The word left his lips and not in the comfort of his bathroom.

"You don't have to be scared," she said. "Some people suck, but a lot of people don't. And those who are worth it will love you no matter what."

"I want to believe that."

"I still love you. And if you tell mami, you know she'll still love you. And Sam too."

"What about Danny and Ziggy? And... and Liam," he said with a sigh. If he reacted badly, if he thought the same way Camilla's parents did, it would probably kill him.

"If they're really your friends, they won't care." Bobby simply nodded. "Was it Liam?"

"What do you mean?"

"That sparked your gay awakening," she said with a laugh and jazz hands. He chuckled and sighed, nodding.

"Yeah. We were hanging out a lot and I just realized that I really liked being close to him, and that I wanted us to be even closer, and do all the couple stuff I was supposed to want to do with Monyca. And then once I realized that, I just kept noticing so much about him. And about me, I guess." Elena gave him another hug, rubbing his back as he could finally look her in the eye. "Thank you."

"What are little sisters for?"

"And hey, promise you won't tell anyone? About me crying or being gay."

"Of course I won't," she said. "That's for you to tell, when you're ready. No pressure. But just remember that we're all with you and want you to be happy. You're gonna be okay." With that, she left. Although her last words would usually be seen as a hollow platitude, they stuck.

It'll be okay.

He'll be okay.

Maybe, just maybe, he could start believing that.