That Saturday afternoon, I’d expected for either my mom or dad to be standing outside of my room with their hands out, but there was nothing. I was holding my phone in my hands, watching it as I was trying to realize how I lived without it.
The house was empty today because Dad was outside working with Emmanuel (sports, which he hates), and both Evelyn and our mom had gone out of the house to go with Callie for a movie or something - I’m not really sure. The only one in the house I could get to was Eric, which I wasn’t too happy about.
“Eric.” I knocked on his door twice and waited for him to open it.
“Go away,” he called out.
I didn’t have much time for him today, because I needed a ride to Haven’s house.
Besides the fact that my legs were already sore, and my arms were burning from throwing when I came home, Mom had added onto my punishment over the weekend: no driving unless someone else was in the car with me.
“Dude, come on,” I said, knocking again. We weren’t supposed to lock our doors, but his was. “I need a ride.”
Eric passed before he said anything back. “You can drive, dumb⟴.”
“Not for this weekend.”
“It’s not my fault you’re worried about things,” he said. “I’m busy, anyway.”
I shoved my phone in my pocket. “I’ll get Dad.”
“What’ll he do?”
“I can do your chores for another week.”
There was a pause, and then the door unlocked. Always works, I thought to myself. I hated doing chores, but it was the easiest way to get what I wanted from Eric. Evelyn, on the other hand, just wanted information about Delcan. The door opened slightly, and Eric looked at me.
I fidgeted with my hands during the drive, looking out the window and spotting things at random.
Attractive guy with abs…
“Are you alright?” Eric asked me. I looked away from the window and to him.
“Yeah,” I said. “Fine.”
Eric gave me a face of disbelief before he began driving at his normal speed again, talking to me as he kept his eyes on the road. “I already know your secret,” he said, giving me a smile that annoyed me. “What’s bothering you?”
“Look, I’m already doing your chores. What else do you want?”
Eric shrugged. “You always do my chores,” he said. “It’s really nothing new for me. And this is the only time I’ll ever actually listen, so talk.”
I pushed myself up against the window, looking for that jogging guy again. When I realized what I was doing, I stopped.
Is this cheating?
“I can’t tell Haven,” I finally said.
Eric rolled his eyes before he finally decided to take me seriously. “Why not?”
“I just don’t think I can.” I thought back to what Angelica texted me, and even though she could piss me off easily, I knew it was true. “Maybe it wouldn’t have been an issue recently, like before October, but now, she’ll hate me.”
Eric paused before he started talking again. “I don’t know why you worry so much,” he said. “She won’t even be bothered by it. Plus, it’s not like you-”
“I was Haven’s first time,” I cut in.
He looked at me this time, taking his eyes off of the road. “I thought you made that up so that Dad would buy you a watch.”
I wish. After the night of the Halloween party, I’d told Mom about what had happened, and exactly three hours later, Dad was taking me to the store to buy me a new watch. He always gets people with new things. 582Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡMejoSQtwv8
Watches....wallets...money...anything. I got the most out of the family, and they don’t even matter.
He was only happy that it was a girl.
“Sure,” I muttered sarcastically.
Eric didn’t respond to me, and the rest of the car drive was in silence. When we’d pulled up to the Bronx household, I got out of the car without saying goodbye. Walking up the front steps, I tried to think of something to try turning the conversation around. With each step, I felt my leg tighten and my body refuses to continue, but it wouldn’t solve anything.
When I rang the doorbell, it took less than three seconds for Mr. Bronx to open it. He greeted me with a friendly smile, and I returned the favor.
“Come on in, Ezra,” Mr. Bronx said. I nodded and went inside without any argument. Mrs. Bronx was in the kitchen, on her phone as Angelica was sitting in the living room, watching television. But she turned around and met my eyes. Her burning glare followed me as I sat down next to her and smiled. Just act as nothing happened, I wanted to say to her.
“Hi, Ezra,” Angelica said, her voice dull.
I nodded at her. “How have you been?” She shook her head, but I saw the smirk on her face. Please don’t.
“I’ve been great, Ezra. What about you?” she asked me.
“Good,” I mumbled. We never broke eye contact, but Angelica turned away from me when Haven came rushing down the stairs.
“Baby!” she squealed. I tried to keep my face neutral as I stood up and gave her a confident smile. I hardly ever saw Haven when she wasn’t wearing her cheer uniform, but she had a flowery shirt and black leggings. on and a bracelet that belonged to her sister. She ran over to me and wrapped her arms around me to where she came up (right to my upper chest) and then decided to kiss me on the cheek. Whenever she pulled me away, she gave me a kind smile before looking over to her parents.
Haven and her mother seemed to have exchanged some weird look before Mrs. Bronx took her husband’s arm. “Sweetheart, I was thinking we could go out of the house for a bit and take Angelica with us.”582Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡR7jRRrTAqu
I watched as Angelica’s face changed quickly. “What?!” she asked. “Mom, you-”
“You won’t be home again for months,” Mrs. Heslop said. “Let’s go out and enjoy something for a bit.”
Angelica knew she couldn’t debate with her mom, and I suddenly realized what was happening. Haven wanted us to be alone.
I watched as Angelica stood up from the couch and walked over to her parents, Haven giving her mom a smile while I saw Mr. Bronx try to understand what was going on. All of them left with a wave to Haven and I, no one questioning at all what the exact plan was to be.
The minute the door closed, Haven took my hand as I almost flinched. “Come on,” she said. “I have something to show you.” I looked at her for a second before I was able to respond, and she pulled me down the stairs, into her room.
She was still pulling me as she sat down on her bed, me sitting next to her. I didn’t even mean to, but I moved away from Haven - though she stayed right where she was.
“Can I ask you something?” she asked me.
I nodded, honestly wanting to say no. “Yeah.”
“Are you and I okay?” she asked. I felt a sudden relief when I realized she was probably worried about her relationship. She didn’t want to...hang out. Thank God. I tilted my head and looked at her worried expression.
“Why would you say that?” I asked her.
She shrugged and moved around a bit before she looked at me again. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “You just don’t really seem like you love me anymore.” I understood her, but I also knew what she was doing. She’s using the trick, I thought to myself. She wants me to say that I love her and then she wants me to kiss her.
But I did what she wanted stupidly, and played along. I put my hand on her cheek as she looked at me, not too much expression on her face. “I do love you, Haven,” I said. Why was I doing this to her? “Nothing will change that.”
A large smile spread over her face as she put her hand on my thigh.
“I need to tell you something,” she said, a hint of some type of warning in her voice. I already braced myself for her drama.
“What is it?”
Haven sighed. “Me and the girls think someone likes you…” she began to say. I broke eye contact with her because I knew what she was about to say.
Haven: Delcan likes you.
Yeah. And I like him back.
But I couldn’t risk any of that. I smiled for a few seconds, and then asked; “Who?”
“It isn’t like who you think it is. And sure, the person’s hot if you’re into that stuff, but not as good as me, obvi. And it really isn’t who you think it is, Ez.” Haven was continuing to hesitate and compliment herself at the same time. She knew who it actually was, and she had reasoning to support her facts.
I laughed, trying to force myself into saying it wasn’t somebody else. “Is it some girl from the cheer squad?” I asked, surprised by how normal my voice came off. Please just say some girl’s name I don’t know. Evvie, maybe. Anyone but Delcan.
“That’s the thing, baby,” she said, twirling her hair. “It’s not a girl.” I raised my eyebrows and tried not to think of how this conversation was going to end up.
“What do you mean?” I asked, my voice sounding bored. I was used to it by now, of course, but it was never like I liked them back. “Some guy likes me?” My dad would always say how disgusted he felt when he noticed other guys that “had a vibe” looking at me while I was playing football, but I was more than used to it now. All I had to do was pretend I had no feelings whatsoever towards Delcan.
She nodded as I rolled my eyes.
“Who is it?” I asked her.
She slowly said the name as if it was some type of death sentence. “Delcan.” I had to hide the smile on my face from turning myself away from her.
“And why would that bother me?”
Haven stopped. “Well,” she said. “I-I thought you would’ve been bothered by it. You know, with your parents, and the way you guys strongly-”582Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡl8rHMQT5Qq
“I don’t have anything against gay people,” I said to her. I really didn’t think it was possible for me to, but even if I wasn’t born the way I was, I’d probably see nothing wrong with same-sex couples.
Haven blinked. “Oh.” Her voice sounded so out of character I almost questioned it, but she changed herself quickly. “But you two are friends. What if he tries to, you know, change you?” I almost had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. She truly had no reason to be worried about Delcan turning me because I was already gay.
“That’s not exactly how it works, Haven,” I said to her, smiling. “Plus, you and I both know I’m not into that stuff.” It was a lie, but she believed it. The entire school did. My parents did, and so did Emmanuel.
I needed to change the subject. “I don’t really think you should worry too much about Delcan,” I said to her, making my voice sound like I wanted her. “We should focus on our own relationship.” Haven smiled when I moved closer to her, and I felt guilt inside of me. I didn’t want to do anything physical with Haven, but it would probably get her mind off of Delcan. She smiled as she put her hand on my cheek.
And then I let her kiss me. ns 188.8.131.52da2