This chapter is in no way to offend someone, and it is something that happens so much often, though the words are not meant to offend anyone. And also - always stand up for someone who you see if ever getting bullied, no matter what it's about.
This time, Delcan moved off of me. His face seemed to be watching the panic that mine must’ve shown. “Huh?”
“My dad is here,” I repeated, sitting up. “Holy-what do we do?”
Delcan listened for any noise outside, then looked back to me. He seemed to have been thinking, and then he got it. “Hide in the closet,” he said. I nodded, and stood up to go into the closet, but then my brain clicked with what he just said - and I stopped dead in my tracks.
Delcan turned around slowly, giving me this angry look. I’m sure if there wasn’t this...issue going on outside, he would’ve put up a real fight. But instead, he used one of his favorite silent words and flipped me off.
I smiled to him for some reason, and he simply took my hand, dragging me into the closet - which was much larger than I thought it would be. I backed up against the wall fully, and ran my hands through my hair, feeling my heart begin to race again. I tried to have been calm, though I could already feel my body betraying me.
“I swear…” I whispered, still freaking out. “What is he even doing here?” Delcan put his finger up to my mouth, and then I realized that Mr. Heslop and my dad were in the room. I was still really trying to grasp what was happening as I moved Delcan’s hand off of me. How could my dad even possibly think of me being here?
I was about to pull out my phone and text Evelyn, feeling myself about to cuss her out through text, but Delcan stopped me. “If your dad sees the light in the closet, he’ll look in here,” he whispered, crossing his arms and making sure his voice sounded silent. “And I’m sure you don’t want to get caught.”
Like always, he was right, and I put my phone back into my pocket. Then, I listened to the conversation between my dad, and Delcan’s.
“My younger son told me about my son showing around this young man,” Dad said, his voice sounding stern - though off like it always does when he isn’t around the same race as him. “Said that his name was West Young-” his pause meant he was about to say something about how his name wasn’t even “Mexican”, though my dad seemed to have stopped himself before he said anything.
“I asked the girls about it and Angelica showed a picture of somebody to my son,” my dad continued, his voice still sounding off. “He said that was him, and I had to convince Evvie to show me where West’s house was.”
Though I knew I was more than ⟴, something inside of me felt a bit of anger towards Evvie, and some sympathy for her, too. My anger was only because she gave into what my dad had asked her to do, though the sympathy came from a place I couldn’t explain. All that went through my head was the image of Dad pressuring Evvie, who wasn’t used to things like that.
But then my mind clicked with something else. Angelica had a picture of “West” on her phone, which means she knows who Delcan is. And the only possible way Angelica could’ve gotten any photo of him would’ve been from Instagram...which means she knows more about him than I thought.
“My son’s name isn’t West,” Mr. Heslop argued. His voice didn’t exactly seem mad, but more of in some type of annoying way, since some random guy just popped up at his house, looking for me.
“I don’t care what your son’s name is,” my dad said, letting all the anger in his voice come out. “But my son shouldn’t be hanging around a faggot.”
The second the words left his mouth, I felt this type of shame go through me. It was if it was some type of burn, and I didn’t understand why it bothered my heart so much. The word wasn’t even towards me - but it still hurt all at the same time. I moved my eyes to Delcan, who still was looking at the door. I’m sure he didn’t want to show that the comment had done to him at all.
But it didn’t matter that he wasn’t showing it, because I was more than angry. Angry that my dad could say something like that - and angry that I’m his son. My anger seemed to rise up inside of me as I resisted the huge urge to push open the closet door and start hitting my dad with all my might.
Once the thought came into my head, I quickly regretted it. I wasn’t a violent person - not even when I was pushed to my limit. And the thought of wanting to hurt my father only scared me that I was more like him.
“That word is highly-” Delcan’s father started, but before he could even finish, another voice overpowered his completely.
“Excuse me?” Callie said, her voice full of more anger than I’d ever heard it before. Another thing I quickly learned about Calliannah, she was just like her brother when it came to family. Say one bad thing - and they can throw some serious words around.
My dad wouldn’t stand a chance.
I heard footsteps turn around, and then Callie continuing. “What did you just say?”
“Who are you?” Dad asked, ignoring her questions.
“Name’s Callie,” she said, sounding just like her brother did when he was beyond pissed. “And I want you to know two things. One, I don’t mind going to jail for killing you. And two, what you just called my brother is offensive, and you should probably apologize.”
Thank you, Callie. You’re the best.
In all honesty, if I wasn’t so scared of what my dad would’ve done to me, I would’ve been all over him. But then I remembered something. When I got angry, I didn’t even realize the person I was. It was best to just hide, hoping Callie could say everything I wished that I could towards my dad.
“I don’t listen to little girls,” My dad said. Callie laughed without humor, and I knew that my dad was really starting to push his luck.
“First off, I’m fifteen,” Callie said. “And it doesn’t matter how old I am, because I can beat your ⟴ in less than a minute. Again, you need to apologize for what you just called my brother.”
It was about time Mr. Heslop said something. Clearing his throat, he began talking. “Enough with the threatening, Callie,” he demanded. “You know what are rules are.”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnBIbBgRXVD
“You said that Delcan and I shouldn’t do it unless we’re protecting the family. And, that we should never throw the first punch in a fight,” Callie said. Something about her tone made me have a feeling she was rolling her eyes. “But why does that matter? This man just said an extremely offensive name towards my brother. And I’m not ‘letting it slide’ like we let everything in this house.”
There was some silence in the room for a minute, and I felt wrong for wanting to know what she meant by letting things slide in the house. It felt wrong asking, though when I looked down, Delcan had his hands to his sides, clenched in fists.
“You don’t get to tell me what I’m allowed to do or not,” Dad said, starting up the conversation again. “I’m simply looking for my son, and that word isn’t my problem since it’s clear I can’t fix the curse given to this family.”
Okay, at this point, it was debatable on if I would ever hurt my dad physically.
“Get out of the 1800s, man,” Callie said, her voice seeming to rise with intensity. “How would you feel if I said that having four children was a ‘curse’? Of that being Christian is such a ‘curse’ that it should be forbidden? How would you feel if I began hurting the people you love?”
“Then what right to do you have to say that stuff about a person you don’t even know? The only person in this entire world who deserves to hurt him is me. That’s my job as his sister. I make him stronger by tearing him down. That’s how we love each other. And if you think it’s okay to go around calling people who are different than you offensive names because you don’t want them to be friends with your son, that’s wrong, and it clearly shows what a horrible parent you are,” Callie said. None of this was even wrong, because my dad was a lot worse than Evvie’s father, and that’s saying something.
“I didn’t know that a grown man could have the same respect as a two-year-old,” Callie continued. Your son isn’t here, but Mr. baby should give an apology before he leaves this house.”
This might have been the first time I’ve ever heard so many nice words come out of Callie’s mouth at once, especially all about her brother. And I don’t know why, but somewhere in between that conversation, I’d grabbed Delcan’s hand - and he’d smiled to me.
My dad took a breath before he started to speak again. And the words that left his mouth surprised me. “I shouldn’t have called your brother a faggot, that was wrong. My apologies, young lady.” Dad wasn’t exactly that type of dude that would apologize after something wrong that they did, and I didn’t understand why it was so different with Callie. Sure, she was scary at times, though she never exactly means any harm. Well, not that I know of, at least.
There was complete silence in the room for a few seconds, and everyone seemed to have been holding their breath - waiting for what would happen next.
“Get out,” Callie instructed. There was a small crack in the door on my side, and I was able to peek through it and see my dad walking past Callie, hitting her shoulder, hard. It seemed like Callie was about to charge after him, but Mr. Heslop grabbed her before she could do anything else. It seemed like she was trying, though eventually, she gave up.
Her father set her down, and she walked over to the closet.
“You two can get out now,” Callie said, still having some type of anger in her voice. Slowly, both Delcan and I walked out of the closet, neither of us really saying anything. I sat back as Delcan wrapped one of his arms around her in some type of form of a hug. Callie rolled her eyes, though she did smile.
Delcan was the first to pull off of her. “So you do love me?” he teased. Callie punched him in the gut, and he bent over from pain. This time, I raised my eyebrows.
“Wow, Callie,” I said, sarcastically. “Nice one.”
Callie turned and had to slightly put her head up, even though she wasn’t right up to me. “I’ll return the same favor to you, quarterback,” she threatened. I never understood why she called me that, though I guess it kind of was fair. The only reason why I was letting it slide today is because EastLand won against Oakwood.
Finally, Mr. Heslop took Callie’s arm. “Calm down, Calliannah,” he said. “Estás castigado por la noche, pero no durante toda la semana, ya que defendiste a tu hermano. Además, buen trabajo para romper en Ezra.” I have no clue what the Spanish was, though my name at the end caused Delcan to glare at his dad, and for Callie to smile.
I thought it’d be better not to ask.
Callie handed her phone to her dad slowly. Mr. Heslop began guiding her into her room before he turned back around and looked at the two of us. “Great job on the win, Ezra,” he said. I smiled to him and nodded since it was probably the first compliment he’s ever given me.
“Thanks,” I said.
Then, he turned to Delcan. And said something else in Spanish that I didn’t understand. “No te vuelvas muy loco hijo,” he said, pointing his finger to Delcan.
“Dad!” he responded, raising one of his eyebrows. “Get out of my room.”698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7c5sMNP6Hi
“Yo pago las facturas, usted vive aquí sin pagar el alquiler,” his dad responded, closing the door behind him. I’m sure my face has this entire look of confusion on it because I turned to Delcan and he shrugged.
“I’m not telling you what he said,” Delcan told me, sitting down on his bed.
I sighed and sat down next to him, not really sure if I should be texting my family at a time like this, or just letting it go at this point. “I feel like people who know I can’t speak Spanish just use it so that I don’t know what they’re talking about,” I said. Delcan rolled his eyes, but he was biting back a smile. “What did he say?”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnbCoERn8YG
“Secrets,” Delcan said, looking at me. He wasn’t going to give me a real answer, anyways. So I have no clue why I’m trying anymore. “Can we talk about what just happened?”
I shrugged. “Depending on which part that is,” I said. He had many choices to choose from. One, EastLand beating Oakwood. Two, a really awkward kiss in the locker room, which I didn’t exactly mean to do. Three, my brother, or my sister - just that entire conversation. Or four, my dad almost walking in on us making out. Now that was the worst one out of all of them. But of course, he had to pick the one that made me feel the most awkward.
“Why did you kiss me in the locker room?” he asked, making exact eye contact with me. His eyes were brown - which meant that he was curious.
I didn’t know if that was a good sign or not.
“Can I blame it on hormones?” I asked, trying to make some humor out of it. Delcan rolled his eyes, then gave me this be serious, Ezra Gatley look. “Okay, fine. I don’t know, seriously. It just happened - and - I’m sorry.”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡr3ZQvZYVl2
“Don’t apologize,” Delcan said to me. “Though, by the way, if you’re gonna surprise me with a kiss, I’d rather it be somewhere else where others haven’t been taking off their sweaty clothes.”
I smiled at him and nodded. “You wanna go over how my football team beat yours?”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡtTPUGFuOpX
His eyes seemed to have almost flashed to violet, which would’ve confused me since violet usually means fear. Though, they stayed their normal green color - which somehow worked with his skin color. “Yeah, yeah,” he said, rolling his eyes again. “It was one game. Doesn’t mean anything, Ezra.”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡoXfllI5hJR
“Everything has a meaning, Delcan,” I responded. I don’t know why the words exactly fell out of my mouth, they just did. My grandfather always used to say that to me. Everything has a meaning, Ezra. I never exactly knew what he meant, but then I was introduced to the butterfly effect, and having a crush on guys (plus having to pretend to love Haven), so then my grandpa’s words made complete sense.
Delcan took my hand, probably to get my attention or something, though it always made my brain kinda go fuzzy, and made me feel like everything was kind of weird since I didn’t understand why my brain just suddenly stopped working. “I mean the Angelica thing,” he said. “What are we doing about that?”
This time, my brain wasn’t completely blocked by touching him. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“She’s probably gonna try to contact me. I can just pull out sarcasm until she’s done with me, or could slowly hint it. What do you want me to do?”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡKeagKBcM30
I’d made some type of list in my head when Delcan and I started….whatever we’re doing. Dating? I guess so. Anyways, on the top of my list, it was something that people would hardly ever know about him.
One - He seems to have some type of need for direction. As if he can’t figure things out by himself.
Even when he seems more independent than I think he is, him asking for my opinion always changes my mind.
“Do whatever you want to,” I said. I knew that this answer would seriously stab me in the back later, though I had no right to tell Delcan what he could and couldn’t do in life. It felt wrong, and way out of place. Even when I did want things to go my way, I needed to learn that they couldn’t.
But that didn’t mean I’d stop trying.
Delcan looked at me. “I have social media,” he reminded me. I don’t know why he did, because I’m always looking at it, anyway. Well, at least when I should be doing other things. “People know me from that. She might’ve seen some video or photo of me, and taken it for herself. It really doesn’t mean she knows anything, anyways.” He was right since I’ve seen Angelica take screenshots of people before. Though, the thing is, I never know what she’s doing with them.
And, as if on cue, my phone started blowing up with text messages from everyone.
Little bro. Know it ain’t none of my business, but you need to tell Emmanuel about what’s going on.
Speaking of secrets, where r u?
E won’t stop annoying me. Plus, it’s your week to take care of him.
Slightly annoyed that my older brother was into my business now, I texted back quickly.
Can you do it today? And don’t tell him anything, alright? I’m fine, no need 2 worry.
Fine. But you better be home by the end of dinner. Evelyn and I can’t cover you forever, ya know.
Gotta go. Bye.
Bye, little bro.
I sighed as I set my phone down next to me, more than annoyed. “Apparently, my siblings are having a hard time telling my parents I’m at Haven’s,” I muttered, messing with my hair a bit. Yeah, I didn’t know what it looked like, but there was really nothing I could change about that at the moment. “How hard is that?”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPJhyhEl6h5
“Sorry, I didn’t get that - I don’t speak whiny teenager,” Delcan said. When I glared at him, he returned it with a smile. “Kidding.”
I looked away from him, and read the rest of the messages I had.
I’m really sorry about bringing Emmanuel in there, btw. Also, I did my best to get Angelica off your back. You’re welcome.
Hey, Ez. Just wanted to know where you are. Call me when you get the chance (great job on the win, btw!) My mom’s asleep, so we can talk about anything you’d like.
Question: Why are you “taking West Young on a tour?” We don’t even do that at our school. You’re secret is just getting easier as it goes.
Baby! I’m so happy that our school won! Such a big accomplishment!
Did u like our dance?
Hello….?698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡGe9PanFwTu
Fine, ignore me.
Babe, come on! Where are you rn?698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ5gLzQMVJrB
OKay, fine. Talk later, ig.
I didn’t know who to answer first. Though, I did know that I wanted to be that douche (A.K.A. Delcan sometimes. Okay, that’s an understatement. Most of the time) who would respond to a huge text with just “k”. Just once, I wanted to try it.
But I knew better than that. I also didn’t realize how many contacts I had on my phone until just now, too. There were also some texts from the guys on the football team, though those didn’t matter as much to me right now.
“Who would you answer first?” I asked Delcan, turning myself to him a little bit. “Your sister, your best friend, your girlfriend’s older sister, or your girlfriend?” He sighed, then actually thought it through for a second.
“Talk to the people who are most important,” he said, nodding like he believed it was a good answer, which it was. “So do that Haven ⟴ last.” I looked at him.
“Not cool, but nice,” I said, smiling. I started to text back Evelyn first, to which she ignored my message (like the sister she can sometimes be) and then texted back “K.” After that, I texted Evvie, simply telling her that we could talk some other time. Then I texted Haven, mainly just to get her off my back.
I texted Angelica lastly. Mainly because I was petrified of what she could possibly respond back with. But I needed to man up, seriously. Sure, Angelica was a 20-year-old woman who had much more power over me and could possibly ruin my entire life if she finds out that I’m gay. Then, she could tell Haven all she wanted about my secret, and then Haven and her big mouth would tell the entire school about it, and then parents would know and sooner or later - yeah, okay. I’m terrified of her.
Just tell me. The game is over, and you have no reason to not to just tell me. I can’t see you any other day, really, so say it now or forever hold your peace.
You know what, it’s not as important as I thought it was. They were probably joking.
My brain instantly realized the first word in that last sentence, and it felt as if my heart had stopped for a second. They? That means more than three people. Holy crap…..I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead.
I’ll ignore the ‘they’ part for now. Explain, Angelica.
Are you cheating on my sister?
Are you sure? What about that Evvie girl? She’s pretty, and she seems to like you, a lot.
Evvie and I are just friends. Trust me, I don’t like her anymore. I’m not cheating on Haven with any girl.
I remember this one time when u and Haven were chillin’ in the backyard. You had your arm around her, and then you got a text from someone. Your entire face lit up. So...who was that? Evvie?
⟴, she was good. I knew exactly what day she was talking about, too.
When Delcan and I began seeing each other, we used to talk almost every moment of every day (not that we don’t anymore because we do. But...school) So, when he would text me, I couldn’t even hide my emotions. I would glow like a freaking Jack-o’-lantern when he was the first one to text. Evelyn laughed at me when it happened too, which just made me start blushing. She said that I had a serious crush on Delcan. And she’s right, because I did then, and still really do.
And that day when he texted me, I forgot about Haven. I texted him back the second I could move my phone away from Haven and felt myself blush for that entire conversation. I’m sure that Angelica was curious about that, though she’d never mentioned it until now. She always gave me a bit of an evil eye when she would visit over those college breaks, and though I always wondered what her problem was, I could never piece it together. I was sure no one had a clue about Delcan and I…..but maybe I was wrong.
Well, when I was caught in a bad situation, there was only one thing left to do:
Lie and deny.
It was Evvie, and it was one of those inside jokes that best friends share.
If you think I’m cheating on Haven, just tell her that. I’m sure she’d love to hear you don’t want her to be happy.
I don’t trust you, Ezra Gatley. I know that you’re hiding something. And I will tell Haven once I find out how you and this Delcan Heslop guy connect. Nice try with the fake name, though.
Of course, she knows who Delcan is. Of course, she would know that name was a cover-up. Of course she would know that I’m lying, and of course, she will be as nosy as possible to get to the bottom of it.
I’ve never even heard of Delcan until today. He’s going to our school for this transfer program, so I thought it’d be nice to show him around. Is there a problem with that?
You know what, that’s cool, Ezra. But I think he likes you or something…
The two of us just met, and he’s straight that I know of. Nice job putting labels on people, Angelica.
Have a good evening, Ezra.
I set down my phone on the bed sheets just as Delcan grabbed it. For a split second, I’d actually forgotten that he was here for a second, and then I felt the overpowering feeling to protect my phone from him. “Give it back, Delcan,” I said, holding out my hand.
“What?” he asked. “What kind of secrets could a 16-year-old guy in the closet have on his phone?”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡhxL3MifWiu
I rolled my eyes and then tried to reach for my phone again, though he snatched it away just in time. Then I realized how dumb it was to be worried. It wasn’t like he knew my password, anyway. “Have fun trying to get into that,” I said, watching him as he did something that seriously shocked me.
He typed in a few numbers and then showed my phone to me.
It was unlocked.
He knows my password.
“How did you-”
698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPKw568cPIv
“Evelyn told me. Ever since then, It’s kind of been lodged into my memory,” he said. Just by the look on my face, he smiled, just like a fox would. “You seriously can’t be mad about this. I’ll let you know my password if you want.”
“You would give me permission to go through your phone?” I asked eagerly, knowing the first thing I’d do were go through his photos. Yes, I know that’s being nosy, and I know that’s rude. But hey, everyone’s nosy in their own special way.
Delcan didn’t answer my question. Instead, he just pressed his lips in a line before he started talking again. “Did you just finish talking to Angelica?” he asked, clicking on my messages. I was happy that I wasn’t one of those people who gave everyone on their nicknames, because Delcan’s would’ve been super embarrassing. I looked over his shoulder though, since rule number two was always right.
Two - You can never exactly trust Delcan. Well, you probably could. Depends on your relationship with him.
Though I wouldn’t consider myself overprotective or controlling, and I was really trusting Delcan to hold my phone at the moment. He read through the texts between Angelica and I, laughing at some of them, but adding no commentary. Once he was finished, he handed my phone back to me. “So...not only does she think I’m gay, but that I like you,” Delcan said, his voice kind of hard to tell if he was angry or not.
I shook my head, oddly feeling some type of embarrassment for him. “I’m so sorry, Delcan. I didn’t think any of this would get turned onto you.”
“It’s fine,” Delcan said, shrugging. “I don’t mind it. Yeah, I’m gay, and yeah, I like you. But - feelings aren’t my strong suit, so...it’s hard to tell if she hates me, or if she just has this jealousy to her.”
I looked at him, smiling. “How many people are jealous of you?”698Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡtmj2NVVeni
“Oh, the list goes on and on,” he said. I laughed as I put my arm around him. Then, just as I really did think it’d be a cute moment, Callie came in and changed the mood completely.ns 18.104.22.168da2