Seth Johnson looked up at the big front doors of his high school. 'I can do this' he said to himself. He took a deep breath and walked inside.

Just as he expected, there were a lot of people in the hallway. However, what he didn't expect was that they would all look at him like they always did, not as if he was a freak. 'Maybe they can't tell' he thought to himself. Seth took another deep breath and continued walking down the hall to his locker.

Spinning the lock to open it, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and saw Julie, one of his two best friends. "Hey Seth! Wow, it's been forever, I didn't get to see you at all this summer. It totally sucked, I was like missing half of myself. I'm so glad you're home now though, I mean you are never leaving me to go to California for the whole summer ever again! It was too boring, and Scott agrees with me!" Scott was Seth's other best friend, and Julie's boyfriend. Seth took a second to compose himself and looked at Julie. "Listen, Julie, I really missed you too, but I really need to talk to you about something important...like urgently..." Julie looked at him. She could tell from the look on his face that something was up. She had never seen him like this in the 15 years that they had been friends. "Hey, Seth, you can always count on me to talk to about anything, what's going on?" Seth looked around, nervous as hell, he was sweating now, and he didn't know if he could go through with it. "Uh...well...you know what, never mind. I'll just tell you later, preferably alone..." Julie looked into his crystal blue eyes and could tell it was something very important, but decided not to argue. "Alright, well my parents are out of town for the week, and Scott's coming over later to make us dinner, why don't you join us?" Seth wasn't sure whether or not he wanted Scott to be there. Obviously he trusted him, and they were close enough to be brothers, and they loved each other as if they were, but he wasn't sure he was ready to tell him this particular news. "Alright, I guess I can come over. Actually, I have a better idea, why not let me give you a ride home from school, and then we'll just stay there until Scott comes over?" Julie was starting to worry. Never had she seen Seth this stressed over something. And the fact that he didn't want to tell Scott about whatever it was also bothered her. "Seth, you're starting to scare me...are you dying or something? Like what is going on?" Seth laughed a little, and cracked a weak smile, showing his dimples. "No Julie, I'm not going to die...well everyone dies eventually...but no, it's nothing like that. I just have something that I have to get off my chest, and I'd rather not do it now, or in front of everybody else. I'm not even sure if I want to tell Scott yet, but I'll figure that out later. Anyway, meet me here after class, and we'll go to your house." Julie was relieved that he wasn't telling her that he had cancer or something like that, but was still worried. She shrugged it off, gave Seth a peck on the cheek as they always did, and agreed to meet him after class. She walked off to her locker, leaving Seth standing there alone.

The bell rang signaling he had five minutes to get to his first class. He got his books, closed his locker, and went to his class.

Pre-confederation history was possibly the most boring class Seth had ever taken. With the only possible exciting topic being of the war of 1812, and that was only because the British (Canada) kicked America's ass. And even that was pretty dull, with the way his teacher, Mr. Lancroft taught. "God, you'd think war and murder and death was boring, the way he talks about it" Scott said to Seth. Mr. Lancroft spoke in a very monotonous voice that tended to lull his students to sleep. The only good aspect of this class was that Seth had it with Scott, as well as Tony and Josh, two of his other good friends from football. Scott was sitting beside Seth and leaned over and whispered into Seth's ear "Jesus, there is no way in hell Lancroft could get any more boring. I mean who the fuck cares about the ten causes of the Annapolis settlement. Remind me again, why did we take this class?" Seth stifled a laugh and whispered back "I'm pretty sure it's because you're parents told you that if you took one more gym class, they were going to disown you, and I took it because you made me." This time it was Scott who stifled a laugh. "Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about that convo. Well, whatever, who says that three gym classes in one semester is too many?" Seth rolled his eyes and laughed at his friend.

They had grown up together, and been on the football team together since grade nine. Both boys were built, with big arms, large and firm pecs, really defined six-pac abs, and muscular legs. Scott was 5'11, had shortish dark brown hair tipped blond, a chiselled face, and brilliant hazel eyes. Every girl in the school thought he was a hunk, but he was a good guy, and he knew that Julie was the girl for him. Seth was 6'2, had blond hair about an inch longer than Scott's, he also had a chiselled face, with a strong jaw, and blue eyes that many people thought of as dreamy. All the girls thought that he was an Adonis too, but he was content staying single. "Besides," he'd always say "I don't have time for a girlfriend. I have football, Student's Council, homework, helping my dad out all the time, and tutoring." No one ever gave him a hard time about it, and it wasn't a big deal. Scott wanted to get into the gym more so that he could put on some more muscle. Neither of them was huge, not like a body builder, just muscular and toned. Seth still had about twenty pounds on Scott, and Scott thought that this might be the reason that he was made captain. Scott wanted to be co-captain. He thought that he had earned it the year before, but Coach Santos had chosen Nick because he had proven himself as a slightly better player. But Nick had graduated and moved on to Guelph with a full football scholarship, and the team needed a new co-captain. Coach Santos hadn't yet met with Seth to decide upon a new one, but Scott was trying to do as much working out as possible so that he would be the obvious choice. He didn't quite realize that it was based on performance, not just bulk. Scott had always done his team well, but he never thought about that, he just thought that if he put on some more muscle he'd be chosen. This was the reason for the three gyms in one semester.

Scott looked over at Seth "By the way, since you're going to be driving over to Julie's after school, do you mind giving me a ride? This way I won't have to go all the way home and then turn around and go to her house. It'll save me a trip." Seth was a little annoyed with Julie, she had explained that he wanted to tell her alone, and yet she already told Scott that he was planning on going over to her house. Hiding his annoyance, he turned to Scott and said "Yeah man, no problem. I assumed you'd be coming with me anyway. We're basically brothers; I've known you since we were born. You don't even need to ask." Scott looked a little sheepish and grinned. "You're the best buddy, thanks man!"

The rest of the day droned on and on. By the time fourth period finally ended, Seth couldn't wait to get out of there. He practically ran to his locker, opened it, grabbed his bag and closed it again. He didn't have to wait long for Julie and Scott to come. They were walking down the hall holding hands. Seth smiled to himself, he had to admit that they were basically the perfect couple, and he was happy for both of them.

"Hey guys, ready to go?" Julie nodded and Scott put his arm on Seth's shoulder saying "Lead the way." The three of them walked out of the building and over the grass to the other side of the school, where the student parking was. Scott pulled out his keys and pressed the automatic start. He grinned despite himself. He couldn't help it; every time he saw his car he was happy.

Seth's mom had died when Seth was very young. After getting divorced from Seth's father, she had remarried a very rich man, who was the CEO of a major corporation. However, shortly after marriage, she had died of leukemia, leaving Seth truly alone with only his dad left. This all had happened when Seth was around 6. She left him almost everything in her will, including some money for college and other things. This money though had been put into a trust fund, and Seth couldn't touch it until he turned 18. On his birthday, he gained access to it, but being an intelligent guy, he only used a small portion of the money to buy his car, leaving the rest for university. His birthday had been in July, so no one had yet seen his car; he couldn't wait to see Scott and Julie's reaction. They assumed that he was still driving the old Ford Focus. When they came in sight of the running car, Seth saw as Scott's jaw fell, and Julie's eyes widened with disbelief. "No...freakin'...way..." was all that Scott was able to get out. Julie managed a "That's not a..." before Seth interrupted with "...not an Aston Martin 3650? Yeah, sure is actually." He laughed, he couldn't help it. This car was his pride and joy. Nothing made him happier than spending time washing it, waxing it, and just in general keeping it looking its best. It made him feel like a part of his mom was still there; something that she had left him, so he took extremely good care of it.

Scott pinched himself saying "I'm dreaming. There is no way..." Julie just stared. Neither of them could believe it. This was a one in a billion car. As Seth got into the driver's seat, he had to turn around to yell at his friends "Hey, are you guys going to walk? Or are you catching a ride? Like jeeze, hurry the hell up." He was still laughing. As they got into the car though, Seth remembered what he was about to tell them, and he stopped smiling.

They drove to Julie's house in almost total silence, Julie had told Scott that there was something that Seth had needed to tell them, and it was serious. Scott had no idea what is was about, but was worried about his friend from the way he heard Julie talk about how he had acted that morning. Julie was also lost in her thoughts, wondering what it could be that is bothering Seth so much. She hated seeing any of her friends having problems, and worse still because she was so close with Seth. She was just going to have to wait and see what it was that was bothering Seth so much.

They got out of the car and Julie unlocked her door and ushered them all inside. They went straight into her living room, and sat down on her plush leather couch. Julie's parents both held high paying jobs, and they lived very comfortably. "I'm going to get us some drinks." Scott headed off to the kitchen. "There's some iced tea in the fridge," Julie called out. She looked at Seth, trying to decide how to help him open up about whatever it was that's causing a problem. She could see that her friend was off in his own little world, not really looking at anything.

Julie scooted over on the couch until she was right next to him. She put her arm around his shoulders and said "Listen, Seth, you know you can always tell us anything right? We're always going to be here for you, nothing you say or do is going to change that." Seth looked at his friend and gave a weak smile. "I know I can trust you guys with anything, it's just that this is so hard. You and Scott are almost like family to me, especially after mom died. I'm so glad that I have friends like you two. I just wish...I just wish that I wasn't me sometimes."

Julie was shocked to hear this. Never in her life had she heard Seth talk like this. A tear fell down his cheek, and it was followed by more. Julie embraced him, trying to help him feel better, but the silent tears kept falling. "I haven't cried in years...I can't even believe I'm crying right now." Scott came back to the living room, but seeing his best friend sitting on the couch crying, with his girlfriend trying to console him, something told him to just stay where he was, and let the two friends talk it out.

"When I was in California over the summer break, I was the happiest I ever have been. I was spending time with my cousin Tucker and his parents, who I hardly ever get to see. Since my parents divorced, they have shown so much care for me. They always tried to get me over for Christmas, and whenever my parents were fighting, they would let me call them and talk to them about it. Being in that house, with so much love, I realized a few things about myself. Not at first, it took me awhile, but by the end of the summer, a change had come over me. My cousin is 21, and so we would always be hanging out together since we're so close in age. He showed me all over Huntington Beach, where he lives. We would spend hours surfing, and then come in, get changed, and go clubbing. I met all of his friends, and they're so cool, I've never met people like them. They're so free spirited, so kind, and so smart. One of his friends, Tommy, and I...we got really close. We started hanging out a lot. I didn't think anything of it when he told me he was gay. It's not as if that changes me at all. And no one else cared either, so why should I? Anyway, one night he had a beach party. It seemed as if everyone from Huntington was there. It was so much fun. At around 3am, everyone started leaving. My cousin offered me a ride home, but I told Tommy I would help him clean up, and he said he could drop me off after. So, eventually everyone else had left. I was still a little bit drunk, but coming down from my buzz, and we were just finishing cleaning up. Tommy came over to me and told me to sit down in the sand. I did and he sat down next to me. It was a full moon that night, and it was reflecting off the ocean. It was bright, but it was really nice. I remember that it was starting to get a little chilly, and Tommy looked at me shivering and took off his sweater and made me put it on. I was grateful, but worried that he was going to get cold. 'Relax' he said 'I'm used to this. Mind you, for a Canadian, you're not dealing with the chill all that well.' He laughed and I smiled. 'You're really sexy when you smile, you have the cutest dimples I've ever seen, and the way the moon reflects off of your eyes...I could get lost in those eyes.' I remember him saying that to me, and the way I felt after hearing him say that. I wasn't angry, or upset, or bothered at all, I liked hearing him say that to me. It was weird. I felt so happy sitting there with him. I looked into his eyes, and I kissed him. That was when I knew I was gay."

Julie sat there looking at Seth, stunned out of her mind. "Oh my god...Seth..." Seth started to cry again, softly, but enough that the other two noticed. "Look, if you guys don't want to hang out with me anymore, I'll understand. I know it's weird and that it doesn't make sense. I'll understand it if you hate me..."

Scott walked over to Seth, speechless, and sat down next to him. He wasn't sure how he felt about Seth being gay, but he knew how he felt about Seth. He grabbed his friend by the shoulders and pulled him into a tight hug. "It took a lot of guts for you to tell us that. But I can't believe you don't know us better than that after all we've been through. Of course we don't hate you. This doesn't change anything between us. Julie and I still love you, and we always will." Seth looked up into Scott's face. "Thank you for being there for me." He collapsed onto his friend embracing him. "Seth I respect you for telling us. Although I'm not sure why you were worried about telling me...Scott I can understand, he's a guy, and that's different. But didn't you know? Every girl wants a gay best friend!" All three of them started laughing at this. Seth stopped crying and grabbed his friends. He hugged them both as he said "I love you guys, more than anything. I'm not sure what I'd do without you."

 

Josh Volland

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