Over the past few months, Toby and Sean have grown as friends and as people. But, Sean was hiding the fact that he is still getting bullied. On the bus, in the gym, walking home, everywhere where Toby isn't. Sean couldn't hide it anymore; he needed to tell Toby.
[later that morning]
"so they just twisted your arm and hurt you?" Toby signed. "yeah.... He said something that had to do with a seat or something, but thats all I could read from his lips." Toby noticed a tear form in Sean's light blue eyes. "Why do--" someone pushed Sean into the lockers right in front of Toby. "hey, asshole!! You got somethin' against someone whose deaf?!" Sean could tell that Toby was pissed. "well, he should have heard me coming." he answered smartly. Toby was losing his patience. "he's DEAF. you idiot." Toby said taking a step towards him. "back the fuck up dude." the boy said shoving Toby. They started fighting; Sean rushed over to them, trying to break up the fight, when a stray punch hit Sean in the face. He grabbed his left eye and fell back. Shortly after, Two bystanders stepped in and broke up the fight after Sean was knocked down. Toby looked over at Sean and saw the bruise he had left. "I didn't mean to hit you. Are you ok?" Toby signed with a sympathetic look on his face. "I'm ok." Sean replied climbing to his feet. Toby glanced at the boy that pushed Sean and followed Sean to first period. "what was that?" sean signed angrily. "i was protecting you." toby replied. "you didnt need to hit him! Use your words, thats why you have.... Hearing." Sean signed looking at toby. "I'm just really protective of my friends." Toby added. "is it because I'm deaf?" Sean signed with a puzzled expression on his face. "no, it's not that. It's because I like you." Toby added. Sean didn't say anything until they got to their classroom. Sean sat down next to Toby and the teacher began talking. "Toby tapped on Sean's shoulder and started interpreting. "in 1774, 10 of the 13 colonies declared war on Great Britain due to the Higher tax rates. Can anyone tell me when South Carolina declared war on Great Britain?" toby interpreted. Sean didn't know the answer. Toby tapped on Sean's shoulder and asked if he could talk to him for a minute. "sure." Sean signed. "this is hard to say, but I... I like you." Toby signed. "I do too, Toby." Sean signed. "I mean... I REALLY like you."
"I do--" Toby kissed Sean. Right in front of everyone. Sean's eyes fluttered shut as he felt Toby wrap his arms around him. Sean's heart raced, but he didn't pull away. Sean started to return the kiss, but when he did, Toby pulled away. People were gasping and whispering. "the deaf kid is gay too? Damn!" one kid yelled. Toby glared at him menacingly, and the boy was quiet. Sean was surprised beyond belief. "Did he just?" he thought. Toby smiled slightly at Sean, but Sean was still in shock. He couldn't believe that the hottest guy in the whole school just kissed HIM. this was all new to him due to the fact that he had never even talked to girls or guys, let alone kiss them! Sean turned around and slumped in his chair with a face as red as a fire hydrant. As soon as the class was over, Sean jumped out of his seat and headed outside for some fresh air. This has never happened to Sean before. Sean is falling for Toby. His phone went off, signaling the start of 2nd period. Sean walked into the school and upstairs to his economics class on the 2nd floor. He turned the corner and tightened up at what he saw. The group of kids from the bus were nearing his location. He tried to make as little eye contact with them as he passed them on the way back. They were talking to him clearly, but he just couldn't hear them. He could tell however, that they were going to try and hurt him, so he ran. He looked behind him to see them gaining on him inch by inch. He saw a bathroom and shoved open the door, hoping that they will keep running forwards, but he was wrong.
They followed him into the bathroom as he tried to get away and locked the door. Sean wasn't afraid anymore. He changed his stance to a fighting stance to protect himself, then raised his fists in front of his face. "Ha ha! The deaf kid is gonna fight us!? He must be off his rocker!" one boy said. A punch hit Sean square in the jaw, sending him back. Sean had felt this feeling of anger rush over him; he charged the leader and tackled him. He threw punch after punch at the boy's face. It wasn't soon after that the leader's friends pulled him off and started kicking him in the face and torso; leaving huge welts and bruises in it's wake. "at least I hurt one of them..." Sean thought. A boot caught him right in the eye, causing temporary blindness for a few seconds. He crunched up into a little ball and covered his mid-section from anymore damage. Sean was bleeding out of his nose and mouth; lying in a pool of his own blood. The gang spat on Sean, kicked him a few more times, then was gone. Sean rolled onto his back and gazed at the ceiling, and he soon blacked out from all of the pain.
"what's wrong?" Mark asked Toby as Toby stared off into space. "I don't know, I just have a really bad feeling 'bout something." he replied. "what?"
"well... I told someone that I care for that I like them, and I haven't seen him since. I mean, he has a different class right now, but I usually walk him to it."
"wait, your....gay?" he said in a hushed tone. "I think so." Toby answered. "I don't have a problem with that. I hope your friend is ok."
"....I gotta go to the bathroom." Toby whispered. He jumped from his chair and walked out of the room towards the bathroom. He turned the corner and pushed the creaky door slowly open and his jaw hit the floor. "oh my god!" he yelled. He rushed to Sean's battered body and screamed for help. Sean's breathing was slow and shallow, and there was no way of knowing how much blood he lost due to the drain, but Toby knew that he needed to get Sean to a hospital. "HELP!" he screamed once again. "PLEASE, ANYONE!" he cried. He knew the wounds were bad, and that Sean was probably bleeding internally. Mr. Archer, a history teacher rushed in and saw Toby holding Sean. "someone beat him up...."
Toby watched from outside the hospital room as the doctors and nurses were examining Sean. Sean went in for x-rays and it was confirmed that he was suffering from internal bleeding. The doctor came out of the room and told Toby that Sean needs surgery. He watched as Sean was taken into the surgery wing of the hospital and Toby followed. "you can stay out here." the doctor said. "he's deaf, he needs someone to sign when he wakes up." Toby said. "we'll get an interpreter." the doctor said. "he won't talk to any of them but me." Toby yelled. There was a slight pause, then the doctor spoke. "this way." he said. Sean's parents soon arrived. "where is our son?!" Sean's father Andrew yelled. "he was hurt at school today, and I brought him to the hospital." Toby said. "oh? And who are you, young man?" he said. "my name is Toby, and I'm a friend of Sean's." Toby said. "but how could you talk to him? He's deaf." his mother, Margaret said. Sean's mom is also deaf. "I'm fluent in ASL. My brother was deaf." Toby signed while talking. "are you the same Toby that Sean talks about all the time?" Michael said. "yes." Toby replied. "He really likes you, Toby. Sean hasn't been close to many people, but we're glad that he is able to be close with someone other than his brother and family." Sean's dad said. The doctor came in the room with an interpreter close behind. "I apologize for the interruption, but Sean is awake." the doctor said. "He asked for a Mr. Toby Moreland." said the interpreter. Toby rushed into the room and there was Sean with his ribs taped and his arm in a sling. "hey." Toby signed. "hi Toby."
"how are you feeling?"
"I don't feel anything because of the morphine." Sean signed. Toby smiled and so did Sean. The rest of Sean's family flooded the room. "who did this to you?!" his mother signed. "I dont know." Sean signed. "but I'm glad that my Boyfriend was there." Sean signed smiling to Toby. "boyfriend?" Sean's dad signed. "everyone, meet Toby, my boyfriend." Toby blushed. Sean's smile faded into a grimace because the morphine was wearing off. He pressed the button to dispense more and he looked back at Toby. "I.... Love you, Toby." Sean said out loud. Toby smiled and signed. "I love you too Sean."
"Toby, he has never talked once. Not even to us, which is a shame because he has such a comforting voice." his father said. "but, I understand why he doesn't speak. He is deaf after all." his father chuckled. "we'll be outside. We are going to give you guys some space." his father signed to Sean. They quickly vanished. "I'm so happy that I have you." Sean signed. Toby smiled. "I'm glad that I have you, Sean." Toby sat down next to him and all they did was talk.