Saturday

March 24th

2005

The sun shone with all its annoying brilliance into Alex's bedroom. Since early that morning, he had placed his pillow over his head in an attempt to block it out; however, this tactic did not allow him any gainful rest. Pulling his head out from under the pillow, he gazed at the clock. Its red digital letters read twelve-fifteen.

Throwing his face back into his pillow, he moaned. In his mind, he tried to go over what needed to be done for the day. As usual, he had been buried under a sky high pile of homework by his teachers. Oddly, however, he had worse things to worry about.

One, being his mother.

Indeed, she was still there; one week after her exposé of his worst secret. No, there was worse than that- they still did not know that he was going to be a daddy come September. He had no clue how he would bring that up; how would one tell their father that they were going to be a grandpa at the grand old age of 36? And his mother? He did not even want to think about her reaction.

There was still the issue of the exposé though. Even though his father had not seen the actual event take place, Alex still had trouble looking him in the eyes. His mother's occasional jabs about his sexuality did not help either.

"How am I ever going to be a grandma when my son's a fag?" He had heard that one far too often. He had been tempted though, once or twice, to blurt out that she was already going to be a grandma, but he thought better of it. He knew that once she found out who the baby's mother was, well, he would hear something to this affect:

"What? Alex, if you're going to do it with a girl, you should at least have the decency to do it with a Macedonian girl. Do you think we are not good enough for you? I'm sure a Macedonian girl could have given you a lot better sex than that black one. And the baby, its not going to be Macedonian. Why have you rejected your heritage? How could you do this to me?"

Et cetera…

Alex turned his head, and looked at the clock once more. The red numbers now read twelve-twenty. Groaning, Alex pulled himself out of his bed. Throwing a shirt on, he sleepily trudged out of his room and down the stairs.

Now on the bottom floor, he tip-toed past the living room as not to make any noise. It was to no avail however, for within seconds he would hear his mother's voice.

"What, you cannot say 'hi' to me? How rude!"

Alex stared at his moment, his face blank. "Good morning," he then grumbled, turning to finish his trip to the kitchen. He had not even taken half of a step before his mother spoke again.

"Good Morning? Isn't it a bit late for that? More like Good Afternoon. God, Alex…"

At this point, Alex began to tune her out.

He walked into the kitchen, not paying attention to his surroundings. It took him a few seconds to realise that his father was standing right there, fixing something for his lunch.

Alex froze. He had been trying to avoid his father for some time now. Turning on heel, he tried to get out of the kitchen before he arose his father's attention.

"Why you running away from me? Come here, help me make this."

Alex paused, as a feeling of dread began to gather deep within his stomach. Turning around, he grabbed a knife and began to chop onions. Without a word, he concentrated his task, keeping his eyes focused in upon the cutting board.

With the task done, he pushed the finished product over towards his father. He was in the process of wiping his hands when his father spoke again.

"Where you going? Do you not want to spend time with me? What's the rush…"

At that moment, his mother barged into the kitchen. "Yeah, one would think he would like to cook you know, since girls like to cook and only girls like boys."

Alex bite down on his lip so hard, that it almost bled. Don't say anything; don't give her the pleasure of getting to you. You can't hear her.

"And considering that the kitchen is supposed to be a woman's domain, it takes quite the man to come into one," his father added. "Especially when he's a young teenaged boy paranoid about his identity."

"He already has an identity; he fucks boys."

"After seventeen years of knowing him, that's the best definition of who he is that you can come up with? My, Katy, I wonder how much you knew about him before you found out he was gay."

"I knew a lot about him. He didn't become like this until he started living with you, after all."

At that point, Alex just about had it. His bottom lip was sore now; he had been refraining from saying anything for very long. His stomach trembled, the words wanting to escape. He wanted to scream at her, he wanted to hit her; anything to make her shut up.

Instead, he stormed out of the kitchen.

He made sure to slam his door as hard as possible upon entering his bedroom. He could still hear his parents exchange downstairs; the words were muted, but it sounded like both were remaining calm. Not that Alex could expect it would get heated; his father knew just as well as he did that letting his mother get to him would only give her a feeling of self-satisfaction. In addition to that, Ekaterina never yelled; that was her tactic, remain calm, and goat them into getting angry.

No, she would just nag at him, just as she had for the past week. "You made him gay", "It's from your side of the family, not mine", "You were too soft on him, that's why you made him a girl"; Alex had heard it all.

He threw himself on to his bed, and smuggled himself away under the sheets. He threw a pillow over his head, hoping to block out what little he could hear of his parent's conversation. He was sick of it; sick of this crap. Day in, and day out, it was all he heard. He wanted peace.

How long he remained under the covers for, he did not now. What he did know however was that eventually, the arguing faded away, and there was silence. Soon there after, there was a rapping at his door.

"Can I come in?" It was his father.

"Whatever," Alex replied, his voice muffled by his pillow.

He heard his father move into his room, and then felt a slight jolt as he sat down on his bed.

"What do you want?" Alex asked, pulling his head out from under his pillow. He looked at his father, as he waiting, expectantly, for an answer.

"I wanted to see if you were okay," his father replied, shrugging his shoulders.

Alex sighed, and turned his head so that his eyesight was now set upon his headboard. "Why do you defend me?" he asked, almost muttering the query.

"I beg you pardon?"

"Dad, why do you defend me? I mean, seriously, what do you have to gain from it," at this point Alex turned himself over, and looked at his father. "Not that I don't want you to defend me, but why do you care? Why do you bother fighting with her?"

His father remained silent for a few moments, lost in thought as he tried to conjure up a reply. Finally, he spoke.

"Why do I care? Because I need to care. Because I should care; that's why."

"Wouldn't it be easier to just agree with her? Agree that I am a sick homo, you know. I thought you were religious. Doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that I am a sicko who deserves to be burned at the stake."

At this point, his father leaned over and placed a firm hand on Alex's shoulder. "No, it does not say that anywhere in the Bible. But the Bible does mention love and compassion." He sighed. "Alex, I don't think that you are sick, and I don't want you to think that you are sick either. But what you are Alex is my son, and I love you very much. And so does your mother."

Alex laughed. "You're joking, right?"

"No, Alex, I'm serious. She would have taken off to Macedonia much sooner had she not loved you. She waited until you were old enough to be by yourself," he paused before continuing. "And most of all, she waited until she was sure that I was no longer a threat to your health and safety before she left you with me."

Alex cringed at his father's last statement. Quickly, he tried to suppress the memories that came to mind; the drunkenness, the beatings, the cursing- all things he needed to forget.

"Living with her was probably just as bad as living with you though," Alex replied, not quite sure of the statement himself.

"Alex, you know that was not true," his father replied, his voice stern.

"Yeah, but living with her certainly was no vacation," Alex muttered under his breath. "You'd better be careful though, before she starts calling you gay," Alex then said so that his father could hear it, adding in a laugh.

"Trust me; she has a few times already," his father replied, as he got up and began walking out of the room.

"Dad, you seriously aren't gay though, right?" Alex asked, stopping his father in the doorway, still confused as to his father's motives. Alex realised that the question was stupid as soon as the last word left his mouth.

"No, but I lost someone very special to me by being a homophobic buffoon. I am not about to loose another."

And with that, his father left the room.

A/N: Yes, finally a new chapter! Took me forever, and its unedited for please forgive me for its rough edges. I would like to thank those who reviewed the last chapter. Hope you enjoy! Review!