Chapter 1: The Fight

"Stop! Just stop you arrogant skank!" Jack felt himself stand up out of his desk. The recipient of this verbal bashing, Josh,was his name, sat there smirking. "You think you're so perfect, you're no better than anyone else, so why act it?" the room had formed into a still hush, staring at the skinny white kid yelling at the top of his lungs.

"Sit down faggot!" Josh's bangs dashed out of his eyes as he flicked his head to oneside. "Damn, he's cute," the thought flickered in and out of Jack's head, leaving him with a moment of stunned agony.

"You're one to talk! Which one of us has sucked themost-" he was cut off by Mrs. Hale's large mass that shuffled as she clearedher throat. Jack sat back down, he may have been thwarted this time, but it wasn't over, not by a long shot. He had accomplished his main goal, to get people thinking. A murmur already passed between Josh's friends and it rippled out until the entire room was filled with a quivering sensation.

Most people were astonished Jack would ever dream of saying such a thing. He was the typical drama geek, seen wearing whatever he could find in his closet; mostly band t-shirts and blue jeans. He had messy black hair and thick-rimmed glasses. No one could imagine him screaming at the Josh Smith. Josh's asymmetrical hair covered one of his hazel eyes, which now cut Jack into tiny little pieces. How dare someone of such low social rank speak to him like that?

Ms. Hale waddled over to the board and wrote something about the new book they wereplanning to read. Jack flipped Josh the bird and Josh just smirked evilly. Nothing fazed him, and that made Jack even madder. She began a long droll over the book,explaining its history and other boring facts that deterred most people fromeven looking in her general direction. In this opportune moment, someone wrote, "Josh is a fag" on theboard. Jack smiled in self-triumph but he found no closure in Josh's stoic expression.

Unfortunately, as usual, the bell didn't seem to ring soon enough and the students practically ran out to avoid getting an assignment. The rest of the day pushed on in slow agony, but Jack felt accomplishedin the fact Josh was completely humiliated, whether he wanted to admit it ornot. But back to Jack's sexuality; he's been gay for about 3 years now. He found out when he crushed on his best friend Dave, but luckily, he moved on quickly. No one at his school really knows, but it wouldn't matter if they did, Jack is Jack, nothing more, nothingless, what did he care what others thought? Well, technically, he did care what the homophobic lumberjack-sized jocks thought, 'cause they were renowned for their gay bashing, but other than that, who cares? But, Josh threatened to transform his dirty little secret, more like dirty little half-life, into a full blown, well-known fact.

As he stepped out into the cool afternoon air he caught a glimpse of Josh's blonde hair blowing about in thin wisps. A mob of jocks seemed to appear out of nowhere and Jack's eyebrows raised and his pupils retracted with fear. His mom's car pulled up and he made a mad dash for it, trying to ignore the burly guys now cracking their knuckles. Damn that Josh, damn him! He probably told themeverything…but he couldn't really do that because that would call his sexuality into question. "Man, I hate high school," he thought as he strapped himself in.

"Rough day?" his mom's fluid voice floated into the air, a lot like the choking smoke from the end of her cigarette. Jack's nose wrinkled under the bridge of his glasses and he cracked his window. Of all the things his mother did, smoking was his least favorite. But there was a lot to like about her. She was pretty cool, she let him go out whenever he wanted, within reasonable limits of course and she let him do pretty much anything that wasn't too morally questionable. She even walked in on him and Josh making out and didn't say anything but "whoops," Ugh, there goes not thinking about Josh.

The memories came flooding back as the land outside the windows blurred away from him. He closed his eyes and remembered kissing Josh for the first time, their lips pressed together in front of the flickering screen in a movie theater (how cliché Jack thought with disgust), last summer. Their relationship had snowballed from that point. He truly was happy then-that thought suddenly ended as Isabelle's thin, pale face raced across his eyelids. Isabelle…Josh cheated with her, of all people. Jack felt the stab of anguish that he felt walking into school and seeing them kiss, right there in front of him, smiling at him afterward. His eyes popped open and he averted them to the ceiling. "Josh is an ass, let's leave it at that," he said, biting a fingernail.

"That's a bad habit, stop it," she said, but looking at her cigarette shrugged and continued driving. They turned into their driveway a couple of minutes later and they stepped into their modest living room, not much could be afforded on a single mother's paycheck. Jack laid his stuff down beside the door and kicked off his shoes. They ate their dinner, sitting in front of the T.V., bursting out in random fits oflaughter. Jack kissed his mother goodnight and went to his room. He laid in bed awhile, contemplating his next move on Josh, but gave it up as a petty obsession he needed to get over. So what, some guy cheated on him, what's it matter?