Fragments of Faith

Written By:
Shadow "Kite" Kitsune

Chapter One:
Center of Desire

Ah, another day in Algebra 2. My absolute favorite class of all time. Not because I like math.... but because of him. Michael Jantomasso....

Isaac Gilman sat daydreaming in his fourth period Algebra 2 class. It was an everyday occurrence to him, sitting there, gazing across the room at the object of his deepest desires. The one known as Michael Jantomasso, or Mike as his friends called him. Isaac had kept a major crush on him ever since his ninth grade year. They had never had a class together anytime in the past. But now, in Isaac's Junior year in high school, he finally had a class with him. Only thing was, Isaac was too shy to say anything to him.

Michael, with his short, chestnut brown hair, his rugged goatee, and his jade green eyes sat with his head propped up on one hand, listening to the teacher, Mrs. Facey, teach her lesson. Isaac adored everything about the other Junior. His eyes. His hair. His smile. His body. It was enough to cause Isaac's heart to flutter. As much as he wanted to sit next to him, just so he could be close to him, Isaac knew that it would probably only distract him more than he already was. And given his current grade in the class, the last thing he needed was any more distractions. He was never any good in math, and struggled to maintain a C in any math class he'd taken. Unfortunately for him, he just had to be placed in a math class with Michael.

The bell for lunch suddenly rang, and the whole class scrambled out of their chairs, eager to hurry to lunch to avoid any long lines or crowds. Isaac hardly noticed it was time to go to lunch until he saw Michael get up from his seat. It was then that Isaac returned to reality, and arose from his chair.

Time to stalk him to lunch again, Isaac thought, slowly edging his way towards the door to head to lunch, waiting for Michael to leave first. Hurry up and get out of here!

Once Michael left the room, Isaac slipped out behind him, staying a good amount of space behind him to avoid being seen by Michael, or any of his friends. The last thing Isaac wanted was for somebody to find him stalking another guy. It was bad enough almost everyone knew that Isaac was gay. The only way it could have been any worse was if they knew who he liked. If anyone wanted to tear Isaac apart, that would be the way to do it.

Michael had met up with several of his friends, most of whichIsaac knew pretty well. Three of Michael's four friends were girls, and all three of them surrounded him as if he were a popular movie star or some other celebrity. One of the girls was from Isaac's math class as well. Her name was Tiffany Summers, and she was always gossiping about one thing or another. She seemed nice enough, but Isaac figured it would be risky getting to know her. Another one of the girls was one Isaac had seen around school often. Sandra McKlowsky was active in student government, and many of the school's clubs. Finally, the other girl in Michael's little posse was Jennifer Edwards.Isaac had the least knowledge about her, but judging from her attire and the rumors that circulated around her, she was a complete slut. She was the only person whom Michael hung out with that worried Isaac at the least. He could imagine the two of them sleeping together. It almost made him sick.

The only guy in Michael's group was another relatively attractive guy named Craig Crumbley. Isaac recognized him from his ninth grade PE class, and remembered him fondly. He had never associated with him or anything. He just remembered having a brief crush on him back then. Now, he was just another pretty face in the crowd.

About the time Michael and his friends made it to the food court, Isaac's friend, Poison Anderson, called out to him, waving him over to her table. Reluctant to ditch stalking Michael, Isaac broke off from the trail of his fantasy lover, and joined Poison and her friends at their table.

Poison had been Isaac's best friend since they first met in ninth grade. She came off as a bit strange to Isaac at first. If it wasn't the way she always dyed her hair black, colored it purple or red, and always had a new body piercing somewhere on her body, then it was the simple fact that her name was Poison. But, once he had gotten to know her, they were almost inseparable. She was actually a cool, laid back kind of girl who just wanted to be unique in her own little way.

When Isaac sat down with Poison at the table, he was greeted by a couple of her friends. Daniel Lepstein had been a friend of Poison and Isaac's ever since they first met in ninth grade. He was different, like Poison was, in his own special way. He always had his hair spiked in a different way every day of the week. His arms were covered with tattoos, and the only piercing on his body was a lip ring on his bottom lip. The other guy, Jonathan Langley, had only been part of their group since tenth grade. He was the most normal looking guy, aside from Isaac, in the group. He dyed his hair black, and wore contacts to change his eyes from brown to crystal blue. Aside from those slight augmentations, he appeared to be just like any other guy at school.

Once Isaac had sat down at the table, Poison grinned at him, and turned around on the bench, crossing her arms and legs as she faced him.

"Are you still stalking that one guy in your math class?" Poison asked.

Isaac blushed, and shrugged.

"Maybe."

"Certainly looked like it. And if you ask me, you were following closer than you were yesterday," Poison said, turning to Daniel and Jonathan, "doesn't it?"

"Totally. You're definitely getting braver, dude," Jonathan said with a grin.

"Yeah. Any closer and you'll be humping him," Daniel stated.

Isaac blushed bright red, and bit his lip.

"No I wasn't. You guys are just picking on me," he said.

"No we're not. We're just pointing out how much bolder you're getting. That's not picking on you. That's complimenting you," Daniel said.

Isaac gulped.

"Really?" he asked.

"Totally. We know how sensitive you are. We wouldn't knowingly pick on you," Poison said, smiling.

"Exactly. Instead, we'd just taunt and tease you about following a guy too closely," Jonathan said.

Isaac rolled his eyes.

"You guys are such jerks sometimes, you know that?" he asked.

Poison put her arm around Isaac's shoulder, and gently punched him in the arm.

"That's why you love us. And your sensitivity is why we love you," she said.

Isaac smiled, and sighed.

"Yeah, yeah. You use that one every time," he said.

"And? Does it work?" Poison asked.

Isaac shrugged, chuckling.

"Most of the time," he said.

Isaac's father was an ex-minister of a church, and in turn, became a marriage counselor instead. He operated out of his home office, and was often with couples when Isaac was home. But today, that wasn't the case. When Isaac came home from school, he found his dad upstairs cleaning out the guest bedroom. He never did that unless relatives were coming to stay with them for a while. The thought of having his aunt Hilda and uncle Charlie staying with them always sent a nauseating feeling through Isaac's stomach. He could only hope that wasn't the reason why his father was cleaning the guest bedroom out.

"Hey, Dad," Isaac said, popping into the guest bedroom to greet his father. "Who's coming over?"

Isaac's dad, Ben, was busy replacing the sheets on the bed when Isaac came in. He glanced up from what he was doing, and smiled.

"One of the couples I meet with every week is going off to a retreat to get help for their marriage, but they have a son who they don't want to leave alone that long. They don't have any family that lives close by, and don't want him to miss any school, so I offered to let him stay here with us," Ben explained.

Isaac nodded, and smiled.

"Oh, that's cool," he said. "Well, if you need any help, just ask."

"Alright son. Thanks," Ben said. "Oh!" he exclaimed just as Isaac turned to leave.

"What is it, Dad?" Isaac asked.

"Do you have any math homework tonight?" Ben asked.

Isaac sighed, and nodded.

"Some," he said.

"Well, be sure you get that taken care of before our guest gets here. They'll be here at 5," Ben stated.

"Alright, I'll try," Isaac said.

Isaac lurched off to his room, humped over under the weight of his backpack. Once he opened the door, he threw his backpack on the floor, and fell back on his bed to relax for a few moments. After about ten minutes, he sat up again, and breathed a heavy sigh.

"Guess I ought to get started on my homework," he muttered to himself.

At a few minutes until 5:00, the doorbell to the Gilman household rang. Isaac's mother, Sharon, quickly rushed out of the kitchen where she was preparing dinner to answer the door.

"Honey! They're here!" Sharon called out to Ben.

When Sharon reached the door, she ran her hands down the front of her apron, and fixed her composure before answering the door. Was everything was in order, she opened the door, and greeted their guests with a smile.

"Good evening. You must be the Jantomasso's. My husbands been expecting you," Sharon said.

A tall, thickly built man with a shaved head stood outside with a small, petite woman, both seeming to be in their mid-forties, smiled back at Sharon. At their side was a young man with short, chestnut brown hair and jade green eyes who appeared to be no older than seventeen, close to Isaac's age. He carried two suitcases, one in each hand, and his backpack for school on his back.

"Please, come in," Sharon said, inviting the family inside.

Ben had just arrived downstairs when the Jantomasso's came in. He greeted them with a smile and a handshake, and turned his attention to their son.

"You must be their son, Michael," Ben said, holding his hand out.

Michael sat his suitcases down, and took Ben's hand, grasping it firmly as they shook hands.

"Welcome to our home. Feel free to make yourself comfortable as you see fit," Ben said.

"Thank you, sir," Michael said.

"Mr. Gilman, you have no idea how much this means to us," Miranda, Michael's mother, said gratefully.

"Oh, it's no big deal. We welcome guests in our house. I'm just glad I could be of some help to getting your marriage back on track," Ben said.

"We appreciate everything you've done for us. You're truly a man of God," Michael's father, Richard, said.

"I only wish to spread God's will, and that is to help other's in whatever way I can," Ben stated with a grin.

"Well, we should be going. Our flight leaves in two hours," Richard said.

"Alright then. Drive safely, and have fun," Ben said.

"We will. Thank you," Miranda said.

After kissing Michael good-bye and wishing him well, Miranda and Richard were off. Ben waved out the door after them, and closed it as they pulled out of the driveway.

"Well, dinner should almost be done. I'll have my son come down and help you with your bags. Then you can wash up and come down for dinner," Ben said.

"Okay. Thanks," Michael said, smiling softly.

"Isaac! Could you come down for a moment?" Ben called up from downstairs.

Isaac let out a disgruntled sigh of frustration, and slammed his Algebra 2 book shut.

"Sure, it's not like I was making any progress anyway," he muttered under his breath. He got up from his bed and headed downstairs to see what his father wanted. But upon coming down, his eyes fell on the one person he could have never imagined seeing standing right in front of him.... in his house.

"Son, why don't you help Michael with his bags and show up to the guest room. Help him get situated. Then you can both come down for dinner," Ben said.

Isaac swallowed in disbelief, and nodded obediently.

"Alright," he said.

"And tell your sister that dinner's ready, too," Sharon added.

"Okay. I-I will," Isaac said.

Isaac carefully came down the last remaining steps, and picked up one of Michael's suitcases to carry.

"Right.... this way," Isaac said, smiling sheepishly.

As he started up the stairs, showing Michael to his room, Isaac's mind was going a hundred mile a minute, and his heart felt as if it were about to burst out of his chest.

This can't be real. This can't be happening. He can't be here. He can't be....

But he was, and Isaac still couldn't believe it.