The Fallback Guy

Chapter 1


I could see him. He couldn't see me; at least I didn't think so. And if he did, I doubt seriously I would make any sort of impression on him. Okay, so yeah, maybe I'm in stalker mode or something, but if you saw him, you would understand completely. The guy is absolutely gorgeous. Not in that Brad Pitt glossy teen magazine sort of way, no, this is way better. His name is Nick…okay Nicholas C. Bourdain. I don't know what the C stands for yet, but I'm certain it's something appealing like Christian or Chance. I'm a little OCD about such things, but you can probably tell that already. I really have to stop this, don't I, having mental conversations with myself about this boy or that boy? You see, it's only been about two years since I've really had this problem. Seeing guys and becoming instantly attracted to them. And it's been hell getting to this point. I mean, only a few people know about me.

"Henry, get out of your head!" Izzy pinched me.

"Owwww." I rubbed my arm.

Like Izzy, well that's Isabel Rollins to you, she doesn't like to be called Izzy by most people and I won't say she doesn't cringe on the occasion when I call her Izzy B. But anyway, she knows about me. She pretty much knows everything about me. We've been best friends since seventh grade when I accidentally went into the girl's bathroom, not really paying close attention to the lack of urinals and going into a stall. The lock on the stall wasn't really working, or maybe I couldn't get it to work, but needless to say, Izzy barged in at a most inopportune time. I think we both screamed.

"Owwww! If you pinch me again..."

"Well, then pay attention. You're missing it all." She darted her eyes across the lunchroom. There was my Nicholas, okay not my Nicholas, but you get my meaning and he was making eyes at…

"Do you see it?" She prodded me with her elbow.

"Is that Christopher Maddox? He's not… He's not… Oh my God! He can't sing. He can't dance. He can't act. He's musically illiterate….I mean he thought Britney Spears sang Like A Virgin…yeah okay she did that one time, but still, we're talking, he pointed to Madonna and called her Britney. How do you do that? I mean the guy's a god among jocks, he's a god in a jock. He plays football and basketball. He can't be. I mean if he is and he likes Nicholas and God forbid Nicholas likes him, then I'm screwed. Of course if Nicholas likes him that makes him family and that can't be a bad thing. But Christopher Maddox and Nicholas Bourdain?

"Henry. Focus."

"You have to talk to Katy. You're friends with Katy. She's dating Christopher. And when I say dating, I'm talking I've been in a room where they're making out and there is no way, I mean no way that he's family. No way!"

"Oh my God, This is the point on Will & Grace where Karen slaps Jack. Henry, you are the most melodramatic person I know. You have no idea what you're talking about. Now shut up and breathe."

"What do you mean, no idea? You pointed them out to me which means that either you jumped to the same conclusion or you're just a mean spiteful bitch trying to get back at me for something I might have done to you in a previous life and I'm not negating the fact that there is a possibility that both can be correct, but you pointed it out to me."

"Nooooo. I was pointing you to the bulletin board, about 20 feet further where they're posting the theatre auditions, you idiot."

"Oh" I laughed to myself. "Sometimes I get carried away."

"Sometimes? Oh Please, don't make me remind you of the whole Jessica and Nick ordeal."

"What? Jessica wasn't good enough for him and it really had nothing to do with the fact that I was attracted to Nick. And besides he was just fodder for my mind."

"For your mind?"

"Isabel!" I feigned shock. "You're a lady, not a guttersnipe."
"Did you just call me a guttersnipe? What the hell is a guttersnipe?"

"A street urchin…."

"I'm not a…"

"Or. Or. Orrrrr!"

"…Street urchin."

"…a person of the lowest class."

"Where do you get these words? You have a word of the day calendar, don't you? I'm so ashamed for you." Isabel looked at me, shaking her head, the smile on her face speaking volumes. "How anyone didn't know that you were gay is beyond my comprehension."

"Oh please, The simple fundamentals of math are beyond your comprehension. Don't look all offended, I was your study buddy for two years. I know of which I speak.

I turned my attention back to the bulletin board where Mrs Jensen was indeed posting the audition results for the fall theatre production. I wanted to run up there, but I've been trying to lay low and not make a spectacle of myself. Besides, my eyes continued to drift back to Nicholas and Christopher, who continued to eye each other surreptitiously. "Come on; let's go see if we made it."

"You know we made it. You just want to get a better look at Nicholas."

"And there's nothing wrong with that, is there? Is there?" I looked at her, my eyes intent on her. She knew what I was inferring. "I'm sure I don't need to remind you of one Mr Gordon Phillips. Track and field all star, third basemen for our very own Fairweather Falcons and the fall back guy who 'tutored" you in algebra. As if Gordon Phillips over Izzy B squared times X was going to get you an A in algebra. I hate to put it so bluntly, but I don't think anyone has had a better look at anyone than you did at Gordon."

"You're just mad that he didn't play for your team." She paused for a moment and looked at her notebook. "At the time." She rolled her eyes.

I put my history book and notebook back in my backpack. "Come on. Let's go."

She stuffed her books back in her bag and hoisted her backpack over her shoulder. "Speak of the devil. Isn't that Gordon now? And look who he's sitting down next to. Oh it's Nicholas."

I plopped back down in the chair. "You know, in our next lives. I get to be the bitch." I looked back over at Nicholas. He gave Gordon a high five followed by an intricate hand shake that involved palms smacking together, fingers interlocking and a verbal "woop" at the end when both their hands rose up like to butterflies. "I'm screwed. First Christopher, that's if he is, and now Gordon, which we both know is at the very least playing for both teams. I think I liked it better when I thought I was the only gay in the whole world. At least then I didn't have any competition."

"You know…. They're only competition, if you're in the game."

"Izzy Izzy Izzy." I shook my head, mentally scrambling for some sort of comeback. "Such sweet pearls of wisdom." I really needed to work on my comebacks. I knew she was right. And she knowing all about me, she knew she was right too.

It's hard enough being a teenager. Harder still being a gay teenager. And add to that, the "big V:" being a virgin. Can you say pariah? I crammed the earpieces from my ipod in my ears and pushed play. I searched past the first second and third song before I came to one that screeched on and on about bitterness and betrayal and broken hearts. I wove an arm through Izzy's as we walked over to the audition results.