Monday came around and nothing if Gerald expected anything special to happen he was disappointed. His mom didn't come home Sunday night but Mrs. Harrison was back early on Monday.

Gerald was leaving to school when he saw Mrs. Harrison's son's car stop in front of their building, he helped her bring her bag off the car, but didn't so much as offer to take it upstairs. Once the man drove away Gerald came up to Mrs. Harrison and took the bag from her.

He would be late to school, but that was fine, he couldn't go with out helping here. She had always taken care of him. He helped her put her things away as well as prepare something for lunch. He didn't do much more than hand her what ever she needed while she talked about the weekend. She'd been asked to go so she could meet her son's new girlfriend; they were living together now and they thought she would like to move in with them.

"She is nice girl, very sweet, but I stay here 'til you graduate high school. I want to see you walk in your cap and gown." Mrs. Harrison moved rather gracefully for her age and Gerald thought that if it weren't because he knew her age he'd never believe she was over fifty.

"That mush they give you in school can't be called food. Do you remember the lunches I use to pack for you?" Of course he did, many times it was the only food he ate the whole day.

After lunch he walked to school. One of the first signs that he was close to school was a seven eleven almost across the street from the campus. He spotted Frank and some of his friend's standing outside the store. Gerald put his head down as though trying to hide and hurried his steps.

"Gee," he heard Frank call. He walked faster. "Really you have no manners." He heard him near him now.

He felt Franks hand on his shoulder and soon after he was spun around to face him.

"See, Gee." Gerald hated the nickname, it was ok from Michael, but from Frank? It felt like someone was pulling on his nose hairs. "I want to have a chat with you. Just a chat, I probably won't hurt you, eh I won't make any promises." Frank placed a hand over Gerald's shoulders. "Come walk with Me."

"I don't know if you noticed but Michael didn't come to lunch with his team mates today?" Gerald nodded. "See, he was all worried about you. On Saturday he didn't go to a party because he was with you. Now as you know Michael is dating my cousin." He stopped and looked at Gerald, who once again nodded.

"Now, don't tell anyone I said this but my cousin can be a pain in the ass. She complains and complains about why Michael isn't spending time with her. Do you know who has to put up with all the whining?" This time even though Gerald nodded Frank didn't continue he just stared at Gerald.

With a weak voice Gerald answered, "you?"

"Yes, me, and it really puts me in a bad mood. I don't know why Michael wastes his time with trash like you. I know better than to point this out to him, so here is where you come in." Gerald noticed that he had been taken behind the 7/11, he was hidden from view and no matter how loud he would scream no one would come to his rescue, not that anyone ever did.

"This is your last warning. Stay the fuck away from him." Gerald immediately tried to cover himself, but still the first blow managed to land on his left cheekbone.

Gerald stumbled back, but he didn't allow himself to fall. He stood straight; chin out and proud waiting for the next hit. Frank laughed. Balling his hand into a fist he pulled it back ready to land a second blow. Gerald moved. Frank surprised at the lack of contact fallowed his fist hitting the dumpster behind them.

"Asshole!" Frank shook his hand. Turning to were Gerald still stood tall, or as tall as he was.

He charged towards the smaller boy tackling him to the ground. Frank hadn't expected Gerald to fight back, but Gerald didn't feel like getting beaten down again. Gerald tried to push the larger boy off him. He tried kicking and writhing underneath the larger body. Frank somehow managed to pin Gerald's hands underneath his knees while sitting on his chest. Frank began punching Gerald in the face, one after another the blows landed.

Gerald never gave up. He continued to try to get out from under the other boy, with every punch he tried to pull his hands free.

"You think you can push me off?" Frank was growing tired his blows began to lack strength. "You are nothing; you are nothing but a fucking punching bag, just fucking give up and die, because look what all your struggling got you. You should have fallen to the floor with the first blow, and I would have just walked away." Frank stood up and with a loud grunt kicked Gerald on the side. Gerald moved curling up to protect his stomach.

Frank walked away shaking his hands and flexing his fingers.

Gerald didn't stay on the floor for long; he didn't stop to cower in his pain. He tuned onto his stomach and with shaky hands pushed himself up, first only on his hands and then on hands and knees. He took a deep breath, and pushed himself up to sit on his knees, his face tall and proud again. One leg first pushing against his bent knee he stood. His hip hurt and he wanted badly to hold onto his chest, but he wouldn't. He wasn't going to stay down.

He pulled his book bag off the floor and turned around, he wasn't going to school that day.

He hurt and all he really wanted to do was sit and nurse his injuries but he didn't he walked straight to the beach. Standing in front of the water the cold sand between his toes, he began to undress. He pulled his t-shirt off and a long sleeve shirt he wore underneath to keep warm. He undid his pants and he didn't even have to pull them down they simply fell, the flip flops he had worn that day had been the first to go.

He wore blue and white boxers and he walked into the water with only them on. The weather was cold, the water was cold, and his nerves went into shock at the sudden temperature change sending a needle feeling across his skin. He continued to walk into the water, he didn't stop even when the waves hit hard against his body, sometimes making him stumble back he kept on. The cuts on his face burned with the salt water but he didn't care he submerged and swam.

He didn't leave the water till he heard his name being called from the beach. The sun had started to set, being the west coast there was enough light to see whom it was. Michael stood there, by Gerald's cloths, his jeans slightly rolled up. Gerald thought about ignoring him, he didn't want to leave the sea.

"Gerald!" Michael called again a hand over his eyes to protect him from the son. It was like a sirens call to his ears and he swam towards the shore, his feet felt the soft wet sand and soon were tickled by the water reaching the shore.

"You skipped school." Gerald nodded leaning down to pick his cloths up. He didn't look at Michael trying to keep the damage on his face out of his friend's knowledge for as long as he could.

He turned and began to walk towards the showers. He washed the salt water and sand off his body and pulled his t- shirt on. With out turning towards Michael, something that was seriously starting to unnerve the blonde, he talked. He talked about the sky and he talked about the sand, the stars, the wind. Michael tried to keep up with what Gerald was saying but it all sounded like nonsense to him.

"Gerald. Gerald!" He grabbed the smaller boy's bony shoulders and turned him towards him.

His hand moved up to a bruise, but one bruise blended into another, his friends face was nothing but a map of black and blue, his thumb went over cracked lips and anger boiled deep in his heart pumping out to his blood and eventually simmering to the surface

"Who did this?" He demanded.

Gerald tried to look away, but Michael's hand didn't allow him.

"Let go, you're hurting me." Michael didn't let go.

"Tell me," his voice was controlled.

Gerald looked down. Would Michael believe him?

"Frank." Michael dropped his hand away from Gerald's face.

"How? When?" Frank was one of Michael's best friends not as close or dear as Gerald, but Frank was his friend. Frank wouldn't do this to Gerald. "This happened to you today it's fresh, you didn't go to school. Tell me the truth."

All the anger Michael felt was misdirected. He grabbed onto Gerald's shoulder shacking him "Tell me who did this."

"I already did," Gerald yelled breaking free from Michael. "I don't need this."

He wasn't going to cry, but Michael's betrayal hurt more than every single punch he had received.

"I don't need this either. People die for my attention. More than half the school would love to be my friend and here I am begging you for your time, begging you for your attention. I'm sick of it." He pushed Gerald out of his way and left.

The push wasn't physically strong, but the emotional pain that it delivered managed to land Gerald on the floor and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't manage to get back up.

He would never give up Michael voluntarily, but Michael could easily give him up. Why had he ever allowed him to come near? Why had he been so proud of his small sand castle?

He wouldn't be in love with him now, had he ignored Michael that day, had he not found his blue and white shorts so cute. It was all his fault, he should have run when he saw Frank, he should have just fallen after the first punch. What good did fighting back do?

Okay, Sean admitted that coming out the way he had, had not been one of his brightest ideas, but really the boys were getting on his nerves.

Fag, this and fag that, all day long got old really quick. So when they had said "Man, Sean you are so gay" because he didn't want to try the cigarette he just...

"Yes, I am gay, but I am also twice the man you are." The rest had been a blur of punches; he wasn't quite sure why the blows had been thrown, if because he was gay or because he had said he was more of a man than Blake the idiot.

At least he could say that if he looked bad, they should see how Blake looked. Blake in all his macho shit couldn't fight. He managed to land two punches on Sean and the first one was because Sean really had not been expecting it.

They were lucky and the fight went under the teachers radar, but the rest of the day Sean had spend saying "Yes, it's true I am gay" and now his parents had been called for a conference with the guidance councilor.

Eh, what ever. Hopefully he would out him to his parents and safe him the chat.

"Stupid Blake, stupid school." He had even missed his bus because the stupid councilor had kept him in his office to 'talk'.

He was now walking to the beach; he didn't feel like going home.

Gerald really didn't want anyone finding him crying on the floor. After his whole pity talk he had decided, that he would continue to fight back, who cared if his pride landed him beaten on floor, it was all he had left and he was sure as hell going to hold on to it.

He felt a hand on his arm helping him up. His first instinct was to shrug it off. He looked up and saw blue eyes, he thought Michael had returned and he smiled, but when standing up he noticed that the person was too short to be Michael. He wasn't as disappointed as he would have expected to be with the realization that the blue eyes belonged to Sean.

He said thanks to him. Made an excuse to leave and turned around. Sean didn't try to stop him.

Thank you Madame Penguin (hope I got that right) for the reviews I greatly appreciate them. Let's see if I can surprise you ;)