I am not usually in the habit of turning one-shots into multi-part stories, but this little ficlet decided to be written, and it's too small to be on it's own, but too separate to go on the end of The Bet as another scene, so... here it is.
"Hey Rodgers, that guy is staring at you again," TJ said, leaning over his lunch tray.
"Who?" Tim Rodgers asked, his brow furrowing slightly.
"That guy," TJ clarified, nodding to someone behind Rodgers.
Rodgers glanced over his shoulder. "Who?" he asked again.
"The one with black hair," TJ said, pointing a little more directly with his finger.
"Yeah," Ray said, leaning over to join the conversation. "He's been staring at you ever since that fiasco with Jackson's friend's coming out."
"Oh," Rodgers said, finally realizing who they were talking about. "Aaron. He stared at me before that, too."
"He did?" TJ asked, aghast.
"Yeah," Rodgers said, munching on his lunch.
"Aren't you gonna do something about it?" Ray asked.
Tim scratched his head. "Like what?"
"You can't just let him get away with something like that!" TJ insisted.
"I can't?" Tim asked, dipping an apple slice into some caramel.
"People are gonna Talk!" TJ said, adding special emphasis to the word 'talk'.
Rodgers frowned as he chewed his apple, deep in thought.
"You should take him out!" Ray finally suggested when Tim's pondering started to take too long.
"I should?" Rodgers asked. He glanced over his shoulder at the kid in question. "Well, alright," he added, standing up and making his way through the crowd in the cafeteria.
The other kid was too far away in the noisy room for Rodger's friends to hear what was said, and Rodger's back was to them, so they carefully watched Aaron's reactions to learn what was going on.
He looked scared at first, dropping his eye to his lunch and turning pale. Then he glanced up at Rodgers, his jaw slowly dropping as he nodded and stammered something unheard over the distance. Finally Rodgers leaned forward and—kissed his cheek?—before heading back to the table with his friends.
"What the hell was that?" TJ demanded when Rodgers returned.
"I asked him out," Rodgers said.
"I said take him out, not ask him out," Ray said in a strangled voice.
Tim nodded. "I am taking him out. Friday. To a movie."
"That's not- 'take him out' means 'beat him up', not 'ask him on a date'!" Ray said in a whisper-yell so he wouldn't be overheard.
"Oh," Rodgers said, frowning down at the apple slices left on his plate. He glanced back over his shoulder at Aaron, who was still watching him with a very stunned expression on his face. Tim smiled and waved to him, and after a stunned delay Aaron returned the wave and smile shyly. "Why would I want to beat him up?" he asked, turning back to his friends.
"Well," said TJ, sounding resigned. "If you go out with him everyone will think you're gay."
"Oh," Rodgers said again. "Is that all?"
"Is that all?" Ray cried, loud enough to get a funny look from one of the people at the next table. "Don't you care? People will think you're gay."
Rodgers frowned at him. "Is that a bad thing?"
Ray dropped his head to the table with a thud. "Well I thought it was," he muttered to its 'cheerful' blue color.
"Are you?" TJ asked Rodgers.
"Am I what?" Tim asked.
"Gay!" TJ and Ray said at the exact same time.
"Um," said Rodgers, scratching his head. He thought for a moment. "I guess so?"
"You guess so?" TJ repeated. "You don't know?"
Tim shrugged. "Well, I'm going out with a guy, so I guess I must be."
Ray made a disgusted sound. "Why are you going out with him?"
"Well," Rodgers said. "I asked and he said 'yes.'"
"I give up!" Ray cried, throwing his hands in the air. "Thanks for coming out to us, don't expect me to save you from any gay-bashings." He grabbed his tray and fled from the table.
"What was that about?" Rodgers asked as his friend stormed off.
TJ shrugged. "He's upset that you didn't tell us you were gay earlier."
Rodgers frowned. "I wasn't gay earlier."
TJ shook his head. "You really are hopeless, you know?"
"I am?" Rodgers asked.
"Yeah," TJ said. "You really are."
Don't forget to leave a review!
(but please don't ask for yet more of these characters. It just annoys me)