Chapter 1: Allies

My mother had mentioned seeing someone, but I'm never one to care what the hell she does. Ever since my dad left us a year and a half ago, she's been extricating herself from my life as much as possible. Short of kicking me out of the house, anyway. She won't even look at me. Even though she never says it, I know why. I know she blames me for their divorce, and maybe I should too, but I can't bring myself to regret my decision. The decision that caused their already-countless problems to become too much to handle. My decision to finally accept myself, to admit who I am out loud. My decision to come out of the closet.

So when my mother mentioned that she was seeing someone, I was certain that I wouldn't meet him until the wedding, if it came to that. In her point of view, I suppose it's hard to introduce the one you love to the one you are too ashamed of to love. Just to clear things up, I would be the one that she's too ashamed of to love.

Most of the time I don't mind that she leaves me alone and lets me do as I please while she busies herself with the restaurant. The one she's owned since I was about 7 years old. But sometimes, I wish she would talk to me or hold me. Hell, even scold me. Tell me to change my clothes before I leave the house because, Corbyn that outfit is inappropriate. Sometimes I find myself doing outrageous things and acting certain ways just to see if she'll notice, but they're all in vain because even if she does notice, she doesn't care enough to do anything about it. All because of my stupid sexual orientation and all the problems it's caused her. Sometimes I wish that she could see how many problems they had before I came out, how overdue their divorce really was. But I suppose it was really hard on her, because this is the first guy--that I know of--that she's dated since dad left.

A small part of me has to wonder just how serious things are with this guy. The fact that she had actually spoken to me long enough to tell me anything about her personal life has me thinking that it has to be serious. The whole idea had given me mixed emotions. I wasn't sure if it would be a good thing to have another man in the house or not. That all changed last night when my mother invited him over for dinner...with his son.

Now I know it may not seem like a huge deal that Joshua--my mom's boyfriend--has a son. And it might not be if I had never before met Jesse Quinton. But I most certainly have, and suddenly the idea of my mother and Joshua getting serious seems like too much to handle. I've been thinking all morning about this whole relationship they have, and I've come to the conclusion that it has to stop. Somehow, I have to stop them from getting serious enough to become engaged. Serious enough to get married. Serious enough to give me one step-brother by the name of Jesse Quinton.

I'm not even entirely sure what I've done to make Jesse hate me so much. I entertain the idea that he's homophobic, but I'm absolutely positive that he's hated me for more than a year and a half. In fact, I do believe the first time he ever picked on me was five years ago, when we were in the sixth grade. I don't remember the specifics, except that I ended up with a black eye and a warning to stay away from Candice Hughes, the most sought after girl in our grade. I'm fairly certain that Jesse had a crush on her, but why he thought I would be a threat is beyond me. It's not as if I gave any indication that I liked her. In fact, I've never liked a girl. At the time I never really thought about it, but now I have no doubts about why. In any case, the only interaction that Jesse and I have had since that day, is glaring in the hallway, bumping of shoulders and random smartass remarks. I'm not really sure when I started to hate him back, but I'm sure it wasn't too long after he gave me the black eye. I sometimes wonder just how stupid he felt when he found out I was gay and realized that he had beat me up for nothing. Then again, he probably doesn't care.

Before my mind can be dominated by more angry thoughts of Jesse, a petite pale hand waves in front of my face, causing me to focus my gaze on the 5'4'' blonde pixie who is Jerrica Anderson and my best friend. I flip my dirty blonde side bangs out of my hazel eyes so I can more easily see the frustrated look in her brown ones. Oops, I wonder how long she's been sitting there, trying to get my attention...

I smile apologetically in her direction across from me at the lunch table we always use. "Hey, Jerr..." I trail off in slight trepidation because, even though she's my best friend, everyone knows that Jerrica Anderson has a bite.

She sighs, and it's times like these that I'm glad she can never stay upset with me for more than 2.5 seconds. "Were you thinking about Jesse again?" she asks in exasperation and a touch of amusement.

I told her all about my mom's boyfriend this morning in English class, including the part where his son is the spawn of Satan. Then I chuckle as I think about what that means Joshua Quinton is, and ponder on the idea of telling my mom she's dating the devil. Not that I think it will help, but I still need an idea to break them up.

After a nearly silent and very awkward dinner last night, Joshua kissed my mother goodnight, causing me and Jesse to gag simultaneously, and then took his son home. Jerrica openly laughed when I told her of my predicament, mumbling something about Karma. Pfft. Karma my ass. I don't think there is anything I could have possibly done in my past life to deserve this.

"Yes, and I've decided that there is only one thing to do." She looks at me questioningly and I take a deep breath. "I have to break them up. Somehow, some way, I have to break them up."

Jerrica rolls her eyes and looks back at me with a blank stare. "Don't you think that's a little harsh? Ruining your mom's happiness just so you don't have to see loverboy on a regular basis?" I feel reprimanded. Maybe that's why I hang out with her. She's acts more like a mother than my actual mother...except not, because it's too creepy to think of Jerrica that way.

I shiver at the thought before trying to defend myself. "Come on! It's not like she'll never find another boyfriend. Besides, she never thinks of my feelings. Treats me more like an annoying bill she has to pay so she won't get in trouble with the law." I scowl just thinking about it. "And he is not my loverboy! I have no idea where you get these weird notions that if people are hostile toward eachother, it's simply sexual tension."

"You know, someday when the two of you can't bear the sexual tension anymore, somebody's going to break, and don't come crying to me in confusion because I don't want to hear it." She looks annoyed, but I know her well enough to know that she's not.

Jerrica and I have been friends for about two years. She was one of the only ones who didn't get fidgety around me when I came out. A couple of my friends started avoiding me after they found out, and Jerrica told me that they were afraid I would start hitting on them. Pffft. Just because I like guys doesn't mean I want to sex up every single male in a fifty meter radius. Jeez, some awesome friends I used to have.

"Pfft, like that would happen. There is absolutely nothing romantic in the thoughts that he so selfishly takes up in my head. I would say that they're more violent than anything else. Besides, he's one of the most straight guys I've ever met."

"Whatever you say Corbyn. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Okay? Okay." I snort because, as usual, she doesn't give me a choice in the matter. "So...what are you going to do about Jesse then?"

I sigh and press the pads of my thumbs into the inner corners of my eyes. "I don't know, but I'm afraid that me and Jesse will have to work together on this one. No matter how hard I work to convince my mom that it's a bad idea, I think she'll need more convincing. And Jesse'll have to work on his dad, to try and give him doubts about their relationship. We need to come in from both sides."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. And here's your chance to talk to Jesse. He's leaving the cafeteria now and you know he won't talk to you in public." I look up, and sure enough, a shaggy black-haired head is moving toward the exit. Connected to a body of course. Ha! I wish it wasn't. That would certainly solve all of my problems.

"Ugh! If I come out of this alive, I'll see you in last period." Taking a deep breath and clenching my fists in preparation for the oncoming disaster, I get up and bolt toward the exit after him.

When I reach the hallway, I see him turn the corner into the men's bathroom. For a split second, I'm thankful that this bathroom has a lock on the door, because I might need to use it to keep him in there long enough to say what I need to say.

When I push the door open, he's just zipping his pants up and there is no one else in sight. He must not hear me, because he merely continues over to the sink without even a glare or a biting remark. I take this as my chance to walk a few steps in his direction. It isn't until he looks up for what I assume is some paper towel that he notices my presence. Yep, and there it is. My favorite glare. I was beginning to worry.

His gray eyes rake me over in what looks like disgust. "What the hell are you staring at?" He snaps and puffs his chest out a little, most likely trying to look menacing. It doesn't really work on me though, since the only thing to catch my eye is his obviously well defined chest that's visible through his shirt with this movement. I mentally berate myself for thinking that any part of this jerk is attractive.

"We need to talk," I say with a glare of my own, staring up at him. Yes, I say 'up' because he's quite a bit taller than me at about 6'3''. I know, I know, at 17 years old I should be taller than 5'8'', but my mom is short and decided to give me that blasted gene. Haha, I did not just say blasted...

"We," He uses his pointer finger to indicate himself and then me. "have absolutely nothing to talk about. Ever." Well...that sounds pretty final, but I'm not about to give up yet.

"We do have something to talk about because your stupid dad just can't seem to stay out of my life!" My voice rises by the second half of that sentence, but I'm not quite yelling yet.

He flicks shaggy black hair out of his face angrily. "Excuse me?! It was your slut of a mother that seduced my dad and ruined my life!" Oh no he didn't. I may dislike my mother, but I dislike Jesse more, and he just insulted my family.

"Believe whatever the fuck you want. I don't really care, but things have to be getting serious for my mom to introduce Joshua to me. And if things continue on like this, we could end up as step-brothers. I don't know about you, but I am not letting that happen." I manage to get all of that out without hitting him. I'm pleasantly surprised at my self control, even if I probably have steam coming out of my ears at this moment, and I'm sure my face probably resembles a ripe tomato.

"And you think that I want to have to live with YOU?!" Jesse bellows into my face. I'm not sure how we got this close, but it disgruntles me and I take a step back.

"I sure as hell don't care what you want, because whether you like it or not, we are going to stop this from happening!" I doubt that Jesse appreciates me ordering him around, but I don't know how else to tell him my idea without sounding weak.

"You're damn right we are!" He yells right back in my face and I'm surprised that we actually agree on something for once. This might not be as hard as I thought it would be.

"Fine! But since we have no choice but to work together on this, we need to call a truce. Right now. I am not working on anything with you if all you do is bitch at me over everything. We wouldn't get anything done that way anyhow." I'm no longer yelling at him but my voice is firm and down-to-business.

"Fine. But I swear to God, if you try talking to me in the halls or classrooms, it's off. I have a reputation to uphold." I roll my eyes at him. "And this does not make us friends, understand? The truce is over as soon as our parents break up."

"Fine with me," I say and then hear the bell ring loudly overhead, signalling the end of lunch. Has it already been 45 minutes? Jeez.

"Meet me at my house after school, we can talk about it more there." I feel a little grossed out, letting that thing in my house, but it's not like we can do it here. It has to be private.

"What about your mom? Won't she be there?" He has an uncomfortable look on his face and is probably trying to find some excuse not to be in the same building as me for any period of time.

"No, she'll be at the restaurant until late. Like always." I grumble the last part because I am again reminded how much it bothers me that my own mother avoids me.

"Fine." Even if he wanted to say more, he couldn't because, at this moment, his best friend Micah Nelson strolls into the bathroom to, I assume, see what's taking Jesse so long. After all, we probably only have about a minute or two to get to class.

He looks at us weirdly with those deep blue eyes and his too-large nose scrunches a little in confusion. That's when we realize how close we're standing and both jump away as if we've been burned.

Jesse gives me one last glare to compensate for our proximity during Micah's intrusion, and bumps my shoulder on his way out. I turn around to throw a glare back at him, but I only see the back of his head and Micah running his fingers through his short bleach blonde strands, looking a little distressed. My curiosity is peaked as to what he thinks was going on in here, but it's an unspoken rule that, as the best friend of my enemy, we don't converse. Micah throws one more strange look my way before he follows after his friend. I knew I should have locked the door.

I wait about 30 seconds before following after them, but the late bell rings as soon as I step out into the hall.

Great, I think sarcastically, the asshole has made me late. I trudge off to math class in hopes that Ms. Harp is feeling gracious today.


Thanks for reading! :D I hope you liked it. Let me know either way, I'd love for some feedback. This is my first story on fictionpress and I'd like to know if it's any good and whether or not I should keep writing it. XOXO