10th Pre-AP English
The Tale of Two:
A Story of Facing and Overcoming Prejudice
It started out as any other day. Quinn Marsh woke up, ate breakfast, got ready for school, and then went and picked up Seth Rodriguez, his boyfriend. But that all changed when he got to school…
Walking down the hallway, Quinn and Seth were talking about what they planned to do that weekend; Saturday would be their one year anniversary. They got to Quinn's locker where their best friend James was waiting for them as usual.
"Hey, guys. Had a good weekend?" James asked with a smirk.
"You know it was," Quinn smiled.
"So what are you guys doing for Saturday?"
While Seth was answering, Quinn opened his locker. Out fell a piece of paper. He bent down to pick it up. It was folded, so he opened it.
I know what you are. You are disgusting. You and that Rodriguez loser make me sick. Yes, I know that you two are faggots. That is really unnatural. If you don't figure out who sent this by Friday, the whole school will know what you are that afternoon. If you figure it out, find me and fight me. If you win, I won't tell a soul. Lose and everyone in town will know. Happy hunting.
-Your Worst Nightmare
Seth and James noticed something was wrong when Quinn started going pale.
"Quinn? Everything okay?" Seth asked concerned.
Quinn slowly shook his head.
"What you got there?" James asked, pointing at Quinn's hand.
Silently he held out his hand. James took and read the note.
"If I find out who sent this, he'll wish he was never born." James said, disgusted.
"What is it? Let me see," demanded Seth.
James handed Seth the note.
He read it quickly and said, "Quinn, it'll be okay. We will find out who sent this. We won't let him tell."
Just as he said that, their other best friend, Ada, walked up.
"Tell what? Sent what?" she asked.
Seth handed her the note. She read it quickly and then looked up outraged.
"I bet it was Donavan. He seems like the type."
James shook his head, "No I don't think so. He is pretty nice."
"Yeah, Ada. Just because you don't like him because he dumped you, doesn't mean he knows our secret," Seth said calmly, considering he might get outed. "Quinn, are you alright?"
"I think so," he said.
"Are you sure?" asked James. "It's okay if you aren't."
"I'm fine. Just nervous, I guess," Quinn answered. "I mean, three people already know, and they don't care. The whole town is nothing right?" he laughed nervously.
"We will find out who sent it. Don't worry. I won't let anyone hurt you." Seth said fiercely.
Quinn smiled weakly, "I know you won't."
"Hey!" exclaimed James. "What are Ada and I? We'll help. And we won't let anyone touch either of you. Will we, Ad?"
"Don't call me that, James." Ada said annoyed. "Of course we won't."
"Thanks," Quinn said.
"Come on guys. Time for class." Seth said.
"See you two at lunch," James called.
Quinn and Seth walked to class, both lost in their own thoughts.
The day passed relatively smooth. Other than the note, nothing out of the ordinary happened.
On the way home from school, Quinn was being quiet and Seth was trying to get him to talk.
"Quinn, it'll be okay. James, Ada, and my dad already know. They are supportive. Yes, some people will be mean to us, and treat us differently. As long as we have each other, our friends, and our family, nothing else matters. If whoever this is does tell everyone, things will change. Who cares? We shouldn't care what other people think. Just what we think," Seth paused. Then asked, "Please, tell me what you are thinking."
Quinn sighed, "I'm just worried about my parents."
Quinn's parents hated everything that was different than they were. They were old-fashioned and prejudiced. They hated all of Quinn's friends because they were 'freaks.'
"If they found out, would you give us up?" asked Seth.
"You know I wouldn't."
"Okay then there is nothing to worry about. We are all that matters."
Quinn finally smiled his first real smile since this morning, "You're right. I just hope we find out who this person is."
"Me to, Quinn. Me to," agreed Seth.
Seth reached over and held Quinn's hand for the rest of the way home.
The next day passed mostly the same way. They didn't get any closer to finding out who sent the note. The only change was in Quinn. He talked more and was happier than the day before. It wasn't until the third day that they got closer to finding out who might have left the note.
It was the own person's stupidity that led to Quinn and his friends thinking that he might have sent the note.
During lunch, Quinn and Seth were talking by Seth's locker. A sudden yell made them stop and turn to look for the source.
"Marsh, get out of my way!" shouted Jason McCallan, the schools star football running back and known bully.
"I'm not in your way McCallan," Quinn said.
"Yeah, well. You are in my line of sight. Now, get out!"
"Sorry," he replied, voice laced with sarcasm.
McCallan smiled, "You better be."McCallen strolled off.
When he was out of sight, Quinn and Seth started laughing.
"He is so stupid," Seth said.
"I know. Who can't tell when someone is being sarcastic?" said Quinn, smiling.
"Obviously him," Seth said, and then as if he just realized something, "Hey, do you think it was him that sent it?"
"McCallan? I don't know. He is a bully, but he's not that bright," Quinn uncertainly replied.
"He hates your guts," pointed out Seth.
James walked up behind them, "Who hates Quinn?"
"McCallan," Quinn answered.
"He hates everyone," James said.
"Not me," said Seth.
"Yeah, no one hates you," James smiled.
"No one could hate him," argued Quinn.
"You say that only because you are biased," Seth said.
"Okay lovebirds, enough." James interrupted, "We have a problem. Half the week's gone and we are no closer to finding out who sent the note."
"I still think its McCallan," said Seth stubbornly.
"Didn't Ada go out with him?" asked Quinn.
"Yeah! She did. Maybe she can help. Let's go find her," excited James started walking off.
Quinn and Seth followed him.
They went to the library first because Ada almost was always there in her free time. When they saw she wasn't there, they went out to the courtyard.
There she was sitting underneath a tree with Becky and Charlotte doing homework. Or more accurately, gossiping.
"Ada!" James shouted waving her over, "Come here!"
Ada got up. Annoyed she asked, "What?"
"We might have a lead," answered James, bouncing up and down.
"A lead for what?"
"Of who sent the note!"
"Really?" she asked, attentive now, "Who?"
"McCallan," Seth said.
They told her what had happened at lunch. Ada stood listening intently. They soon finished and waited for her to reply.
"Well, it could be. But he really doesn't seem the type," said Ada.
"That's what I was thinking," said Quinn.
"I really think it's him," Seth disagreed.
"We can try to find out," grinned James.
All agreed. They discussed what they could do. Finally, they formulated a plan.
McCallan was very picky about who he would be seen with. He hated Quinn since elementary. He used to like James until James stood up for a kid McCallan was picking on. Ada was out because she dumped him. McCallan actually liked Seth, so it had to be him.
Seth would go up to McCallan after school and soften him up. He would ask questions, answer questions, and be as nice as possible. After they talked for a little while, Seth would start asking questions about gay people. After he got enough information, he would head over to Quinn's car and go to Quinn's house and talk about what he found out with Quinn, James, and Ada.
When they got done talking, it was time for class. Ada went back to Becky and Charlotte to go to Physics. James, Quinn, and Seth had English.
The rest of the day passed quickly. After school instead of going straight home, Seth went to find McCallan, and Quinn, James, and Ada went to Quinn's car. They had to wait about 45 minutes for Seth to come. When Seth got there they left and went to Quinn's house.
Quinn's house was only a twenty minute drive from the school. His parents worked so the house was empty.
They arrived, raided the kitchen, and then finally asked what happened.
Seth said McCallan was pretty surprised when he found him, but he opened up pretty easily. They started out talking about sports, then girls, and people. Seth asked him what he thought about gay people. He said he didn't care what they did as long as they didn't hit on him. Seth asked him if he would bully gay people for being gay, and he said no.
"I really don't think it's him guys," Seth said.
"Told you," bragged Ada.
"Now we have nothing," James said discouraged.
"It's okay," said Quinn.
"Quinn, I'm sorry," said Seth.
"You haven't done anything. It's really okay. If it gets out, it gets out. Nothing we can do about it."
"I know. It's just I'm worried about you."
"Guys, me and Ada are going to leave. See you tomorrow," James interrupted.
"Bye," Seth and Quinn said.
Ada and James left. Quinn and Seth didn't say anything for a few moments.
"I'm worried," admitted Quinn.
"I know. It will be okay. No one can come between us. Nothing will change," said Seth.
Quinn gave him a pointed look.
"Okay, things will change. But it doesn't matter. Whoever this is is just jealous. People who are prejudiced just don't know what they are talking about. They should look at who the person is, instead of what they can't change."
Quinn smiled. "I know. Thanks."
"You have nothing to thank me for. Whatever happens, we are in this together," said Seth.
They stopped talking about it because Quinn's mom came home. She gave Seth a disapproved look and left the room.
"I guess I had better go," smiled Seth.
"I'll drive you," Quinn said.
After he drove Seth home, he went back home. Quinn went to bed early that evening, worried and nervous about the following days.
Thursday came and went.
By the time Friday came, they weren't any closer to figuring out who it was.
Quinn picked up Seth as usual. They drove to school talking about what to do about the note. They went to Quinn's locker where both James and Ada were waiting for them.
"Hey guys," James said with a sad little smile.
"Hey," Seth replied.
Quinn stayed quiet.
"Quinn?" Seth nudged him. "You okay?"
Quinn smiled, "I am fine. Truly. It's fine guys. Just preparing myself for this afternoon."
"Are you ready for this?" Seth asked.
James, confused, inquired, "Ready for what?"
"You want to tell them?" Seth looked at Quinn.
"Yes," answered Quinn.
"Okay," Seth turned to James and Ada. "We're coming out. We aren't letting someone else do it for us."
James gaped. Ada gasped.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
They both nodded.
"I'm here for you," James said immediately.
"Thanks, James," said Quinn.
"So, how are you guys going to do this?" asked Ada.
"Well," started Seth, "I think we are just going to hold hands. Don't want to make too much of a scene."
James laughed, "I think that would do it. People would freak. Just imagine if you broke it to people by kissing."
"So many girls are going to be devastated," Ada said.
"They never had a chance anyways," stated Seth.
"Yeah. But they didn't know that," said Quinn.
"When are you guys going to do it?" asked James.
"Now," said Quinn.
"Let's go to first period then."
Quinn took Seth's hand, and then they all started down the hall. People starred. People whispered.
"Look at them."
"Did you know?"
"I thought they were too good to be fags."
"How could we hang out and not know."
"I wonder if they have ever hit on me."
"How can they show this off at school?"
"Don't they know it's unnatural?"
However, there were some nice comments as well.
"Awe that's so cute."
"They are brave."
"It's so cool that James and Ada are sticking by them."
"What a great couple."
Quinn and Seth ignored most of the comments. Some people obviously weren't going to treat them the same, but it was nice to see a few people smiling.
The walk to class felt like it took forever. In reality, it lasted only five minutes. Quinn and Seth held hands the whole way there.
The day was almost like any other day except that Quinn and Seth could now openly show their affection for each other, some people were being rude bigots, and they got a lot more attention than usual. James and Ada never left Quinn and Seth's side except for when they had a different class.
Seth felt relieved that he did not have to hide who he really was anymore. Even though most of the comments directed at Quinn and Seth were negative, Seth didn't care. He was happy, happier than he has ever been at school. He liked that he and Quinn came out on their own term, other than someone else doing it for them.
Quinn was happy that he could openly show affection to Seth. He felt like a weight had been lifted off of him. He was content with his and Seth's decision to come out before whomever sent the note did. He hated that some people could not see past over something that he couldn't (and honestly didn't want to) change.
James, who hardly ever got angry, was angry that some people who knew Quinn and Seth wouldn't even look at them. He was angry that some people he called friends, looked at him differently because he stood by his friends when they needed him the most. He was happy, though, that Quinn and Seth looked relieved, and happy, with their coming out.
Ada felt discouraged that so many people couldn't get over something as little as being gay. She was happy that Seth and Quinn were handling this better than she thought they would. She felt invigorated when she actually saw some support through all of the hate.
They never did find out who sent the note. Quinn and Seth had a great anniversary; they actually went out to a restaurant, even if they did get some funny looks.
Quinn's parents found out. They were both disappointed and it took a while for them to get used to it. Eventually they came around; his dad even defended him when he heard someone talk bad about him.
Things cooled down after a while. Most people got used to Quinn and Seth's relationship. There were still prejudiced people, but they ignored them. Some people were even encouraged by Quinn and Seth's coming out and came out their selves.
James and Ada stood by Quinn and Seth the whole time. They wouldn't let Quinn or Seth fight the people who lashed out against them, they did it for them. (Even though Seth still defended Quinn, and vice versa.)
Things changed for the better. Facing prejudice every day helped make Quinn and Seth stronger people. Facing prejudice taught them to not judge people because they are different from them.