"What do you think of Oakley?"
Kiernan Garrison looked up from his history textbook to see Kelly Teeger, a cheerleader, staring at him with a tiny and mischievous smile. She was leaning towards him, her blonde hair cascading down over her perfectly tanned shoulder. Glancing around at the other students in their study hall, Kiernan tried to quickly figure out her motive for asking.
"Mercer... Oakley?" he asked, trying to buy time.
She giggled. "Who else?"
He smiled along with her, and looked back down at his textbook. Mercer Oakley was a member of the basketball team, and a junior at their high school. Truthfully, Kiernan had very little contact with him. Although...
"Is this about that time I yelled at him for calling me a fairy?" he asked.
Kelly tilted her head, her smile becoming more crooked. "Kierry, he apologized for that."
"Sorry," she replied, "That's what Oakley calls you, I guess it kind of stuck." She giggled again, "Besides... he only called you a fairy as a joke, he was being friendly." She leaned in even closer when the students around them started to look over. "No, I was just wondering what you thought of him."
Kiernan shrugged. Besides the one "fairy" confrontation, he had had very little contact with the basketball player. Put in to context, they lived in a small town and went to a small high school, but there was still enough people around that Kiernan never had to deal with the jocks in the community.
He was president of the GSA, and didn't hide his orientation, but he wasn't an idiot. Steering clear of the more testosterone-addled males of his high school was an obvious decision. However, the passive answer didn't seem to appease Kelly.
"Really?" she asked, "You don't think anything?"
"Uh," Kiernan replied, "I guess... he's better than the rest."
It was true. When Mercer Oakley saw that Kiernan was actually upset about the whole "fairy" thing, he quickly apologized, and told his friends to stop laughing at Kiernan's emotional outburst. They hadn't spoken since then.
"Right?" Kelly said, her eyes starting to glitter, "I thought so."
"You thought... what?" Kiernan asked, narrowing his eyes.
She shook her head, and sighed. "Nothing, you'll find out." Bending over, she reached down to her backpack and pulled something out, and handed it to Kiernan. It was a garish, giant pink paper heart with candy taped hap-hazardly along the edges, causing the paper to flop over unceremoniously. "It's from a secret admirer," she giggled.
Kiernan stared at the heart. "Is... this from Oakley?"
Collapsing in a fit of shrieks and giggles, Kelly buried her face in her hands, and started shaking her head. "How did you guess?!" she asked.
"We just spent the last ten minutes talking about him," Kiernan replied, watching her with a dubious expression.
Letting her continue with her fit, Kiernan flipped the heart over, and raised his eyebrows. "What is this?"
He was fingering a gold chain taped on the back. At the center of the chain was a heart locket. He slid his fingernail along the seal and cracked it open. "The fuck?" he said. On one side was a picture of Kiernan, and on the other... Oakley's basketball picture. He was in the typical alpha-male pose, with a basketball held tightly in the crook of his arm.
"Seriously, Kelly?" he asked as he stood up angrily, "What the fuck did I ever do to you?" Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed his book and his bag and left the library in a huff. He knew the cheerleaders could be bitches sometimes, but what kind of joke was this? He didn't even like Oakley, so how was this supposed to bother him?
Reaching his locker, he twisted the lock and swung the metal door open with a dramatic flourish. As the bell rang, he started stuff his books into the locker. Kids were streaming by him when his cell phone started buzzing in his pocket. He paused from his violent display of locker-assault, and reached for his phone.
"Hey, Kiernan. It's Shin."
Shin Ku, the vice president of the GSA... and the only other member. He made Kiernan look like a lumberjack. Flamboyancy was his middle name. Shin had told Kiernan once that his lispy voice, and fey-like movements used to depress him, but there was nothing he could do about it, so he embraced it. That was when he joined the GSA.
"There's a sale at Urban," he continued, indie music playing in the background. "Although, I think you're more of a GAP queen."
"Why aren't you at school, Shin?" Kiernan replied, as he resumed grabbing the things he needed for homework. "I know you had a math test today,"
"It's fine, mom." Shin said, "I took the test, and then I ditched as a reward."
"So, there goes my ride..." Kiernan replied with a slightly whiney voice, as he remembered that Shin was the one with the car. They had only been friends for half a year, but already did everything together. Before, when they more self-conscious freshmen and sophomores, they studiously ignored each other for fear that their doubled gayness would somehow wreak havoc. Now, they just didn't give a fuck.
"Deal," Shin said, "You need the exercise anyway."
"Bitch," Kiernan said to the phone as Shin hung up on him. He needed to have a talk with his friend about taking the sassy queen act too far. Then, he looked down at himself and shook his head. He looked hot.
He stiffened, and glanced up. Standing before him was Ander Wise, another basketball player. "What?" Kiernan replied with a droll tone, not even bothering to address the use of his unwanted nickname. Ander was Mercer Oakley's best friend, if indeed these people had best friends. They always hung out in mobs, so Kiernan was never quite sure.
"You need a ride?" the alarmingly tall teenager asked.
Kiernan blinked several times. "No," he said finally.
"But..." Ander replied with confusion, "I heard you just now on the phone..."
Kiernan's eyebrows rose. "You were listening?" he asked caustically. He glanced up and down the hallway, and noticed that the students around them seemed to be paying attention to their conversation. He felt like he was in the Twilight Zone.
"Actually," he said, "A ride would be nice." Anything to get this oddly knowing glances off his back. Ander smiled at this, and gestured for Kiernan to follow him.
Upon reaching Ander's Jeep Cherokee, the basketball player jumped in front of Kiernan, and opened the passenger door for him. Glancing at Ander quizzically, Kiernan shrugged it off, and clambered into the SUV. Ander quickly ran around to the other side, and got in as well. "I worked all summer at Foster's Freeze for this beauty."
Kiernan nodded while making an "O" shape with his mouth, and looked down at his hands. They drove for several minutes without saying another word. "Heh," Kiernan said, trying to keep them from descending into awkward silence. "You know, I'm breaking the first cardinal gay kid rule."
Ander glanced at him, "What?"
"Don't get into a car with a potential gay basher," Kiernan finished with a smile.
Ander stared at him silently. "You know," Kiernan continued with a nervous laugh, "Small town, you're a jock..."
"I would never do that." Ander replied in all seriousness.
"I know," Kiernan said, blushing. He looked out the window on his side. "You're right, that was in bad taste." He glanced down at his hands, and when Ander didn't say anything, he said, "I live..."
"I know where you live," Ander cut in, and then smiled crookedly when he realized how creepy that sounded. "We TP'ed your house last summer, remember?"
"That was you?" Kiernan replied, his eyes widening.
"Yeah, sorry..." Ander said as he turned the car onto Kiernan's street. "All in good fun, right?"
"Right..." Kiernan responded dubiously. He smiled when he caught a glimpse of Shin sitting in his driveway, watching them approach with wide eyes. Kiernan would have delicious fun dangling this over him. Ander Wise giving him a ride home? It would be the biggest news tomorrow at school.
"Hey," Ander said as he pulled up front of the house. "You know, people talk about you and Shin."
"So?" Kiernan replied. They figured that was going to happen, but there wasn't really anything they could do about it. The only two known gay guys in school hanging out were bound to spawn rumors.
"Well, it's not true, right?" Ander continued. As Kiernan shrugged and started to open the car door, Ander place his hand on the other teenager's shoulder to stop him. "Maybe you guys should hang out less?"
Kiernan remained silent for a moment as he studied Ander's face. "Why?" he asked finally.
"Just so... you know, people don't the wrong idea."
Before Kiernan could ask why it would matter if people got the wrong idea, the door swung open and Shin stuck his face into the car. "Hey, Ander." he said with a grin, and a wink. Ander nodded at him silently, but didn't say anything.
Kiernan shoved past his friend without another word, and turned to watch as Ander drove away. He could feel Shin's eyes on him, and wondered how he could even explain the situation if he himself didn't understand what was going on.
"So, is Ander Wise a closet fag?"
"Shin," Kiernan replied with a sigh, "Don't use that word." he slung his backpack over his shoulder, and gestured for Shin to follow him into the house. "I thought you were at Urban?"
"Don't try to change the subject, girlfriend," Shin replied with a wave of his fingers. Kiernan rolled his eyes at the exaggerated gesture, and smiled. "Seriously?" he asked.
They walked into his room. Shin sat down on the bed in a huff, and daintily crossed one leg over the other. "I am serious," he said, "Ander Wise? Why?"
"I don't know," Kiernan replied as he started to remove his books from his bag. "and I'm not going to over-analyze it." He flipped his history book open, and flopped down on the bed beside Shin. "Where are you're books?"
"In my car," Shin said dismissively, and hopped on to the computer at Kiernan's desk. "I'll just check Facebook first."
Kiernan shook his head at his friend's procrastination, and lowered his eyes to the text. U.S. history was interesting enough, but they covered had the same topics over and over since elementary school. He started to drift off.
"Kiernan!" Shin exclaimed suddenly, causing Kiernan to jump forward, sending his books clattering to the floor. He stood up and walked over to the computer. "What?" he asked with a sigh as he leaned over Shin's shoulder.
Staring back at him was his pending friend request list. What seemed like the entire student body had added him. Shin started scrolling down the list of names, and whistled. "Kelly Teeger, Nicole Meriwether... all the cheerleaders. Look, Ander Wise!" He stopped scrolling and leaned back in the office chair. "...I'm surprised Mercer Oakley isn't on this list."
"He added me a few months ago," Kiernan replied absentmindedly as he eyed the list. There were so many names.
"Are you going to accept them all?" Shin asked.
"I guess..." Kiernan said as he fell back on to his bed. Gathering his books from off the ground, he glanced up at his friend. "Shin, Homework. Now."
As president of a GSA with only two members, Kiernan was used to finishing the minutes within... well, minutes and moving on to him and Shin just eating lunch in the classroom they used as the club meeting place. They usually popped in a movie while the teacher assigned to the club would doze in the corner.
"Do we get name tags?"
Kiernan looked up from his new roster, and glanced around trying to figure out who asked the question.
The classroom was full. Full of people. He and Shin had trudged in to find every desk filled, and several people standing along the walls. Kelly was there, and yes... so was Ander. They had actually smiled at Kiernan when he entered.
"Um, no." he said to anyone in the general vicinity. He leaned down to Shin, who was sitting next to him, and whispered. "What do I do?"
"How am I supposed to know?" Shin replied, as he started to apply pink nail polish to his fingers. Kiernan sighed exasperatedly at him, and looked up to address the classroom.
"Shin and I... I mean the Vice President and I weren't expecting such a heavy turn out today, so we don't really have much prepared."
He felt a nudge, and looked back down at his friend. "Do a question and answer session about the club," Shin said as if he had just come up with the most brilliant idea in the world. "That should probably keep them going for most of lunch." Kiernan nodded and surveyed the classroom again.
"Ok... so most of you... all of you are new to the GSA," he paused with a nervous gulp, "I mean, you guys do know you're at the GSA, right?" When everyone nodded in the affirmative, Kiernan continued. "Right... so some of you must have questions, so I'll try to answer as many as I can."
Kelly raised her hand, and without waiting to be acknowledged asked, "Are you and Shin dating?"
Kiernan blinked. "What?"
She smiled. "Are you two going out?" The class was silent while waiting for an answer.
Glancing down again at Shin, who was grinning like an idiot, Kiernan cleared his throat and said, "No, we're just friends... but if anyone has something a bit more general to ask?"
"If I found out my friend is gay," Ander Wise cut in, "do you think it would be a bad thing if I tried to set him up with the guy he likes?"
"Who's gay?" Shin shrieked, almost knocking over his bottle of nail polish. Kiernan looked at him disapprovingly and then smiled at Ander. "I don't see how that could be a bad thing."
"Awesome," Ander replied, leaning back in his chair with a satisfied smile.
Kiernan continued to field more questions until the bell rang, and then let out a sigh of relief. He watched the students stream from the classroom, wondering why there was a sudden shift in interest about gay matters. As he was about to ponder this out loud to Shin, Kelly Teeger approached him.
"Hey Kierry," she said with a giggle, "I'm sorry if you misunderstood what was happening yesterday."
He flashed back to the ridiculous heart, and suddenly remembered that he forgot to mention the whole mysterious debacle to Shin. "No problem," he replied, only raise his eyebrows in surprise when she pulled the heart out of her backpack once again, and handed it to him.
"You were right about the necklace," she said, "It was a little much... and it wasn't Oakley's idea, he just cut out the heart, and taped the candy on."
Kiernan brought the paper heart up to his eyes, and then looked at Kelly. "Are you serious?" he asked.
"Well, I asked what he thought about the necklace, and he didn't seem to mind!" Kelly replied defensively.
Kiernan stared at her for a moment, and then shook his head. "No, I mean did Mercer Oakley really make... this?" He held up the floppy heart again, and a snickers bar fell off.
Nodding, Kelly let out a nervous giggle at Kiernan's expression.
"Why?" he asked. He held up his hand before she could answer. "You know what? I'll ask him myself." He took the heart, and scrunched it into his bag. Without acknowledging the gaping-mouth Shin, and cheerleader Kelly, he swirled around and strode out of the classroom with what he hoped looked like courageous determination.
As he stepped down the hallway, he realized that he had no idea what class Oakley would be in. Why would he? Kiernan slowed his pace for a moment as he tried to figure out why exactly he wanted to confront Oakley in the first place. He hadn't even spoken to him since the whole "fairy" incident.
Turning around, he found some non-descript student from his class staring at him. "That's not my name," he said darkly.
"Right," the student chuckled. "Sorry, I'm just used to Oakley calling you that." He stepped towards Kiernan, and grasped the teenager's shoulder. "Say, are you going to the Valentine's Day dance?"
"I wasn't planning on it," Kiernan replied, shrugging the hand off.
"You should," the kid said, "Oakley will be there."
"Right," Kiernan replied, "Why should that matter?"
The kid chuckled again as if Kiernan had just made a funny, and turned to walk away. "Think about it," he said. "Going to the dance, I mean."
"Hey," Kiernan called out to him, "Where could I find Oakley now?"
"Uh, he has P.E."
Kiernan nodded, and continued down the hallway at a faster pace. Too much weird had happened lately, and he needed some clarification.
Bursting in to the locker room, he was met with the sight of his male classmates in mid-change. He stalked down the aisles of lockers until he came upon Ander Wise and Mercer Oakley in their boxers.
"Hey!" Kiernan shouted at Oakley with a higher pitched voice than he would have liked. "What the hell is this?" He had shoved past Ander and was now displaying the floppy heart for Oakley as if it were evidence in a murder trial.
Oakley stared at the heart for a moment, before turning his muscle-toned body towards Kiernan and placing an arm against the locker above the shorter teenager's head, so that he was hulking over Kiernan like a giant with a six-pack. "You don't like it?" he asked with a deep voice, staring directly into Kiernan's eyes.
"Merc," Ander said with a chuckle from beside him, "I think you're scaring him,"
Indeed, Kiernan was speechless. He was so close to Mercer Oakley's chest that he could see the light scar that Oakley had earned from a motorcycle accident the year before. People talked about it for days afterwards. He could also smell Oakley's cologne, and it definitely wasn't some cheap crap that teenage boys usually wear. As his eyes involuntarily roved the basketball player's naked torso, Kiernan paused as he stared at the built arm next to his head. Oakley's chiseled face was set to neutral, but his eyes flashed when he caught Kiernan glancing at his bicep. "You wanna feel it?" he asked, moving closer.
"Ha, well, I..." Kiernan spluttered, glancing around at the other guys staring at them with amused expressions. He jerked in surprise when Oakley grabbed his wrist, and brought his hand up to the basketball player's rock hard arm. "Do you like it?" he asked, the corner of his mouth moving upwards slightly.
"Sure," Kiernan replied, having lost all of his convictions. Oakley's body heat was clouding his thoughts, and he felt like his chest was about to explode.
"We got to get to class," Ander cut in with a bemused tone. Oakley glanced sharply at him, and then looked back down at Kiernan. "Sorry, we'll have to talk after school." Kiernan nodded, and then almost cried out in shock when Oakley leaned down and kissed him.
"It's a date," the basketball player said with a satisfied expression as he stepped away from Kiernan. When the entire room of boys had emptied, Kiernan sank down to the ground, and rested his face in his hands.
"What just happened?"
Please r/r, thanks for reading! Part Two will be up soon.