A/N: The beginning of this is a repeat of the shower scene only from Tyler's Point of View. I'm sorry if it seems redundant, but I wanted to let the reader know how Tyler was feeling.
Chapter 6 – Tyler
Leif was in the showers and I was sitting outside thinking about it. I do not know why. I don't think I'd ever really thought about a guy taking a shower before. Sure, I'd been in many group showers over the years due to my involvement in athletics, but I'd just never thought about it.
I leaned my head back against the lockers and banged it against the cold metal a few times, trying to chase these unwanted thoughts out of my head. I could hear the water running, and I had nothing to do to preoccupy me. Why did I have the urge to peak around the partition and look at Leif like some peeping tom trying to spy on the girl's swim team?
His bag was lying invitingly on a bench not too far away. I glanced back and forth, just to make sure the coast was clear, and then I pounced on it. I know it was terribly nosey for me to snoop, but I really was trying to find a way to make up to Leif how much of a Douche I'd been in the parking lot to just stand there. I had seriously just frozen up. It had all happened so fast, and then my team mates were laughing and high fiving. They got in there cars without even giving the poor kid they'd discarded in the dumpster a second thought. Were these guys really my friends? Maybe, I should have picked better.
I shook my head, once again trying to clear undesirable thoughts, and pulled out what remained of Leif's mangled MP3 player. I tried to turn it on, and to my surprise the screen lit up and song titles scrolled across it. I plugged in the head phones quick to see if it would still play, but had no luck there.
I suddenly knew how I was going to make it up to Leif. Besides, he'd done me a real solid by getting me off the hook with Mr. Smith on that whole chemistry lab fire thing. I don't know what I had been thinking when I stuck all that paper in the Bunsen burner. Chemistry was just so boring!
I heard the water shut off, and quickly crammed the broken MP3 player in my pocket and righted Leif's bag. I heard him rustling around, getting dried off and dressed.
"You alright?" I called, because he'd been in there a long time.
"Yeah, just give me a sec." He said back. I winced, he sounded irritated…I guess I couldn't blame him. I'd have been irritated to if someone left me in a dumpster to rot with yesterday's unwanted cafeteria pizza.
After another minute, I heard him laughing. My curiosity got the best of me, and I peeked around the wall.
"What's so funny?" I asked. He was looking in the mirror wearing my clothes. If it seems like I had an unending supply of clean clothes around, well I did. Never know when it might be useful to have extra clothing around.
I was so busy looking at him that I almost missed what he said next. It was something about looking ridiculous, I think.
"I think you look…nice." Oh shit. Did I really just say that? What the hell is wrong with me? Since when do I think any guy looks nice?
I quickly tried to change the subject, "Do you need a ride home?"
"What did you say?" He asked. Great, he wasn't going to let it go. I had to try to play it off.
"Do you need a ride home?" I asked him again, stressing each word.
"No, no…before that." He wasn't going to let me off the hook. I guessed that I could tell him the truth…What was the worst that could happen anyway?
"Oh…Just that you look nice…in my clothes." Boy did I sound lame. I hope he didn't go around telling people about this. I think I was blushing. Seriously?
Apparently, my mouth wasn't done eating my foot, because I asked, "Is it true?"
He looked sincerely confused when he asked, "Huh?"
Now I had to explain. I felt my cheeks burning as a clarified for him, ""What they say about you?" Then I added quickly, "I mean, I know you kissed Cody in the shower that one time…but I always kind of thought you were just being a smart ass."
"I was…" He had cocked his head to the side and was looking rather nervous with where this conversation was going before he finished, "-being a smart ass."
"So..?" I prompted, because he still hadn't answered my question. He gave a large sigh and seemed to contemplate his answer. I wasn't even sure if I wanted the truth or if I just wanted him to say he wasn't gay, so that I no longer had to feel this way. What was it I was feeling anyway?
I don't know, but it felt too close to attraction for me to be comfortable with. I did not like boys…I think.
"I don't like labels. I'm attracted to whoever I'm attracted to." Finally came his vague answer. I didn't really know what he meant. I guess he was bi? Did that make me feel any better? Not really. The next thing I said came out as a whisper, and I had to avert my eyes. I couldn't even tell you why I was asking, but I just felt like I had to know.
"Are you attracted to me?" I asked, and for some reason my voice came out hoarse. I met his eyes then, waiting for the answer. I saw panic flash across his face only briefly.
He only hesitated a second before answering, "No…There's this new girl, Cassandra…She's pretty."
He shrugged, and I let go of the tension in my shoulders. It felt like he was lying, but I was willing to accept the lie.
"Oh…Well, come on, my trucks out here." I prompted and walked out of the locker room. I don't know what I would have said or done if he'd said yes. I was actually relieved to not have to deal with that.
We both climbed into my truck and we rode in silence for a while except for an occasional direction from Leif. The closer we got to his house the more he tensed up. I glanced at him, raising an eyebrow. He actually looked more panicky than he had in the locker room when I had been questioning him about his sexuality.
"Uh, Leif…you ok, man?" I tried to sound kind of casual, but I was a little worried. Leif was gripping the 'oh shit' handle in my truck like a life line, and I seriously don't think that I'm that bad of a driver.
"Yeah…I just…never mind." He obviously wasn't going to tell me. He was so weird! I seriously just needed to settle my debts with him and get away. He was making me feel complicated, and I didn't like it.
We pulled into a not so good neighborhood. I knew that just on the other side of small patch of forest down the road, things got better. Thinking that's where we were going, I nearly missed it when he spoke.
"It's that one there on the corner." His voice was soft and he was looking down. I looked at the trailer. It wasn't hard to spot. The thing was probably from the 70s and it looked like it was surrounded by a junk yard. I glanced back at him, and he looked like he wanted to sink into my seat and disappear.
That's when it dawned on me that he was embarrassed for me to see where he lived. I can be pretty thick sometimes. I didn't know what to do. My first instinct was the reassure him. Hell, why should he be embarrassed when I was the one who had just been poking my nose into his business and asking personal and uncomfortable questions. I should be embarrassed.
However, being the cool guy that I am, I decided to just play it off like I hadn't noticed either the condition of his home or his shame about it. We pulled to a stop outside of his house and he started climbing out.
"So…are you coming to the game tonight?" He looked kind of surprised at my question.
"Uh, no probably not…." He answered as he slung his bag over his shoulder, "Hey, thanks for the ride. Don't think you like owe me or anything….We're square, I guess. I'll bring you your clothes sometime…when no one else is around."
"Nah, it's cool. Keep them." They look good on you, I finished in my head.
"Ok, Thanks again then…Bye." He shut my door and started walking towards homely little trailer. I felt my heart wrench, but what could I do?
I started my truck and pulled away from the curb. I passed a pretty girl just on the edge of Leif's yard. I didn't recognize her, but she seemed to be scrutinizing me. Her hair was long and dark, falling down to her mid-back. Her long side sweep bangs covered one of her eyes from view, and she was wearing blue jeans and a simple black tank top with a large purple heart on it. She wasn't the type of girl that would normally catch my eye, but like I said, she was pretty.
I checked in my rearview mirror, after I'd driven past her, and saw her jogging back towards Leif. Good, I thought, maybe that's the girl he was talking about. If I was so happy for him, then why was I feeling this awkward twitch of jealousy in my gut?
I shook my head again, and drove home. I lived just a few miles away in a better neighborhood than anything around where Leif and that girl lived. My house was large and had two stories. It had a big yard and a nice pool in the back that we hardly ever used.
In fact, our house looked like a typical 2.5 children suburban home from the outside. Inside was a completely different story. My parents own their own health food store and they are total hippies! Ha, bet you didn't see that one coming! No one ever does. My dad sometimes jokes that my mom must have gotten abducted by aliens and I was the unholy offspring of an extraterrestrial…No kidding, he actually thinks that's funny.
Anyway, business is good, and they totally believe in letting me be myself in any way that I want to. Although, I think it sometimes disappoints them that I'm an in-crowd jock, they'd never admit it. I've never had anything but unconditional love and support from my parents. I knew I was lucky, but today I just felt like I'd been hit in the face with the reality that other people aren't always as lucky as I am. I shouldn't be embarrassed by my parents, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit. I never had pool parties or any sort of party, because I didn't want my friends to know how crazy my parents were.
"Hey Mom…Dad, I'm home." I called, as I walked in and got tackled by a fuzz ball that my mom calls a dog.
"Hey to you too, Dino…" I said, picking up the Pomeranian, so that he couldn't continue to maul me. Upon entering the living room, I encountered a scene that most people would have probably found weird…actually, I found it weird too, but I was used to it. My mom and my dad were both dressed in only skirts that looked like they'd been made from some kind of grass and they were moving around the living room to a drum beat in weird shaky movements.
I started not to ask, but this was a little odd even for them, "Uh…What are you guys doing?"
"Hi, Sweetheart." My mom called, not caring that she was naked from the waist up. "We're doing a rain dance. Did you have a good day at school?"
"Mom! Please!" I shouted and turned my back to the,. "This is why I never have friends over!"
She just laughed, "Honey, the human body is a natural and beautiful thing, and you shouldn't be embarrassed to see it!"
Yup, free love, peace, tree hugging, and nature…That was my parents. I didn't bother answering her. They'd been giving me this speech ever since I could remember.
"Eh, I've got a game tonight…So, I'm going to go change and then go over to Jason's house. You guys keep on…rain dancing…" I shook my head and walked upstairs.
Actually, I wasn't going to Jason's….I was going to buy an iPod.
A/N: Haha What do you think about Tyler's parents? I absolutely love them…wish my parents had been like that…sans the nakedness….Also, I'm so proud of myself for pumping out these chapters so fast! Yay me! Special thanks to Literature Freak and Esquirella (and the anonymous "me") for all the reviews! You guys make me want to keep writing!