Chapter 1: New Beginnings:

The damp weather was cool on my face, a fog had settled in the park where I was standing, looking up at the knotty tree in front of me. This old oak had been here for about two hundred years now, it must surely have seen a lot in its time. I usually came here every morning before I went to school. Walking through the park on my way to school was a shortcut I had learned two years ago, but now I didn't see it as a short cut, it was more like a ritual now.

My watch beeped for the second time, I was going to be late today, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave this place. It was like the great oak in front of me, had shot its roots up from the ground and tied them around my feet, binding me to the small path I stood on. Taking a deep breath I zipped down my hoodie, revealing the red and white shirt of the Wolfs, the Wolfs is the Wolford football team. I tugged my hoodie into my backpack and began walking towards my school. At school I was entitled to wear my football shirt, it was almost like the football team had uniforms, signaling my position in the school hierarchy.

My name is Jonathan Joseph Black I am a football player, I know what you think, I must be the quarterback right? Well no, the team captain Samuel is the quarterback. I have a sick kick, so naturally I have the position of the kicker. But when Sam is injured I'm the replacement quarterback. I'm quite good at it, or that's what everyone tells me, the coach even wants me to take Sam's spot after the Christmas break, but I don't know about that… Being a football player you have to be tough, fit and feel absolutely nothing, that's what coach said when I, along with most of the current football team went for tryouts. I don't fit into that description very well though. I can be tough when I want to and I am fit, I just don't like being an ass and mean to others, and I feel quite a lot but I never show that to anyone. So I am in every way like any other kid in school, pretending to be something I'm not.

I reached the school just in time to hear the bell ring; maybe I wouldn't be that late. The main entrance doors were wide open as usual in the summer. The halls were nearly empty so I could easily run for my locker. Instead of trying to type a code I just gave it a little punch. My locker hadn't worked for about one year now. It flung open as if by magic, and I collected my history books and slammed it shut again. When I had shut my locker I had already started running again, turning a corner I was stopped by something small and soft, I was sent backwards and dropped all of my books. The boy that I had run into fell backwards, and he too dropped all of his books.

"Sorry!" I immediately said, starting to collect his books for him, when he looked up and saw who I was his eyes grew wide, and I remembered I wasn't supposed to talk. In the football team there were a few ground rules; don't be nice be tough, it's never your fault, and don't say anything unless it's hurtful in any form or fashion. I was known as the quiet guy on the team, and so I never spoke unless I was spoken to.

"No! No it was my fault!" he quickly gathered my books and shoved them into my hands. "It's okay it was my fault, I'll clean this up"

"I'm sorry" I said once more, not even knowing what I was apologizing for anymore, somehow I felt I was apologizing for something other than knocking him off his feet.

He was fairly small I was almost a head taller than him; he had half long blonde hair and nice clothes. I was certain I had seen him somewhere before I just couldn't figure out where.

I didn't say sorry for being late when I entered the classroom, the teacher Mr. Michaels was a friend of my mothers, he sometimes came to our house for dinner, so he knew about my pretending and didn't think much of it.

Not long into the history lesson which was about the French Revolution I found out where I had seen the boy from the hall way. He came very awkwardly into the classroom, and nearly inaudible mumbled an apology for being late.

"That's quite all right Roman, just take a seat lets continue the lesson" Mr. Michaels said kindly. Roman? What kind of a name was Roman; I had never heard the like before.

"Thank you Mr. Michaels" the boy… Roman mumbled, and walked down the rows of seats scouting for empty ones, I suddenly became aware that I was sitting next to an empty chair. Somewhere deep inside I hoped Roman would sit down next to me, I really didn't know why I hoped that, I had always preferred sitting alone, mainly because I didn't want to drag anyone down with me and my bad grades. Roman ended up with sitting next to a blonde girl he seemed to know and the lesson proceeded.

The fog had lifted when I finally got a break from classes; I sat in the school yard on a bench with most of the football team. Some of the cheerleaders were there too, most of them trying to adore their way into the players hearts. Most of the poor girls would succeed, but not long after they would break things off and find another player to adore.

"Hi Jon" Melissa sat down with Jessica beside me, and brought me out of my train of thoughts. I nodded in response and she giggled sending meaningful glances to Jessica. I mentally sighed and got up from the bench, usually no one followed me when I suddenly walked of, but this time Melissa decided to do so.

"Jon" she said suddenly. "Do y-you want to go to the party this Saturday with me?"

I didn't really say anything for a very long time, and then when I decided I had to answer I shook my head and mumbled "Not going"

"Oh… well if you don't like parties we can just hang around, wouldn't that be fun?" she pressed on.

"I have to go" was all I could think of saying, and before she could answer I was already gone. I wandered around the hallways for a long time, before I entered the old part of the school. This part of the school had been closed for a very long time and wasn't used anymore, I had always thought it was a waste of classrooms but I guess I was the only one with that opinion.

The old auditorium was still there, with a few broken instruments and a lot of dust, I sat down on the piano bench. I knew how to play the guitar but that was about it.

A rustle outside the classroom caught my attention and slowly I got up, I had expected it to be Melissa, but it wasn't

Dylan and Thomas two of the football players stood in the far end of the dimly lit hallway, they appeared to be talking to someone on the ground, and I could only make out the word 'fag'.

For a long time all they did was talk to that someone, then Dylan stretched his back and signaled Thomas that they should leave. Thomas stood of from the ground where he had been kneeling down, the delivered a kick and walked off. I stood there shocked in the doorway to the auditorium; the one on the floor was Roman. He didn't get up after the two had left him, I heard a door somewhere slam shut and I knew they were gone, but why did Roman not get up?

I felt panic rise as I watched Roman for what felt like hours but really was seconds, I started feeling cold and clammy as I walked on legs that felt like jelly towards him. The first thing I saw was that he was staring at me; the first thing that caught my attention was his blue green eyes staring at me. He appeared to be okay, well not entirely okay, he had a few bruises here and there, but I had feared the worst.

"A-are you okay?" at this point I had completely forgotten that I too was wearing a football shirt, somehow I forgot I didn't usually speak to anyone, normally I didn't speak to anyone because I really didn't want to hear what they had to say, but today was different.

Roman nodded and with shaking arms he pushed himself up into a sitting position and rested his back against the cold stone wall behind him. I crouched down in front of him. "Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yeah" he answered in a cautious voice, his voice was like- like the voice of a singer, trained and tamed to be beautiful, he truly was blessed having such a voice.

"What happened?" I asked, suddenly I became aware that it was me who was actually leading the conversation.

"You saw it" he said his eyes not leaving mine for the longest of time. "You were right there watching, you know what happened" he said in a serious tone.

"I-eeh-I-" was all I could manage to say.

"I'm sorry" he said then. "I didn't mean to blame you like that"

"No you're right" I said quickly, I ran a hand through my curly brown hair and sighed, I sat down beside him up against the wall. "I should have done something; it would have been the right thing to do"

"Not if you'd like to keep a good reputation, no one helps the faggy-kid" Roman said smiling slightly, which confused me very much.

"Jonathan Black" I said, holding out my hand.

"Roman Fick" he said shaking it. "It was nice meeting you Jonathan, but I really must get back now"

"That's okay I have to go to class too, see you around?"

"Hopefully not" Roman laughed, and I was left completely taken aback. "Us meeting again means that the football team would be close by, and I spend most of my day avoiding them. So I really do hope that we do not meet again, nothing personal of course"

"Oh… that makes sense, I guess" I smiled. "I'll try to keep them away from this part of the school then"

"Thanks… you are really different from the rest of them, you know that… right?"

"Yeah I know" I said. "Please don't tell anyone"

"I won't" Roman said and got up, he smiled a small smile and walked away, I noticed a slight limp in his was of walking.