Chapter 33: Revelations part 1
I felt like I was in a movie and I was that one character who was so far out that he was losing time. One moment I was saying goodbye to Roman in front of my house and he was driving away, the next moment I'm talking with Tylor at the gym and he was laughing he'd got sweat pearling on his forehead. Then it was Wednesday and I was watching my hands wash dishes at work, double shift, I skipped the last few classes at school to bike to work and only left when the last dishes were done and it was dark outside.
The next moment coach is yelling at the whole team, we're running laps, and there's a game on Saturday and we're all working our way through coach's torturous program and watching strategies afterwards in the locker room. Before I know it, coach pulls me aside and looks at me in a fond way I've never been subjected to before, of my own knowing at least.
"Jon I know you've been waiting for this moment for a while now, and I'm happy I've finally seen enough of you to give this to you"
I don't reply, I'm just looking at him and waiting for him to elaborate.
He sighs and smiles, puts a hand on my shoulder. "I want you to be the captain at the game on Saturday" he smiles wider and I smile too, because yeah that would be amazing. It's a surprise, I'd never seen it coming.
"I talked to Sam, and he's agreed that you should get a shot at this"
"Thanks coach" I mumble and I'm having a hard time getting the smile off my face. I spot Sam over his shoulder, and I expected him to flip me off or promise to beat me up later on, but he smiled. He was leaning against his locker and watching coach and I talk.
"You'll stay after school tomorrow and we'll talk everything through and train a bit just the two of us"
I nodded, Sam had gone through the same routine when he got captain at first.
"Great see you then"
"Yes coach" I smiled and he was off and Sam was coming over to me.
"Don't look so panicked Jon I'm saying congrats man, what do you say you and I sit down and talk a little?" he gestured towards the benches and I nodded shakily. "You're gonna be good at this, I just have this feeling man" Sam smiled at me.
"Aren't you mad at me?" it just flew out of me.
"Nah man it's gonna be good to share some of the pressure, and believe it or not it'll give me some time to worry about my grades" he shrugged. "I don't know how, but you actually manage to keep a better average than me, and you're skipping twice as many classes as me" he chuckled and then mumbled a small "No offence of course"
I chuckled too, and then we set off talking about training and strategies.
My meeting with coach the next day was basically everything Sam had prepared me for, and coach couldn't be more delighted that I seemed to already know my way around the special training. It felt a little weird at the training because coach actually did almost all of it with me, making small talk while running laps and doing pushups.
We did twice as much talk about the game plan than I'd done with Sam, we went over strengths and vulnerabilities in the other team and coach seemed pleased with the inputs I made when we watched a video from their last game. It was beginning to get dark outside when I had finally showered and dressed. I got on my bike and drove directly to Tina's house for the movie night I'd promised to attend.
Everyone were already there but they weren't sitting down yet so I wasn't totally late. I didn't bother with knocking on the door but rather just walked in and met the group in the living room. I could hear Tina's parents rustling around in the kitchen talking quietly together. Chis was standing a little awkwardly by Kielle but he smiled wide and visibly relaxed when he saw me. I went over to him and he clasped my shoulder. "Thought you forgot us man"
"How could I when you've texted me five times telling me not to forget this" I chuckled and Chris laughed, smiled wide enough to show teeth and flipped me off all at the same time.
Kielle huffed and her tiny hand found the crook of Chris's elbow and she pulled him towards the big arm chair next to the couch. Roman flopped down at the end of the couch and looked at me and I took the invitation and sat down next to him. Tina and Neal took their usual spot of Neal sitting in the chair on Roman's side of the couch and Tina sitting on the floor at Neal's feet. Neal usually braided Tina's hair absentmindedly while watching whatever movie the other's had chosen, it was a little odd seeing it the first time it happened but by now it was almost odd if Tina didn't end up with oddly braided hair. Sarah and Michael sprawled on the floor in an odd heap of limbs and an argument about what movie to watch.
Soon everyone was invested in the argument like they always do. It's almost an established tradition to spend the first at least half hour arguing and bickering about movie genre and what movies are 'literally the shittiest I've ever seen' or 'oh my god the best thing that's ever happened to me'. I couldn't care less about the movie choice so I usually took this moment to just sit there and watch the rest argue. At this point I would be thinking about football or something like it, but I'd thought so much about football that I felt exhausted just thinking about watching it on the TV. I could still feel the ache in my thighs from the last two days intense training sessions, and just sitting down to relax actually felt really good.
Chris is smirking at Roman and I and Roman is oddly quiet during the rest's arguing. He is no doubt thinking about the same thing I'm thinking about. Am I gonna come out tonight?
I felt oddly detached to the thought of coming out to the group, in a way it must've been because I didn't feel like it was my decision to do it anymore. I'd promised Roman to do it, because he wanted it. I felt tired and wrung out and not up to even humoring the idea of not coming out to them. And how do you even start that kind of conversation anyway? Do you just wait till they get quiet and then just drop the bomb on them? Wouldn't that be awkward? I couldn't imagine any way of going about this could be anything but awkward. Maybe I should do it separately… get each of them alone in turn and just tell them then, so it won't be as much of a bomb that's being dropped… more like a sack full of bricks.
Then again… saying it once is hard work enough…. Having to repeat it for all of the people in the group who don't already know… shit that would be draining.
The others had settled on arguing about two genres' by this time, well… but by now it's only Sarah and Michael arguing and both are waving their arms around trying to have it their way. It was easy to imagine that every aspect of their relationship would be like this.
Tina was gradually getting more and more impatient, I could see it in her eyes, and Roman was tapping his fingers impatiently on the arm rest on the couch. I considered swinging my feet up in the remaining two free seats on the couch and just taking a nap while they sorted this out.
My mind strayed for a little bit, and I watched Roman's slightly parted legs and wondered if his parent's would be home tonight. Maybe I should just kiss Roman now, I mean that's pretty much the same as coming out, just more in the way of providing physical evidence without having to actually say it.
Saying it was just so much of a hassle, even though it wasn't hard words to say it was still the hardest words to say I'd ever experienced so far. I was looking down at the floor without even looking at it, so absorbed in my own thoughts that I hadn't even noticed the other's asking me what movie I'd like to watch. Roman was the one who snapped me out of it with an light elbow in the side and I jerked out of sheer shock. I snapped my eyes up from the floor and saw everyone looking at me, all eyes worried except for Chris' who was obviously amused. I opened my mouth but suddenly I didn't know what to say. What we're they asking me? and why would they even be asking me anything anyway? I had meant to ask what the question was but instead Iliterally said the first thing that popped up in my mind. "I'm gay- I mean shit- no I really am… gay that is".
I snapped my eyes up from the floor to meet Roman's wide shocked eyes and a hand over his mouth, and I looked around the room which had gone deadly quiet. Everyone were looking at me shocked, except for Chris who looked like he was trying very hard not to laugh and piss his pants at the same time.
"I mean- um… well shit" I breathed. And when they still didn't say or do anything I breathed in and out slow before I gritted out. "Stop looking at me like I'm on fire" that shook Tina and Neal up a bit and they looked at each other fast.
"How?" Michael asked shocked from the floor he was seated on.
"How I'm gay? Or how gay am I? Because I don't know how I'm gay but I know I'm pretty fucking gay, okay?" I grumbled and crossed my arms over my chest defensively, and Chris exploded in laughter and wheezing on the chair and Kielle had to get up off his lap because he jumped up.
"Gotta piss before I do it in my pants" he panted and laughed on his way to the bathroom. Silence fell again, and was then interrupted when Roman started out snickering and I caught his eye and then he blew out full on laughing as well and then I started as well. The other's looked at us like we were mental, which I guess was justified when were just laughing like that without much reason.
"This is serious, right?" Tina asked confused. "Or are you just shitting with us in a totally uncool way right now?"
"No" I breathed trying to calm down again, Roman was holding his breath beside me. "No I'm completely serious guys, I'm gay" Roman released his breath and chuckled a few times but kept under control. I smiled a jerky smile and ran both hands through my hair nervously.
"Well I'm happy you shared this with us Jon, really" Tina smiled and put a hand on my knee and I smiled and didn't know what to say.
"You guys gonna watch a movie or keep ogling Jon all night?" Roman asked then, and the other's snapped their attention to him instead and I relaxed a little more in my seat.
"So are you two…?" Michael pointed his fingers between Roman and us suggestively and waggled his eyebrows up and down.
I looked at Roman who just lifted a challenging and unimpressed eyebrow at Michael. "What?"
"I refuse to answer the question when you're calling it boinking"
"Stop talking around the subject Roman"
"Yeah we're boinking" I stated, and I nudged Michael's leg with a foot.
"Huh" Sarah said and she actually looked surprised. "Wouldn't have thought so"
"Can't you guys just go back to arguing about the movie?" I asked and hoped that it was only in my own ears that I sounded so whiny. Sarah got up and put a movie on and when the others didn't even argue about it was just silently accepted that that would be the movie we watched. Michael didn't even rise to the challenge when Sarah looked directly at him while pressing play. It was an obvious challenge, but it was completely lost when Michael kept glancing back at Roman and I instead of focusing on her.
Chris chose that moment to come back into the room wiping his hands on his thighs and looking down. He wasn't laughing anymore but he was smiling wide enough to show teeth. It was pretty obvious that he was trying very hard to not die from laughter. I caught his eye and his whole face contorted with the effort of holding in his laughing.
"You alright there Chris?" I mumbled but I couldn't hold back the evil little smile off my face. His eyes snapped down and he nodded and flipped me off at the same time. Both Roman and I chuckled.
"And he knew" Sarah stated, and Roman and Chris both nodded and then Sarah looked at me and huffed when I shrugged.
Chris sat down and then Tina dimmed the lights and the whole room went dark except for the screen lighting up everyone's faces. Michael sat up again and looked at me, I couldn't see his face because of the backlight of the screen.
"Why didn't you just tell us Jon?" he asked and everything turned really quiet, the movie started up behind him with a man walking alone along a deserted road.
"At first I had to be sure…" I said quietly, afraid that I would ruin the peaceful moment. "And then… suddenly when it was actually real it just got really difficult to say"
"We're cool with it, I hope you never had any doubts about that Jon" Tina reached out and patted my knee I could just make out her toothy smile in the dark.
"Yeah I knew it wouldn't be a problem… think the problem was with myself"
Michael nodded, accepting that as a good enough excuse and made himself comfortable next to Sarah again.
The other's quieted down and the movie started. It wasn't until the movie was loud enough to mask most of our conversation that Roman reached out and laced our fingers together. I turned towards him just a little so we could talk without catching everyone's attention.
"How are you?" he asked and gave a gentle squeeze.
"Fine… detached… feels like I wasn't even here"
"Oh" Roman nodded; he'd clearly expected something else. "Well okay then"
"No" Roman gave a clipped little smile.
"But you expected something else"
"I guess" he released my hand and I frowned. "Look I'm sorry… I'm behaving like an asshole right now"
"Yeah a little" I mumbled and a beat of silence later we both chuckled lightly.
"Sorry I'm having a hard time seeing things differently than I imagined them in my head"
"Yeah I'm picking up on that, I'm not gonna be like that you know"
"No I-I'm not asking you to"
"Good, 'cause I'd say no"
"Yeah I know, sorry"
"'s fine, it's been a weird night" I mumbled, and smiled down at him.
"Yeah" Roman breathed.
"Coach is giving me a chance to be captain at the game tomorrow" I breathed out and this somehow felt like more of a relief to let out than the whole coming out thing. Roman's attention snapped to me immediately.
"Seriously?" he breathed and I nodded and a wide smile spread over his face. "That's amazing! Why didn't you spill the beans as soon as you came into the room?"
"I-I didn't know what to say" I stuttered.
"Oh my God I am so happy for you, how are you not bouncing off the ceiling right now?"
"Mainly because my legs hurt so much I can barely walk" I breathed and he looked oddly at me. "Coach is putting me through extra training to test if I'll be good enough"
"Oh" he mumbled and looked down at my thighs, or my crotch, I couldn't quite tell from the angle I was looking at him from. I chuckled and he sought out my eyes again. "Wanna touch?" I smirked.
"Don't mind if I do" Roman breathed and a warm palm snuck its way onto my thigh and his fingers curled in to grab a handful of my leg and I grunted when my overstrained thighs burned from the sensation. Roman smirked and I tensed the muscles in my entire leg and Roman looked up at me while trying to grab at me but failed when the muscle didn't let off.
"Damn that is like a rock" he breathed and I chuckled. "Does it hurt when I grab this hard?"
"Nah not really, I don't really feel it all that much… mostly just pressure and of course like the contact on the top of the skin"
"Huh…" Roman smiled a sly smile. "What about this…?" he muttered and quick as a mouse released my leg and grabbed the other thigh with his fingers curled in like a claw, he squeezed hard and I let out a pain filled breathy "Ughhf!" the muscles in my thigh tried to tense up but at the same time fight off the attack and tried to pry his hand off my thigh with my hands as well.
Roman finally let go and I rubbed my attacked thigh, maybe relaxing so much after that hard a workout was a bad idea, I could barely stretch out my legs. I should have only relaxed this much when I was actually home, the bike ride home would be absolute torture now.
"Didn't expect that, huh?" Roman breathed triumphantly.
"No I did not" I smiled. At least Roman was happy.
"Let me touch again" he mumbled and reached out.
"No way" I slapped his hands away before he could grab at my legs. "No- stop grabbing me- Roman-n-no" I breathed and I quickly took hold of both his wrists in one hand and held them there.
"What the actual fuck are you guys talking about back there?" Sarah grumbled and halfway turned around to look at us.
"It's not like that, my legs are-" I put both my hands up shocked and tried to explain. Roman beat me to it and in a much more effective way than me.
"Jon's doing extra workouts because he made captain on the football team" Roman chirped up happily, and I frowned a little. What if I'd wanted to tell them that, but Roman smiled at me and I couldn't help but smile back.
"What!? You did!?" Tina shot up. "If I had known I'd have made sure we had champagne!"
"No I mean it's not that big of a deal, I'm just playing as captain tomorrow" I said fast. "If I'm not good enough then it'll be the first and last time, so really, let's wait with the celebrations and all that jazz"
"What come on man, you're gonna be fucking awesome, Sam isn't even all that good" Chris wiggled out from under Kielle to slump up against me on the couch. "You'll be far better than him, fuck, I can't believe you made captain, have you told your mom yet? She's probably gonna have another pizza party" he nudged me with an elbow.
"I uh… I haven't told her yet, because honestly I thought coach would change his mind today, I mean I met with him today to go over everything and… yeah… I thought he would change his mind"
"Nah man" Chris clasped my shoulder in his hand. "He knows you're gonna be great"
"How are the others taking it so far, I mean the rest of the team?"
"I don't imagine Dylan will be terribly thrilled" I mumbled. "I mean he doesn't like me… they haven't been told yet as far as I know, maybe Sam is telling them now, I think they were going to hang out tonight"
"Man you're going to hang out with them more now, you realize that, right?"
"Yeah I'm telling you, to raise the team spirit and make them like you as the captain you'll have to be part of the gang"
"Huh…." I looked at Roman, I knew he'd not like the idea of it, he bit his lip and looked unsure. "I mean that's probably good right? Then I can keep an eye on them, make sure they don't come near where you guys are at.. right?"
"Yeah that would be great, we could make a schedule" Tina said and smiled wide.
"Finally! Oh my God! We can finally have our breaks totally unbothered!" Michael shot up from the floor. "We'll make a schedule and you'll just lead them through the school and we'll make sure to stay out of the way!"
"Yeah this is great, you better keep that captain position now" Sarah actually smiled at me. "I mean no pressure or anything, clearly" she chuckled and I smiled. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Chris frowning deeply and looking at the others, they were all looking excited.
"I'll do my best, I promise"
"Okay so when do you want the cafeteria? In the beginning or the end of the lunch break?"
"I'm thinking the beginning" I ran a hand through my hair. "They like to end the break outside"
"Cool, we'll take the end of the break then" Michael said and he sat back down. "And then you can just all of our phone numbers and report in with us when you guys are on the move"
"Yeah I can do that" I mumbled, had my upgrade as team captain just been made into me going undercover as a spy for the drama class. Had I literally been separated even more from the group? We'd just made a schedule so that I wouldn't at all be near them… I mean sure then the team wouldn't either, but with the team I followed, so I'd be more alone than I was before. Sure Pedro and Sam were okay, but I counted this group as my friends, not the team. but this group had just taken these news as news for themselves.
Would I even be able to hang out with the team as much as Chris had hinted I had to? Wouldn't they think I was boring, ditch me somewhere and disregard the schedule I had just agreed to? Could I somehow fit in with the team? I guess I could… it would take a lot of work though. But would I want to? It would just isolate me further from this group, and in turn also Roman.
"Man I don't care who you're hanging out with I'll just follow your schedule" Chris chuckled and clasped my shoulder. At least Chris would still be able to hang out with me.
"Thanks" I smiled awkwardly.
"You know the guys from my team will be so stoked when they hear about this! We'll totally join your team more now, when you have to start going to parties and everything"
"Yeah" I smiled. "That'd be pretty cool man"
"Yeah it's gonna be cool, we'll keep you company"
"I forgot about the parties"
"Yeah I bet you would" Chris smirked. "I don't think you have to attend all of them, just more than you do now"
I looked at Roman who had a sour expression on this face, but as soon as he registered me looking he schooled it back into place and smiled a twitchy smile.
"Well" Chris clapped his hands together and slumped back into the couch up against me and slung an arm over my shoulders. "Are we gonna watch that movie or what?"
Roman leaned forward to look at Chris sourly and was about to open his mouth but Chris looked at him challengingly. "You got something to say Roman? Because maybe we can make a schedule about that as well" Chris snapped out, and I looked at him shocked. I didn't quite understand what that was about and I didn't like being in the middle of it.
"You wanna take that outside Chris?" Roman quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Sure let's go pretty boy" Chris got up, and Roman snapped up right after him.
"Whaa…." I let out looking after them and they looked back at me. "Are you guys okay? You're not gonna start something out there, right?"
"No" Roman smiled but it didn't reach his eyes and that worried me. Chris didn't say anything.
"Chris?" I asked.
"No of course not, I'm putting my hands in my pockets and they'll remain there" he smirked and shoved his hands deep into his pockets.
"And your feet will stay on the ground of course" I smiled.
"Of course, solidly planted" he nodded and Roman turned and walked to the kitchen, Chris trailed behind him and Roman closed the door.
"Sooo… they don't really like each other all that much, huh?" Michael asked.
"Chris is just a little protective" I shrugged.
"Okay… but just know that we are too" Michael huffed, he didn't blink and he didn't shy away from eye contact.
"Yeah I know" I smiled, because Michael was just trying ti be a good friend for Roman.
"Okay I think we've had enough testosterone for tonight, let's just put that movie on" Tina broke up the tension.
"Yeah let's do that" Michael laid down again. Tina dimmed the lights and a comfortable silence settled. Chris and Roman came back quite fast, Chris took his spot in the armchair with Kielle and Roman sat down carefully next to me. they didn't look like they'd had problems or anything, Chris kept glancing towards me though as if to see if I was okay. I didn't know what I was supposed to not be okay over, but I appreciated the concern.
Roman sat with his legs crossed at the knee and a stiff smile on his face. I didn't want to upset him so I just let him be until he'd unfold himself again and not be so stiff. The movie proceeded and slowly Roman let go a little and actually towards the end he reached out to me again and I laced our fingers together again. He smiled a small smile and I smiled back. When the movie ended I felt completely wiped, and didn't feel like watching another… most of all I just wanted to go to bed early to be ready for tomorrow. I unlaced my fingers from Roman's and got ready to get up.
"I think I'm heading home guys" I said and got up and felt around my pockets to check that my phone and wallet was there, they were.
"That's early" Tina smiled.
"Yeah I'm practically dead after training…. And I want to be well rested for tomorrow" I smiled.
"I can give you a ride home if you want to" Roman piped up and I smiled and nodded.
"Maybe I should do that though" Chris said and got up, and everyone turned to him. "I mean you have your bike with you, right?" I nodded. "My parent's car has room for it, yours don't Roman"
I looked at Roman and he slumped back and nodded.
"Sure whatever" Roman mumbled, and I definitely got the feeling that Roman was angry.
"Thanks for the offer though" I tried, but Roman shot me a clipped smile and looked away.
"C'mon big guy, let's go" Chris clasped my shoulder and steered me towards the door.
"Thanks I can barely walk as it is" I mumbled and he chuckled.
"I got you, don't worry about that" Chris mumbled. I got the feeling that he was talking about more than just giving me a ride home, but I let it slide, hoping I would be saved from having to do anything about it.
Chris and I exited the house. He slung an arm over my shoulders and could barely reach the shoulder furthest from him and he wasn't quite tall enough to reach me properly. I looked at him, because he was behaving different, he was seeking more contact that he usually did, not that it was a problem… but I was curious about it.