“Luke.” Lily called as he ran a hand through his blonde hair. “Breakfast!” Luke grabbed the stack of posters from the printer, one slipped to the floor Luke failed to notice as he made is way through his messy room to the door.
“Hey mum,” Luke said sitting down at the table in Fair-winds. Damien was also sat at the table, “Damien” Luke said curtly,
“Honey, what are your plans for today?” Lily asked Luke buttering toast,
Luke shrugged “Not much just school.”
Lily brought over the toast and coffee. “Are you going to see that Maddie girl?” Damien asked.
“Subtle” Luke thought, Damien had been practical pushing Luke to date Maddie. He liked her a lot and they got on well but Maddie just wasn't the person Luke was interested in. “I don't know, I don't think I can, I said I'd help with this dance after school.”
“What dance is that baby?” Lily said
“Senior Prom” Luke shrugged again taking a sip of coffee.
“I didn't know you were helping with that?” Damien said looking up from his I-pad
“oh I wasn't but Noah asked me to help,”
“Noah. Luke I think you can tell him your busy, you could take Maddie somewhere nice.” Damien reached for his wallet.
“Damien!” Luke hated it when he forced money on him to entertain Maddie when they weren't actually dating. He let the 20 dollars sit on the table.
“No, Luke you know I don't like you hanging out with this Noah boy.”
“Well I already promised him so...”
“Luciano, I don't care what you promised, I said No” Damien said pushing the $20 closer to Luke.
Luke just looked at his step-dad “Why do you always do this?”
“Because he's what you call?...Fairy,”
“You mean gay? I can't hang out with Noah cos he's gay, he's a normal person Damien.” Luke bunched his fisted on the table.
“No gay man is normal, it's wrong and immoral.” Damien talked down to him.
“Mum,” Luke said trying to get her to back him up on the matter.
“I said No Luciano. He's always trying to get you into the wrong things”
Lily looked at Damien, “Their kids sweetheart.”
“It up to us to deicide what their allowed to do, Luciano your not old enough to make your own decisions,”
“Your not staying after school today, be home by 3.30”
with that Luke thumped his coffee mug on the table, coffee slashing over the top of the mug, he picked up his toast and his bag leaving the dinning table. “I'm so outta here, Bye mum!”
“Ok, I'll sent you the notes ok.” Luke said to Will as they left class. “See you later,” Luke waved as Will walked over to Gwen who was standing near the lockers talking to Maddie. Luke pulled the posters from his bag and gave them a once over.
“Hey” Noah said with a smile.
“Hi!” Luke said a little to brightly.
“How are you?” Noah asked.
“I'm good,” Luke replied softly “How are you?”
“I'm good too, haven't talked to you much lately,” Noah said he had a sad look in his eye.
Luke nodded “yeah I've been kinda busy.” he didn't want to say he'd been avoiding him cos of Damien was saying.
“yeah, yeah I know what you mean, I mean the dance has been taking up all my time so...” but what he was thinking was “I know you've been avoiding me, but I want to know why? we are best friends aren't we?”
“Yeah yeah, I'm sure, anyway I got those flyers you wanted me to do.” Luke still had them gripped in his sweating hand. Noah reach up to take them off him, his hand brushed against Luke's, he let it rest there for a second. Both recognised the movement.
Noah quickly moved his hand taking the posters, “Wow these look awesome,”
“Yeah,” Luke's throat was dry. “Thanks”
“Well the GSA meeting is about to start so... do you wanna come?” Noah offered.
“Umm,” Luke thought about it. But he also thought about what Damien said today “I don't think I can, not today sorry.”
“If this is about you not being gay then it's ok it's a Gay Straight Alliance.” Noah said
“Noah. I get it ok, I'll talk to you later.” Luke turned towards the lockers,
“Hey” Noah grabbed his arm, “Do it for me” Luke looked at the touch, “Please” Noah added.
“Hey everyone this is Luke Snyder, he helped with the flyers.” Noah introduced.
“Hey” Everyone said back,
“Hi Luke, Thanks for your help, we appreciate it.” the teacher said inviting him to the join the circle.
“Oh thank you, Mr Evans,”
“We've heard a lot about you, it's nice to finally meet you,” a blonde girl said.
Luke looked at Noah. Mr Evans started to talk again “Ok so I know some of you wanted to share you experiences coming out. If you don't want to that is perfectly fine, and also if you need to leave to have some time out that is also fine, we are here to support each other. Luke our one rule in this room, what is said in this room stays in this room. Ok, Shall I start?”
Luke listened intently to Mr Evans coming out story, he was amazing at the bravery of this teacher. One, to come out to his dad who used to be something in the military. And two, to re-live the experience telling the small group of students about how he came out. He'd never had him in any classes. But Luke knew he'd taught drama and apparently worked on a couple of films as well. Luke was looking at the floor and finding it quite hard to keep his emotions in check. “Luke if you don't mind me asking what are your views on homosexuality?” Mr. Evans asked.
“Ah” Luke coughed to clear the lump in his throat, “I don't know, I was raised by my mum and dad, and I guessed they were kinda ok with it, I mean they never said it was wrong. However when Holden died, he's my real farther. A couple of years later my mother married Damien who has very strong views against it. But I still can't see anything wrong, cos looking in this room there isn't anything wrong. Sorry I don't mean to insult anyone, sorry.” Luke fell silent.
Lily got home from the grocery store, the door was open, she walked warily in to the house. She didn't like Fair-winds that much, it was too big for the three of them. She called out “Hello?” and turned towards the kitchen.
Lily jumped dropping her bags “Damien! You scared me what are you doing home?!” she started to pick the items off the floor as Damien walked over to her showing her the poster that he'd found in Luke's room. She looked at it. “So he's helping out with a school dance, so what? He's getting involved in lots of school activities. After all this stuff with his drinking, this is a good thing Damien, I know lots of parents who want their kids to get involved in after school activities.” Lily moved all the groceries into the kitchen.
“It's the gay straight alliance. He's not planning the senior prom.”
Lily looked at him, “Damien, you need to stop accusing him of doing something wrong, he's stopped drinking, he's back in school. He's in a good place now and we can't jeopardise that.”
“He lied to us Lily, how do know he's not lying to us about not drinking any more.”
“I trust him, he's our son he's 17 and maybe it's because he knows how you feel about homosexuality, and acting like this is not going to bring either of you any closer, every time you behave like this it pushes him away every time, cos he wants to impress you cos your a farther figure but he's staying true to what he believes and cares about. It's tearing him and this family apart.” Lily said standing on one side of the kitchen.
“But all I'm trying to do is get him to make that right type of friends, you know about the Noah boy. I've seen them together, how they act together. It's not normal, is it normal the fact he's planning a gay dance.”
Lily couldn't believe she was listening to this, “Ok Damien what is normal to you? Is it putting a shirt and tie and going to work, or spending hours in a office never spending any time with your family or going through Luke's room while he's not here looking for any slightest thing to pick a fight over. That's you idea of normal.”
“I am not picking fights Lily, I am making sure that he is not stashing alcohol! And as for work it's what I have to do to provide this family” Damien countered
“So you don't trust Luke, and you never listen,” Lily breathed out she needed so space from Damien. “Nothing ever changes,”
“Lily what's that supposed to mean?”
“Remember when Luke was 13 I mean he was having a hard time getting used to the fact that you were now his farther figure, and you use to take him, no you used to drag him to sign up for soccer practice. He never wanted to go but you forced him. But what about now? What if Luke doesn't fit your idea of the perfect son is?”
“Luke is not gay Lily” Damien raised his voice.
Lily rolled her eyes “And so what if he is?”
“No Lily I will not have that in my house!”
“Regardless of who he is and who he likes he is still MY SON!” Lily shouted, she turned exasperated but turned to face Damien again “You maybe be able to force him to play soccer but you can't force him to be something he's not.”
“Luke how has it been for you to accept Noah even with Damien being very homophobic?” Mr Evans asked.
“Well the short of it is; I've known Noah for longer than I've known Damien, I trust Noah more and he's seen me through the death of my father, and recently I fell into drinking and he saw me through all that about my surgery and so on. He's still the same guy as he was before and for a long time he's the only friend I had and” Luke swallowed he found it hard to continue.
After the session Noah said “Thanks for all you said it meant a lot,”
Luke nodded “It was the truth, right now I wanna go see my dad, can you come with me?”
As they approached the pond at Snyder Farm. Luke turned to Noah “Hey, do you mind if you wait here, I just wanna talk to dad in privet,”
Noah bumped his bag down “Sure, I'll be right here.” He watched Luke walk to the pond alone, and talk to the water. A good half hour later Luke walked back up to him, his eyes were a little puffy. Noah hugged him he didn't say anything about it. Luke and Noah sat back down resting against the tree, “Look at this place, the grass has gotten so long since I've been here with you,”
“Yeah I know, it's been a while.” They fell into silence.
Then Noah spoke again “I'm sorry for what happened, you know about what I told you...that I liked you,”
Luke stared at the water, “...It's fine,”
“It's just.... It doesn't seem fine, ever since I told you you've been disant with me,” Noah followed Luke's gaze out at nothing but the water and trees on the far side.
“Well what else did you expect Noah, of course things are going to be different.” Luke said suddenly.
“I don't know, We used to tell each other everything and I thought this was something I should tell you.”
“Well didn't you think what it was going to do to our friendship?” Luke's brown eyes looked at Noah. “I mean I know your out and happy with your life but it's not just about you Noah. And god you know what I have to go through after we hang out.” Luke eyes started to look mad, “And god you've been so caught up in this GSA crap it's like I never get to see you. And what if you get a boyfriend?...I don't know it just bothers me” Luke sighed out his frustration. Angry he'd just said what he had to Noah. “I'm sorry I've been so distant lately, it just hasn't been easy.”
“How do you mean?”
Luke looked out over the water again “..... that I think I'm gay,”
“What?” Noah was looking at him now. “Who else have you told?”
“Nobody, just you.”
“How do you know?” Noah asked.
“Because,” Luke swallowed “....I like you too.” Luke smiled, “I've been wanting to tell you forever but..”
Noah reach out his hand, “Luke” Luke took his hand, “You don't have to explain.” He put his head down on Luke's shoulder,
“If I was to tell my dad he would say each day how wrong it is,” Noah felt Luke's shoulders shudder as he talked.
He laced his fingers in Luke's “But this is who you are, and your perfect.” Noah raised his head to look at Luke, “besides no matter what, we're always going to be best friends.” after a moment another thought hit him, “Well the dance is coming up...”
“Noah, come on. I mean I would love to, but I can't.”
“I know, I understand.” Noah looked out at the water again.
Luke held up some blades of grass, he'd been absent mindedly picking “Hey I got something for you though,”
Noah took it “Oh thank you, That's beautiful.” He threw it back at Luke.
Luke pushed him, Noah pushed back, Luke pushed again, Harder. Noah got up and chased Luke who started running into the woodland. They ran until Luke tripped and went sprawling in the dirt.
“Oh My God are you all right?” Noah asked, offering a hand to help him up. Luke was laughing as he stood. Luke looked into Noah's bright azure eyes full of concern. One of Noah's hands came up and brushed Luke's fringe out of his eyes. His hand rested on Luke's cheek for a couple of seconds before he slowly moved forward, Luke moved forward to closing his eyes. Their lips touched softly, Luke breathed in Noah's scent of sandalwood and the smell of the pine from the woods. His hands came up either side of Noah's face, Noah's hands ran through Luke blonde hair and his tongue slipped in and ran across Luke's teeth.
“Noah,” Luke breathed out.
They spent the whole evening together, They went to Java and talked about the Gay Straight Alliance and the dance they were planning. Luke looked at his watch, “I better go back home, my parents will be wondering were I am,”
“Ok sure, shall I walk with you?” Noah said standing up.
Luke paused for a second, “Yeah sure. Your my boyfriend you should come.”
“Boyfriend?” Noah raised an eyebrow.
“If you want that? I mean.....” Luke looked at the floor
Noah hooked his finger under Luke's chin to make him look Noah, and gave him a soft kiss on the lips to say it was ok.
“Can we stop at the shop before going to yours?” Noah stopped outside the newsagents.
Luke nodded “Sure I'll wait out here. Don't be too long”
"Why gunna miss me to much" Noah grinned back at him.
Noah walked into the small shop and walked to the drinks cabinets. Kevin Davis looked over from the counter were he was buying cigarettes with his brothers ID. “Hey isn't that the queer from our school?” he said to Mark next to him.
“Hey little fag” Kevin walked up to Noah,
“What do you want Kevin?” Noah because of his hight just looked down on Kevin.
“Oh so you admit it, your a queer.” Mark slammed his hand on the drinks cabinet, making Noah flinch.
“Leave me alone,” Noah tried to step round them, but Mark grabbed him by the lapels and pushed him to the floor Noah's head smacked against the cabinet with an ugly thud.
Then Mark kicked him in the stomach. Then again. Bending down he picked Noah up from were he was laying out cold “You like that?” No answer, Mark sent a slap across Noah's face.
“It doesn't take this long to get a drink,” Luke thought, he went into the shop to see Noah unconscious and Mark standing over him using Noah as a punch bag. The shop keeper was telling the boys to stop and he had a phone in his hand.
“Mark, Stop it come on, we gotta go or were going to get busted. Come on lets go.” Kevin was shuffling from foot to foot keen to make a get away.
“Noah!” Luke was like a bull he charged passed Kevin, and straight up to Mark. Mark pushed Luke, he stumbled back but recovered in a second.
“What are you his boyfriend?” Mark mocked.
“And what if I am.” Luke squared up to him.
“Come on man!” Kevin grabbed Marks arm as they ran for the door. “Faggots!” was the last thing they shouted before they were out the door.
Luke wasn't listening his attention was on Noah, who was coming round. Luke grabbed a bottle of water from the cabinet and sat down by him. Luke's heart was racing so much it felt like it was going to bust from his chest. “Noah, Noah, are you ok? What happened?”
Damien answered the phone. “Hello?....what happened?....is he all right?!”
Lily appeared behind him looking worried. “what's happened?”
“Luke was involved in some kind of fight,” Damien said, still listening to the police officer.
“Ok can you tell me what happened.” Detective Jack Snyder asked Noah,
“I don't know I hit my head and blacked out. When I woke up. Luke was standing up to Mark and Kevin and then they ran off,”
“You know the suspects?” Jack asked.
“Yeah they go to our school, Kevin Davis and Mark Vireo.” Luke replied,
Jack looked at Luke, “you know Luke, your dad would have been so proud of the guy you've become.”
Luke nodded “Thanks Jack.” he gave him a sad smile. Then the black car pulled up.
“Luke Snyder! what are you doing here? Where have you been?” Damien asked angrily.
Luke looked at Damien, “It's nothing some kids wanted to fight it wasn't a big deal.” Lily ran up to Luke and gave him a hug.
“Luciano you know why they did this, it's cos your hanging out with that Noah boy. I told you this was going to happen....”
“Damien! Just stop!” Luke almost shouted all the adrenaline from the fight and worn off and he was just tired of everything.
“No Lucianio you listen. Your better that this, I raised you better than this”
“My name is LUKE! And No you didn't raise me Holden Snyder did. But I like Noah no I Love Noah!.”
“No Luci....Luke you don't!” Damien argued back
“Yes! Yes I do!” Luke was adamant
Damien said again “Lucanio listen to me you don't like him. Your confused your struggling with yourself. You just need help.”
“I'm not struggling with anything Damien. I can't hide it any longer. This is it. This is who I am. The only struggle is with you trying to understand that! You can blame anyone you like but this is not Noah's fault. Maybe if you just try and let me be myself we can really be a family.” Luke walked away from his parents. To where Noah was waiting for him, he heard Damien call his name but did listen. He just linked arms with Noah as they walked away from the shop and the police and Luke's parents “I think I owe you a dance” Luke smiled as they kept walking hand in hand.