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TalonRider

Assume

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Assume

Assume. I hate that word. It should be the dirtiest swear word in existence. You should be able to walk up to some sweet little old lady with a cane at an intersection and say "f**k lady looks like I'm going to have to help you across the street." And have her say "Why that's awful kind of you young man." But say to her in your sweetest Boy Scout voice "Good Morning Ma'am I assume you need help crossing the street" and watch her go nuts trying to beat you with her cane.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. We assume things everyday. We assume that if it's pouring rain, the baseball game will be cancelled. We assume that if there's a blizzard our flight will be delayed. We assume that the cafeteria will serve us s**t on a shingle. And that's all perfectly normal and acceptable. But when you're a gay fourteen year old assumption can be painful.

I hate wintertime. I'm really susceptible to the cold. I have zero body fat and I'm about the skinniest person you've ever met. It seems the cold goes straight to my bones. For about the first week of cold weather I walk to school. But after that week of numb toes, and ears, and having my snot freeze inside my nose, I bite the bullet and get up thirty minutes early to catch a ride with my dad on his way to work.

It's kind of weird being at school 40 minutes before it starts. The halls are quiet and it almost feels like I'm in a different world. I have a place I hang out waiting for class to start. It's down the hall from the main entrance, right across the hall from my locker, and right underneath a heater vent. I stand there letting the warm air blow on me and watch everyone come to school. I can look down at the main entrance where they have a huge bench it's probably 50 feet long, made of cement and tiled over. It's where all the "cool" kids hang out during school. I'm just far enough away to escape their notice but I can still watch and wish I was one of them.

It's Monday morning and it snowed yesterday. I'm looking forward to watching everyone come in today, not many sidewalks have been cleaned and I love watching people slip on the tile. It's amusing to watch the looks on their faces, first the panic then the quick cover up trying to act cool, if only I had a video camera.

Looking down the hall I see Kyle Johnson coming in. Oh my god he's gorgeous. He moved here this year and I've been having wet dreams about him ever since then. He's a year older than me. He's got blonde hair and blue eyes that I just want to fall into. He doesn't seem to have any one particular girl he hangs out with and I've never seen him play on any of the sports teams. But he's still part of the "in" crowd. I think he has money.

As he's coming towards me he slips, does the face, and launches his school books everywhere. Looking up and down the hall real quick I see nobody around, it's still early. So trying not to giggle I hurry over to help him pick up his books.

"Thanks dude" he says smiling at me.

I don't know what possessed me but here I was with this gorgeous guy smiling at me, all alone in the hallway and I just blurted it out.

"Hey Kyle, you wanna hang out sometime?" I asked

"Ummm Conor right? He asked. "Why would you want to hang out with me? I mean I don't even know you."

Oh s**t he knew my name.

"Well umm I've seen you around and I like you and stuff and so I thought umm we could hang out."

"You like me? What's that supposed to mean?"

Oh man I'd stuck my foot in my mouth big time. I couldn't think of any reply. Nothing to get me out of the mess I was in. I just stood there mind blank, blushing, and feeling like a deer trapped in headlights. He looked at me puzzled for a second. Then his eyes lit up.

"Oh man, your gay and you think I am too. Right? That's why you like me."

"Um no It's just I've seen you around and um."

"Wait a sec, I'm new here. You haven't seen me with a girlfriend. I haven't been on any of the sports teams. So you assumed I must be gay right?"

Oh s**t I wasn't expecting this, cute and perceptive. I stood there blushing furiously looking at the ground.

"Well just so you know Conor, my girlfriend goes to a private school. I run track which hasn't started yet. And I'm definitely one hundred percent straight."

He turned to walk away, shaking his head and laughing to himself. Just up the hall were a few of the guy's he hangs out with.

"Hey guy's, guess what" he yelled out hurrying to catch up. He caught up with the guys said something and they all turned to look at me and laughed.

I felt nauseous, like I'd been punched in the stomach, I couldn't breathe. And to make matters worse, when I looked up I saw Cole Parker staring at me. He must have heard the whole thing.

Cole's the exact opposite of Kyle. He's almost a nerd, and hangs out with them. He doesn't look like one though. He's got long, curly black hair. I don't think I've ever seen his eyes he keeps his bangs long and walks around with his head down most of the time. We are casual acquaintances enough to say hi to in the halls. I fall into that middle group. I'm not cool and I'm not a nerd. I like it there, no one notices me. Or at least they hadn't up till now.

Cole quickly turned and walked away. I was screwed now. Between Kyle and Cole the whole school was going to know. My life just took a very shitty turn for the worse. I thought about taking off and running home. But my mom works at home and she'd want to know what I was doing there. I wasn't ready to tell her I was gay. So I stuck it out. I'd have to deal with it from now on anyway.

I spent the whole day waiting for the s**t to hit the fan. I hurried from one class to the next, never stopping to talk to anyone. I hid out in the library during lunch. And as soon as the last bell rang I bolted for home. The whole week passed that way. But by Friday no one had said a word to me about it. No one had looked at me different. I was baffled. They must not have said anything. Could I be so lucky?

By the end of the day I had totally calmed down and returned to normal. I realized my secret was probably safe. I don't know why they hadn't said anything but I was extremely grateful that they hadn't. I was at my locker getting my coat on and grabbing my books to go home when I heard him.

"Conor?"

Turning around I saw Cole there, head down and shuffling his feet. I panicked but tried to act normal.

"Hey Cole, What's up?"

He shuffled around a bit then looked up at me. He swept his bangs back and I about died. I'd never noticed before but he was very, very cute. And his eyes, deep emerald green. I was instantly mesmerized.

"Umm I was wondering if you wanted to hang out sometime?"

It took me a minute to process what he was saying. I was shocked. He had to have heard everything on Monday. Why would he be asking me this?

"Um are you sure you want to be seen with me Cole?" I asked "Aren't you worried about what Kyle and the rest are going to be saying about me?"

"Well, I've always assumed you were like me but I didn't dare ask until I knew for sure. I didn't want to screw up and out myself. As for Kyle, he's my neighbor. His older sister is a lesbian. She's had some rough times and Kyle defends her like a mad man. He's been telling everyone that you wanted to join the "in" crowd is all."

So that's why they hadn't said anything I thought to myself.

"Smart man Cole," I said, "and yeah I'd like to hang out with you."

I guess I got lucky. I made the big gay assumption mistake. But it all worked out okay.

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