Boys Who Like Boys: 2
by Miss Kitty E
Given that his father had so many horror stories about just how much work his own father had given him when he was Lance's age, Lance was lucky he only had to give up his freewill on Saturday mornings. His mother had a big hand in this, being a teacher, schoolwork was always more important that housework. She would rather insist that Lance finish his book report than the dishes before going out. Logically, he knew he shouldn't complain, but it was hard not to roll his eyes or curse under his breath when he was handed his list of things to do the second after sitting down to his cereal.
Part Three - Fic Index - Main
And of course today would be the dreaded Yard Day. Here he was, hot and sweaty under the Florida sun, some of the grass he was raking up sticking to his legs, and he still had the flowerbeds to weed. Fuck.
His mother appeared from the backyard and her vegetable garden, looking cool and unflustered in a sundress. "Jim, honey, I need a hammer or something to get the tomatoes re-staked. Where is it again?"
Jim sighed gently, "Yeah, just a sec." He continued rinsing down the car.
Diane waved at her son, "How's it going there, trooper?"
Lance spared her his real answer and just shrugged. Thinking better of it, he took the opportunity to bring up his plans for later that night. "Hey mom? I'm going out with some friends tonight," he told her, leaning on the rake to give his back a rest.
"Oh? And I have no say in this?" she asked him, eyebrows raised exactly the way Lance did, though neither would admit it.
He sighed, "Please, mom?"
She flashed a smile that Lance had learned over the years meant he was getting his way but not without a fight. "When is it? Where are you going?"
Lance shrugged, "We're meeting at Justin's house at seven. It's just dinner and a movie."
"We? Who's all going? Joey?"
Lance bit his cheek, "Yeah, and Justin's friend, Chris." His mother still didn't much like the idea of him and Joey left to their own devices.
"A gay biker he met on the internet, Mom," rolling his eyes. "Just a friend he met at school." He didn't need to specify at a college basketball game, did he?
"Hey, hey, no need to get defensive. I'm just trying to make sure I'm not gonna get any phone calls from the polic tonight. Just dinner and a movie, huh?"
"Yeah," Lance nodded, "No vandalism, whatsoever."
She thought it over, "When will you be back?"
"I dunno, midnight maybe?" he tried not to sound pathetically hopeful.
His mother winced, but she didn't insist on an earlier curfew. "Midnight, exactly."
"Right," Lance said, relieved.
"Okay," she nodded and went to her husband who was holding a hammer expectantly.
Lance went on raking.
Joey took a deep breath before raising his hand to knock on the door. He paused, and looked at the doorbell, but decided it would be just too loud, knocking anyway.
He was hoping for Diane who smiled at him, and never seemed too disappointed to see him. Jim Bass met him at the door, and looked like he was trying not to seem too unhappy. Conversely, Joey tried hard not to look scared, or nervous, not anything but normal.
Jim looked at him for a second, then turned with his hand still on the knob. "Lance, your friend is here."
Joey wanted desperately to correct him. "Boyfriend," he'd say, and smile. "Because Lance and I aren't close friends, we're fucking dating. I love him, I really do, and I worked so hard to get him to come to terms with it, all because of your fucking southern values." But he just bit his tongue.
If Lance had come down the stairs any faster he would have broken his neck. He took a good look at his dad before smiling at Joey. The second the door closed, Joey heaved a sigh of relief.
"I bet he's looking through the window at us," Lance said, sounding a little bitter.
"We should kiss when we get to the car."
Lance laughed, "No fucking way, Joey. They're not ready."
Joey thought maybe Jim Bass wasn't the only one who wasn't ready. He didn't mention it as he pulled open his car door, but he had to ask, "He really hates me out, doesn't he?"
"No," Lance insisted, turning in his seat to look at Joey. "It's the idea of you, Joey. I mean... it's different, okay? You lucked out with your parents, I'm surprised they weren't card carrying members of PFLAG before you came out."
Joey smirked, "Yeah, I know. Actually sometimes it's a little frightening. I think my mom wishes she were gay so that we'd have more in common."
Lance chuckled, and insisted, "You should be glad my parents even allow you this much."
"Allow us what?" Joey asked, just a little too strongly, Lance sighed. "They don't let us go out alone, they don't want me in your house, you have to lie to come over to mine. Lance, they're treating it like it's something they don't want you to do."
Lance leaned his head back and closed his eyes, "They don't."
Joey realized then that he wasn't letting Lance in on anything knew, but he still had to tell him, "Then they're not supporting you."
"What am I supposed to do then, Joey? I can't take it back and start hiding it from them."
"That wouldn't have helped, Lance. You've got to talk to them, you need to expect a little more of them then just not kicking you out on the street and calling you a faggot."
"It's not that bad," Lance snapped, getting frustrated.
"Sometimes I think it will get that bad. I mean, I know you're not... I know you're with me, but sometimes it seems like you like being with me, but don't really want to... stay, or..." Joey sighed and rested his head against his hand. "You not being comfortable with yourself makes it seem like you're not comfortable with me. If they would just fucking support you and not act like this is just so much to ask of them then maybe you could work through your- I dunno -issues better."
Lance bit his lip hard, he hadn't thought he'd been so transparent. "Listen, Joey, just 'cause I'm still working through things doesn't mean..." he was about to say that he never had second thoughts, but that was a lie. "I don't know what to say to make you feel better, but I'm never going to regret this."
Joey sighed, softly.
"Unless you cheat on me. Because if you do, I'm pawning your class ring."
Joey smiled, and switched hands on the steering wheel, reaching over to ruffle Lance's hair and squeeze the back of his neck. "Will you talk to your mom about it? I can get Rick down at Out Youth to counsel you if you need it."
Lance nodded, "I'll talk to her soon, I promise."
Justin's mom was a strange case. She loved Joey and Lance, she let them come over any time, even when Justin wasn't there because Joey talked a lot and mentioned the trouble they were having with Lance's parents. She insisted they were just "the cutest thing," but Justin had horror stories about the fights he and she had when he came out. To some extent she still thought he was going through a phase. If she ever found out about Chris, Justin knew all bets were off.
The double standard confused Lance, but it was nice to be able to hold hands, to sit close to each other on the couch and be trusted to wait for Justin in his room, door closed and everything.
Justin met them at the door, twitching with excitement. They dodged most of Lynn's attention and retreated to Justin's room. Lance and Joey sat against the wall on Justin's bed while Justin reclined in his desk chair. They chatted aimlessly about what movies were out, what was worth seeing. It took twenty minutes but they figured out something that everyone would like, and that no one had seen yet.
"What about Chris?" Lance asked when Justin reached for his phone.
"Chris won't care, he doesn't really watch the movies, just kind of... looks at them," Justin smiled as if remembering a private joke. He dialed the phone, and held up a commanding hand for complete silence as he listened to the dial tone. A second later, his grin stretched wider, "Chris! It's Justin. We got a movie all picked, it's playing at 8:15." He frowned, "What? Chris you promised. I-" He sighed, and slumped against his chair, "I haven't seen you in a week. More than that, you can't back out." He listened to the response and did not look happy, "You can't be held up forever, we'll eat after the movie. You can meet us there." He gritted his teeth, "There are things open that late. I know there are. People eat after ten. What? Dennys? Okay. Okay... Right, the one up North. Right. I love you, bye."
He hung up the phone and threw it as his bed, narrowly missing Lance.
"What happened?" Lance asked, throwing the phone back at him.
"His bitch of a boss is keeping him late. He wanted to not go, but he's going to eat with us at Dennys. Oh yeah, Lance? I'm spending the night at your house."
"Oh, aren't you cool?" Joey poked Lance's side, "You're a cover for illegal sex."
"Shh, keep it down, you freak." Justin demanded. "I'm gonna change real quick and then we better get going." He got up and disappeared down the hall towards the bathroom. Lance and Joey were alone and made the best of it.
The movie turned out to be not so good, or at least they suspected as much; it was hard to focus on something when your stomach was eating itself. Joey didn't shut up about being hungry the entire drive over, and was still complaining when they were finally in the parking lot. Walking towards the oh so trendy establishment of Dennys Lance heard a very loud, and high-pitched, "Justin!" and then the answering cry of "Chris, man!"
He looked to the source of all this noise in the night to see a short, dark-haired man jogging towards them. Justin met him somewhat in the middle, picking Chris up and almost throwing him over his shoulders. Chris was nothing like Lance expected him to be.
What Lance expected Chris to be, from the way Justin talked about him, was an emo college kid in a turtleneck, and horn rimmed glasses, hair short and spiked, eyes turned down with a cooler than thou attitude. Chris was, in fact, nothing like that. He was dressed in an obnoxiously bright red and yellow shirt, and baggy jeans, his hair was... braided? or something, pulled back into a ponytail. Bouncing from one to the other, he was definitely not cooler than thou, but he seemed nice, talking excitedly at Justin, holding their hands together between them, like he'd just forgotten to let go. He only stood still when Justin kissed him, eyes falling closed, mouth finally silent as he worked it under Justin's.
When they pulled apart, Justin suddenly remembered his friends. "Chris, I want you to meet my friends. This is Joey, and Lance, they're together."
Lance shifted uncomfortably, not knowing if he should stick out his hand, or not. He opted on not when Chris just nodded his head curtly.
Joey squinted at Chris, "Didn't I see you at-"
"No." Chris said quickly. Justin was already laughing.
"I think I did! Did you ever work as a-"
"-Singing waiter at-"
"Fuck!" Chris hid his face in his hands miserably. "Why did I ever think that job was a good idea."
Justin bumped Chris' hip with his own, "You preformed for people everyday, babe, did you think you'd never run into at least one of your customers?"
"They were supposed to be tourists," he moaned. "From very far away. And you can stop laughing, juvenile, college is expensive."
To his credit, Joey made an effort to quiet his chortles on his own, but it wasn't until Lance put a hand on his shoulder that he managed to finally sober a bit.
"So come on, it's late as fuck and I want some food." Chris was tugging at Justin's hand and bouncing on the balls of his feet.
The waitress raised an eyebrow at them when they walked in pushing and laughing at each other, Justin's arm around Chris' waist. She gave them the booth in the back behind the buffet where she was sure they wouldn't be seen. She gave them their menus, took their drink orders and disappeared.
Joey decided he wanted a "big ass burger," and it was Dennys, of course they had an obscenely large one offered. Lance didn't really think anything looked good, and settled on a chicken sandwich. Justin wanted a burger, too, and Chris announced loudly that the only thing he could stomach from this place was probably the chicken strips. He was tempted to order it from the Kids Menu, but was too hungry for the smaller portion.
Chris laid down his menu, and looked at Lance speculatively, "Are you Justin's age?"
Lance shook his head, "I'm a year ahead of him."
"Good cause I'm thinking that socializing with just one person under seventeen is enough."
"Fuck you, Chris. We do a lot more than socializing." On that note the waitress appeared with their drinks, smiling politely, and they knew she'd heard i t. It was almost like she was thanking them for the gossip. She took their orders and left again.
"Lance," Justin asked, deciding he needed to punish Chris by ignoring him for the next five minutes. "What's this I hear about you catching shit at school?" Chris leaned across him to grab the sugar for his coffee, jostling him needlessly, Justin knew better than to look at him.
Lance looked at Joey, and then at his iced tea. He shrugged and gave the lemon slice a vicious squeeze. "Just a kid at my locker. He asked if I was gay and when I told him 'no,' was just being a jerk it was nothing."
Justin shrugged, and was jostled again by Chris going for more sugar. "That sucks, man. But I thought you were out?"
"I am out," Lance insisted. "To everyone that matters. Fucking strangers don't need to know."
"See that's where you're off," Chris interjected. He started for the sugar again but Justin pushed him away.
"Chris you've put in like five packets, man, you don't need more sugar. You're gonna be bouncy enough as it is."
"This coffee tastes like shit," Chris whined. "And besides, energetic is good, isn't it?" He gave Justin a suggestive smirk.
"Not when you come down and want to pass out at eleven. No more sugar," he handed the little plastic tray to Lance who didn't exactly know what to do with it. He stuck it between his hip and the wall.
Chris glared and Justin, but let it drop. Suddenly concerned with getting his dignity back. "Anyway, Lance, out is out. Out is the good with the bad."
"But if it just opens me up for shit like this-" Lance started.
"The key word being 'open up.' You're just in a bigger closet. Take it from someone who's been gay longer than you."
Lance nodded, it made sense, but it didn't make it easier. "I guess you're right but... I mean, if everybody starts treating me differently..."
Chris shrugged with one shoulder and stirred his coffee, "They'll have to get over themselves. You can't tell the truth to some people and then lie to everybody else, man. People will find out later and feel betrayed, cause you weren't up front with them, and I speak from experience, okay?"
Joey rubbed a small circle over the small of Lance's back, silently agreeing.
Justin felt the need to break the tension, "Besides, you're not going through anything alone. I mean, you've got me, and Joey, and JC, and now Chris, and everybody at Out Youth. You're not a one man army, man, you're one of us."
The waitress interrupted the again, and Lance relaxed back into Joey's arm. He munched thoughtfully on his fries, mulling over what Chris had said. He hadn't wanted to come out to the whole fucking world because if he ever wanted to... you know, take it back, he could, and then he'd just be normal again. But if he told people he was straight, or let them assume it, never correcting them, he'd be lying about Joey. He didn't want to ever "take back" Joey, to lie and say it was a phase, or experimentation, or worse yet a mistake, that wouldn't be fair, or truthful at all. He sighed.
"What's up, baby?" Joey asked quietly. He had a little drop of ketchup in his goatee. Lance wiped it away with his thumb, and then onto his napkin.
"Nothing, I just- I'll tell you later."
Only Joey would have enough faith in him to just smile and keep on eating.