I honestly thought I was finished with this bit, but when I went to post it on Lit I realized that there were a lot of major flaws in the story. So I'm posting as I rewrite.
"You know," Crispin muses, "I think maybe Jay has a crush on LeAndre."
"Quit talking shit." Someone stuck gum on the underside of this desk.
"No, I'm serious," he insists, rummaging in a drawer. "I'm not saying he's gay, just maybe that he has a crush. Like, elementary school style."
I grab the trash can and the scraper from my bag of detention tools. "Come on. Being a homophobe doesn't automatically make him closeted."
"Duh, but look at their relationship. Let's call it a friend crush, or a bro crush. I think Jay really, really wants LeAndre to like him."
"Everybody really wants LeAndre to like them," I reply. "He's the kind of guy who's popular because he's smart and nice to people."
"And hot and good at everything," Crispin adds.
"Right." I stand to stretch my back. "Ugh, I hate this so much."
Crispin comes around the desk. "Sorry, pumpkin," he says cajolingly.
"Don't you 'sorry, pumpkin,' me," I fake growl. "This was your fault."
"Heeeey, queer burger." Jay's voice startles me as he pops around the corner.
"Oh goody, it's Young Bicurious," Crispin snaps back. "How's life in the closet?"
I hide a grin. If he had claws, they'd be out and gleaming. Personally, I think he and Jay have reached an uneasy truce. Jay doesn't touch Crispin, and Crispin isn't shy about dishing out what he takes.
I nod at Jay. "What's up, man?"
"Trying to find Carter; I'm giving him a ride home," he responds with a shrug. "But hey, are you coming out after prom?"
"Oh, the prom that I can't go to because of you two?" I ask sarcastically, pointing at him and Crispin. "Love to."
Jay waves a dismissive hand. "Quit letting this guy hang around you, you're getting so sensitive. Just come out."
"I don't know, dude," I say honestly. "It might just be depressing."
"Whatever, you should come. Later."
Crispin snorts at Jay's retreating back. "I'm making you sensitive? What a macho jerk."
I nod seriously. "He's right, though. I never had a feeling or an emotion before we started dating."
Crispin doesn't laugh or anything, he just gets a little happy smile.
"What?" I ask.
"I don't know," he mumbles shyly, "I just like hearing you say we're dating." He's so easily pleased. It's cute.
"It sounded better than 'since I started ass-burgling you.'"
That does earn a laugh. "Dork. See you tomorrow." Crispin high fives me because the door is open, and goes back to the office.
"Hey, Mom, Crispin's coming over this weekend," I announce at dinner.
Dad pauses in the midst of serving Lacey some peas. "That little androgynous kid? Again?"
"He's a very pleasant young man," my mom tells him, "if a little effeminate."
"What's 'effeminate?'" asks Allison.
"And 'androgynous?'" Lacey adds. "Effeminate means he acts like a girl."
"Androgynous means it's hard to tell whether someone's a boy or a girl," Dad replies.
Mom turns to me. "Aaron, don't you hang out with your football buddies anymore?" He tone is concerned, like I’m showing an alarming pattern of behavior.
"They've kind of turned into bullies," I mumble.
Madison pipes up. "Jay is mad at you for cussing at him. Sasha told me."
"Tell her that her brother was shoving people into lockers and calling them names," I suggest.
Mom spreads her hands in a calming gesture. "Aaron, honey, it's fine if Crispin comes over as long as you finish your homework. Lacey, your brother was actually doing something nice, he just used the wrong language. That's why he got in trouble."
"Sasha said Aaron kicked Jay's teeth out," Lacey mumbles. Damn little sisters. Damn middle school gossip.
"I didn't touch him, I just yelled at him," I grit out.
"How does Crispin act like a girl?" Allison asks Dad. "I like him."
"Maybe because you identify with him," my dad replies. Mom snorts.
"Dad, come on." I briefly wish Crispin could listen in, and understand why I'm keeping the whole gay thing under wraps. "He does two different martial arts, you know. And he has a black belt in both."
Dad raises his hands in surrender. "I'm nice to him, aren't I?"
Rolling my eyes comes more and more naturally. “We’re going to watch MMA, if that puts you at ease,” I say sarcastically.
“Don’t use that tone with me” Dad says casually as he refills Allison’s glass. “But Aaron, seriously, if he tries anything—”
“Dad!” Oh, my god.
“Tries what?” Allison asks.
Lacey giggles. “To kiss Aaron.”
“Eeeeeeew!” Allison laughs. “Wait, Dad, what should he do?”
“Stop hanging out with him,” our father calmly answers.
“After Aaron gives him a good slap,” Mom mutters to my left.
With an exasperated exhale I get up from the table. “Excuse me, please, but I’m not hungry anymore.” My blood is boiling.
“Aaron, if you leave now there will be no dessert,” Mom warns. Any display of democracy or free thinking is squashed in our household.
“That’s fine. I’m just going to go for a run, anyway.” There’s so much wrong, and I need to think about none of it.
“Can I have his dessert?” Lacey asks.
“You and Allison can share,” Mom replies.
I can’t leave fast enough. My feet take me to the park three miles away before I feel comfortable enough with my thoughts to slow down. “Ugh,” I groan at one point, startling an old couple on the path. There’s a kid’s soccer team practicing; the players are so young that they all just follow the ball around in a clump and kick violently whenever they get close to it. It’s cute for about a second. The path follows the edges of the fields and around to the parking lots. Still seething, I take it until it forks back into the park, then circle the fields again.
Fuck everyone, fuck everything. The thought becomes an awful mantra as my chest heaves and my legs burn. Fuck everyone, fuck everything, fuck everyone, fuck everything, fuck everyone, fuck ev—.
My head whips around so fast that I loose my bearings and fall flat on my face.
“Aaron! Oh my god!” Crispin pulls me upright. “I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”
Am I okay? My palms and knees burn, my family is growing suspicious of the time I spend with him, and they still hate gays. I’m not okay. Everything inside hurts, and I don’t know what to do about it.
“Hey,” Crispin says softly, looking up at me with concern.
“Hey,” I reply. Then because for some reason I feel like I’m going to cry in the middle of a park, I step forward and wrap my arms around him. Crispin fits perfectly into; his shoulders are strong enough to lean on. I don’t think about anything but the silk of his hair under my chin or the warmth of his hands on my back. A deep inhale and a deep exhale; I hug him tightly and breathe. I’m not okay, but I will be. Things are going to be fine.