Out on a LimbbyPhantom21©
One often wonders if their life really has any meaning at all, or if it is just some big cosmic joke where supernatural beings are laughing and pointing at our misfortune, all the while eating a large bucket of overly buttered popcorn and drinking something unnaturally sweet. This thought has often plagued me. Especially when circumstances would lead me to tell the guy I really liked that I liked him after I had hidden it so well, while precautious perched on a tree limb. Yep. I'm fairly positive my very existence is merely for someone else's amusement.
Let's start somewhere near the beginning, shall we?
Graduation Party day, the day were all the seniors get together after graduation and go do something fun together as a last fling before moving on with their lives. Most seniors save up and go to Disneyland or Six Flags or something like that. Where do we go? A water park. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it works.
Now look really close. See that poor pathetic kid down there in the shade of the trees at the side of the main building for rentals getting the shit beat out of him by several large football players? Yeah, that's me. No, don't pity me, I knew it was coming and I just sat there ready to take it.
Why am I getting beaten into a bloody pulp, you ask? Oh, just because my fellow classmates somehow found out what I myself only found out two weeks prior. I'm gay. How it happened, I don't know. But it might explain why I've never been able to keep a girlfriend for longer than a month and why we always parted as friends. Who knew?
I had only told two people, my best friend Jose who was gayer and more feminine than most of the girls in my school put together, and his friend whom he swore I could trust, Benny. You know, in every movie I've ever watched and the million times that I've watched The Mummy, I've come to realize you should never trust anyone who allows themselves to be called Benny. Now, I know Jose would never betray my trust because he knows I know where he lives and would reap revenge upon him like no one else, so the only other explanation that I have is that Benny leaked it out and now my fellow classmates are taking it upon themselves to kick my ass because I was in the locker room with them on countless occasions and never told them that I might be salivating over their lean forms, something Jose was always kind enough to do so they could grab towels and run for it.
I don't mind getting beaten for being gay. Considering the fact that I was still trying to come to terms with it in my one mind, I kind of felt like something might be wrong with me and if they just hit hard enough, it might be fixed. I know, but I wasn't quite thinking logical yet, give me a break.
I hadn't told my parents yet. That would just be too weird. My dad, who always encouraged me in sports and told my mother that I was going to be a real man's man because of it probably wouldn't take it very well. My mother would look at me like some kind of alien, say "Oh, that's nice dear, whatever makes you happy," while grabbing my little brother as if she could protect him from becoming gay like me. At least, these where the scenarios that repeatedly ran through my head, so I kept my mouth shut.
Just as one of the guys over me landed a nice kick to my ribs, the rest of the players began to back away. Someone was yelling, several of the players were saying they were only having fun. With a small cough of blood, I gave a weak laugh. Fun? Is that what this was?
Rolling over to my side, I spit out what blood I could and crawled a few paces away before someone laid their hand on my shoulder. Involuntarily I flinched, still waiting for a blow to fall, but the hand just stayed there. A soft voice started to speak to me, "Hey, it's okay. Come with me and I'll get you cleaned up. I'm not going to hurt you. Come on, that's right."
Allowing someone to help my up, I kept my eyes on the ground as the person led me into the First Aide Station. Stumbling over to the chair, I began to investigate my face with my hand as the person said to wait there while he got some supplies. My left eye was swelling at an alarming rate, my lip was bloody and I had a nice sized cut above my right eye that was bleeding everywhere making it hard to see. I've had worse, but it still wasn't very fun.
"Hey, keep your hands away from it, okay?" It was that kind voice again, very commanding without being hard. "Now this is going to sting a bit."
Sucking in some air as the alcohol hit, I tried my best to glare at my rescuer, even though I really couldn't see him yet.
"Man, those guys really did a number on you, didn't they? What happened?"
"Yeah, right. Because everything that is nothing gets dragged into the First Aide Office."
"It's none of your business. They were just being retards."
A damp cloth touched my face, wiping away the worst of the blood that had kept me fairly blind for the last several minutes. The man standing before me was around my age and beautiful. His tanned body spoke of strength, the red shorts of a lifeguard hugging his muscular thighs in a way that really should have been outlawed. My chest constricted and I groaned. Why did he have to be a great looking guy? Didn't I have enough problems at the moment?
"Sorry, I know it hurts." His beautiful hazel eyes looked closely at my forehead. "I don't think it needs stitches. A butterfly bandage should do it for you. Head wounds always bleed the most."
His brown hair was streaked with sunlight giving him this almost ethrel glow. Of course, that could have been the sunlight coming in the window glinting behind him, but I like the fantasy that he was a Godly being instead.
After he put on the bandage, he handed me an icepack for my eye. "Do you have someone you want me to call? I don't think you should drive home by yourself."
"Could you just call out for Jose? Jose Martinez. He's somewhere out there in the park."
"Sure, no problem."
After hanging up the phone, he came back over to me with a cup of Tylenol and water. "You might want to take this. You are going to have some nasty bruises on you side, but it looks like nothing is broken." Holding out his hand, he said, "Name's Derek Briggs. What's yours?"
Damn, even his handshake was nice. "Ethan. Ethan Chambers. Nice to meet you."
Derek grabbed my hand and turned it over, examining my knuckles. "I'm sure it would be nice over different circumstances. Can I ask you something? Why didn't you fight back? You didn't take one swing at any of them. How come? Why did you just let them wail on you?"
I tried to jerk my hand back, but he wouldn't let go. His eyes stared into my gray ones, looking for answers he had no right to ask for.
Just then the door to the First Aide office opened with a slam and there stood Jose. Dressed in his frilly pink two piece, a thin cotton wrap around with blue green flowers on it and sandals with matching flowers on them came barging in with a look of distress. "Oh, ma poor baby! Those vicious brutes! Why would they do something like this? Look what they did to your beautiful face!" He came rushing over, shoving my savior out of his way, his hands flitting all over me. "I'll kill them. I'll kill them all! Thank goodness they were thrown out of the park, every last one of them, or I would go all Miss Bitch on their asses."
I rolled my good eye towards the ceiling, cursing my day once again. Just over Jose's shoulder, I could see Derek looking at him with amusement and trying very hard not to laugh.
"Jose, could you please just go get my car? The good physician doesn't think I should drive home alone." I passed Jose my locker key. He took it patting my hand reassuringly.
"Of course you shouldn't, poor thing! I will get you home before you can say Birdcage, darling." Turning to go, Jose spotted Derek, eyeing him up and down like a piece of Symphony Chocolate. With a last look over his shoulder at me that spoke volumes, he hurried to the door and was gone.
"I'm sorry you had to see that."
Derek started laughing. "You have very strange tastes in friends, Ethan."
I nodded. This was not the first time someone had told me this. "Jose is as weird as they come, but he's a good friend. No one messes with him though because he kind of scares the guys. They are all afraid that if they start wailing on him that they might get him excited or something. Not to mention their girlfriends would give them all hell because all the girls love him to death."
I rose from the chair slowly, making sure I didn't fall over. "Hey, thanks for patching me up and stuff."
"No problem." Derek came over and grabbed my arm. "I'll walk you out to your car. If those guys did get kicked out of here, they maybe hanging around for you."
"You don't have to."
"I want to. I just patched you up, I don't want to see my work wasted."
I gave in and let him lead me from the office into the park. Kids everywhere turned and stared, pointing and talking about what had happened. I was suddenly grateful that school was over and I wouldn't have to face them all in the halls. Looking over at Derek, I realized that Derek was taller than me by several inches. "So what made you become a lifeguard?"
"Oh, I just do this during the summer. My school let out about a week ago, so I go here. I'm going to college this fall though so this will be one of my last summers here."
Jose swung the car around like a mad man . . . err . . . woman. "Es okay, baby! Jose es here to take care of you now! I ain't gonna let no man hurt you. You es safe with me."
"Should I be more afraid of letting you go with him?" Derek laughed as he opened the passenger door.
Somehow I managed a smile and slipped into the seat. "Thanks again, really."
"Hey, don't worry about it. That's why I'm here."
I don't think it would have hurt worse if he'd actually said the words, "It's my job." Why it hurt, I didn't really know. I didn't even really want to think about it. "Let's go, Jose."
I watched Derek as we pulled away. He waved happily and walked back into the park. Leaning my head against the cool glass of the window, I let out a lingering sigh. Why did I just let them beat me?
"You wanna me to take you home, baby?"
"No. Let's just go to your place."
"Ooo, honey, I have just been waitin' for your to say that! Let's go!"
I let out a painful laugh. "Don't get excited, you pervert. I just don't want to go home. This is not something I really want to explain to my parents right now, okay?"
"Okay, baby. Don't worry. I am goin' to take care of everythin'."
After having healed up, physically at least. I started visiting the water park more often. I would just go and sit, watch people as they went by and played in the water. Okay, so I primarily went there to watch a certain Life Guard. I never got close enough to talk to him. I never even got close enough for him to see me. I felt bad doing it, like I was some creepy stocker in a B rated film, but I couldn't help it. I had the hots for the guy and I was going to admit it to myself, even if I wasn't going to admit it to anyone else.
It didn't take long to spend all of my spending money. Soon I was forced to go once maybe every two weeks on what little allowance my parents still gave me for doing chores around the house. A little degrading, yes, but I had nothing better to do than watch movies with Jose and listen to him rate each of the guys that had the misfortune of crossing the screen.
Summer came and went, the water park closed as its season came to an end. Soon I was packing up and heading off to college. I decided to forget about my Life Guard, forget about being gay, forget about everything and start out fresh where no one knew me. College sounded like the best place to do that, so off I went. My Mom cried, and my Dad told me to give them Hell. Who "they" were, he wasn't too specific, but I told him I would.
Do you have any idea how confusing it is to walk onto campus, knowing you have to find your dorm, and have no idea of where you are going? I kind of felt like a kid from L.A. suddenly being dropped in New York City with no map. Granted, I was only about fifty miles away from home, but it felt like a lot farther.
"Ethan, baby! Honey, hello!"
Looking to the skies, I wondered if the Fates were mocking me, than turned to great Jose. The sight before me was frightening to say the least. Jose had managed to grow his hair long enough to put it in pigtails, was wearing a purple halter top and very small Daisy Dukes. I wondered again, not for the first time, why I had ever become his friend when I thought I was straight? "Hey, Jose, what are you doing here?"
"Cha, I'm goin' to school here. Didn't I tell you I was applying to get in? Well, I did! Yay!" Jose jumped up and down with a happy little clap, drawing attention from everyone passing us by.
"Oh, great!" I could weep. "That's just fantastic, Jose!" Someone kill me now.
"And look, I'm in your dorm, honey! Just down the hall!"
Forget it. Someone just give me a gun and I'll pull the trigger myself. "Wow. What are the chances." My only saving grace, and there wasn't much of one, was that he wasn't my roommate. I knew what an active sex life Jose had and I pitied his roommate whoever the poor sap was. "Well, I guess we should go find our rooms."
It took us another twenty minutes, and innumerable stares, to find our dorm. It was fondly referred to by the other students as The Swamp. Apparently, it ate several freshman every year and they were never heard from again. At least that's what we were told. Whereas Jose thought this information was exciting, it just made me glad I had not eaten any breakfast, pure nerves making me sick to my stomach.
"Oh, look, baby! This is my room, isn't it cute?" Jose pulled me into a small freshman dorm room, nearly jerking my arm out of its socket in his excitement. Jose flitted around the room in awe taking in the bunk beds and two small desks.
I just stood in the door way and looked around the small room. I honestly think my room back home was bigger than this! And they expected two people to live for a year in this tiny space? Looking around, I came across a small mouse of a kid sitting at one of the desks. To say that he looked shell shocked was an understatement. The poor kid looked like he was suddenly in a Cabaret production and wasn't sure what the next line was. I felt bad for him.
Walking over to him, I placed a hand on his shoulder. "I suggest you find a close friend that doesn't have a roommate and learn to hang out at his place a lot if you don't want your virgin ears to be violated repeatedly over the next year."
Leaving his unpacked box on the desk, the kid bolted for the door.
"Baby, don't go scaring ma victims. How am I suppose to have fun if you warn everybody I'm coming?"
I laughed. "Trust me, doll. I don't have to warn them. They just have to look at you to know what's on your mind."
"Hmm. Maybe your right. Oh, well. I haven't had any complaints yet."
It took us only two hours to unload all of our stuff from our cars and set it up in our rooms. The hard part was trying to memorizing the map of the campus. Jose said all he needed to do was bat his eye lashes at some guy to get directions, but I felt a little better trying to find my classes on my own.
It was late afternoon while I was staring out my window at the beautiful tree when I realized I still didn't have a roommate. Maybe I was one of the lucky few that got their room all to themselves. It was a pleasant thought that didn't last long. Soon someone was walking into my open door loaded down with boxes.
Jumping up, I walked over to him, "Here let me help you."
Taking the top box, I turned and set it down on the empty desk. He set the other boxes down by the empty trunk near the beds and stood up. If I'd been holding anything, I would have dropped it. As it was, I nearly dropped myself into a chair when I looked at him. Tanned skin, sun kissed brown hair, sparkling hazel eyes, biceps that should have been illegal. It was none other than my Life Guard that had come to my rescue three months earlier.
"Hey, you look familiar, do I know you?" He tilted his head slightly as if to look at me better. "Hey, your that kid from the water park, right? The one that was getting wailed on that day?"
Still not able to make my tongue work right, I nodded my head.
He laughed and sat down on one of the desk chairs. "Man, what are the chances, huh? Ian, wasn't it?"
"Ethan." How did I end up with all this saw dust in my mouth? Why couldn't the Fates just leave me alone? Did they really hate me this much?
"Ethan, that's right. This is cool. Hey, do you mind helping me gather up the last bit of my stuff? I want to get settled before dark."
And so my life began. Cooped up in the same room with the man that had given me more wet dreams over the summer than I care to think about and living just down the hall with the guy that likes to pretend he is a Hispanic Tina Turner.
By the time Derek had finally settled in, I learned that he had a brother and two little sisters that he was very proud of. The twin sisters were both on the honor roll and in the journalism club at their high school while his older brother was somewhere in Florida doing Med. School. His parents owned a law firm together and supported him in whatever venture he desired. I nearly puked when he told me his Grandmother was the author of the highest selling cookbook on the New York Times Top Ten List. This kid had never known a hardship his entire life. He was surrounded by success! It was sickening. Too bad it didn't affect my hormones at all. He was still the hottest thing I had seen walking the halls.
He tried to ask me about my family, but seeing as how they paled in comparison, I didn't really want to bring them up at the moment and fended him off with questions about his work load.
Near ten, Jose stopped in and flopped down on to my bed, since I had claimed the bottom bunk for my own. I have a thing about heights. "So, ladies, what do you think about our new home, huh? Some of those guys are just delicious!" Jose eyed Derek appreciatively. "Mmm, but there is some eye candy in here, isn't there?"
"Hello again. Couldn't forget you if I had to. Jose, isn't it?" Derek said in way of greeting, that smile that never seemed to go away hovering on the edges of his beautiful lips.
"Damn right you couldn't forget me as I am unforgettable, darlin'. I don't believe I ever caught your name." Jose held out his hand like a princess waiting to be lifted out of her carriage.
Derek, like a real man, took it and bowed over it making Jose flush. "Derek Briggs at your service. Just don't get to friendly or my girlfriend will claw your eyes out."
"Mmm, she may have to fight me for you."
I laughed. Laying on the bed, I stretched a bit and reached for my Sprite. "Jose is better at cat fighting than most cats."
"Isn't that the truth?" Jose patted my hip looking down at me. "Do wish I had the room across the hall instead of down the hall what with these two hansom men in here."
"Yeah, Ethan does look quite a bit better than the last time I saw him," Derek said with a smile as he looked down at me. Perched on the side of my desk, he grinned as I blushed. "Don't be so modest, Ethan. You are a good looking guy. How many girls did you leave broken hearted back home, huh?"
"Oh, not many."
Jose started laughing. I reached over and punched his arm. "Ouch, baby! Don't play so rough or I'll think you want me! Now, I've got to scoot. I need plenty of beauty sleep. I have young men to ogle in the morning. Tah-tah!"
"That is quite a friend you've got there. Guess I had better get used to him hanging around, huh?"