Chapter 3
A Delicate Situation
When I got off the elevator, Sydney and Jade were waiting for me. “I’m starving,”
announced Jade as she grabbed my arm. On the way out, we decided to eat at a
nearby Subway.

Sydney looked at me and asked, “Where did you go during orientation? You never
came back.”

I told them about my visit to Dr. Avery’s office. I explained to them how I had
walked out of his office, and then the angry phone call from my father. Jade couldn’t
believe what happened. “They treat you like this just because your father is a
senator?”

“One of the perks of his office,” I replied angrily. “I know he’s going to be informed
of everything I do.” Then I started smiling. “At least I got something out of it.” I
wasn’t sure if they knew yet about Dr. Avery changing their schedules.

Sydney asked, “What?”

I smiled and announced, “We’ll be in the same classes this semester.”

“That explains it,” she said excitedly. “I thought I was going nuts.”

“Me, too,” agreed Jade. “I was on the computer selecting classes when all of a
sudden my screen went blank. I thought it had crashed. Then the screen reopened
and displayed a completed schedule.”

“The same thing happened to me,” replied Sydney.

I started laughing. I then explained how I had conned Dr. Avery into having the
three of us attend the same classes. “So at least one good thing came of this,”       
I remarked. We high fived each other as we headed toward the restaurant.

As we ate, Jade pulled out her laptop and began typing. Sydney asked, “What are
you doing?”

“There it is,” Jade replied. She then turned the screen toward us. On it was a site
called Campus Pride. It was our school’s gay student organization. The three of us
read about the organization and their activities on campus.

“They seem pretty active,” observed Jade. She looked over at us. “The first meeting
is next Tuesday. Are you still going with me?”

Sydney readily agreed. “It’s not just for gay students. Look.” She pointed to the
monitor. “They say straight students are also welcomed. So I’m in.” She looked over
at me. “What about you, Dorian?”

“I don’t know,” I replied worriedly. “After what happened this morning, I don’t know
if I should. Dad will shit bricks if he discovers I’ve joined a gay group here at school.
He is bound to find out.”

Jade gave me a disgusted look, and then she and Sydney spent the next half hour
trying to convince me I had to start making my own decisions. I tried to make them
understand that my dad wasn’t just an ordinary father- he was a U.S. Senator.
However, they wouldn’t buy the argument. They said I was Dorian Gale, not Senator
Gale. I was now nineteen and in college. Jade giggled when she told me it was time
to grow some cajones.

By the time we had finished eating, they had convinced me to at least attend the
first meeting. I still wasn’t sure I was making the right decision. I didn’t want to tell
Sydney and Jade, but there was the possibility that he just might remove me from
school if he found out I was publicly coming out. Of course, I could always tell him I
was straight like Sydney, and I was just attending to support Jade.

However, I knew my father well enough to know he wouldn’t buy it. He had seen me
in bed with another boy; however, I was twelve when that happened. It didn’t mean
I was actually gay. Even though I’d never told my parents I was gay, I’m sure they
knew it. I never dated during high school, which always aroused their suspicions.
Dad even asked me a few times why I didn’t date. I just shrugged it off and told him
I didn’t have the time. He was never around the house long enough to know what I
had time to do. Mom, though, had tried unsuccessfully to get me to date the
daughters of some of her socialite friends. By my junior year she stopped. I think
she finally realized I was gay, but neither of us would be the first to discuss it.

After eating, we went to the bookstore to purchase the books and materials we’d
need for our classes. Since we were taking the same classes, we figured we could
save money by sharing books. I had a credit card with an unlimited account. Dad
proudly gave it to me a week before school. He told me to use it to buy anything I
needed. He found it amusing when he warned me not to buy a Mazerati with it. I
was tempted when I went online and found out one cost over $100,000. With his
money, though, he’d probably never miss it.

I knew that the girls’ parents weren’t wealthy like mine, so if I could purchase the
books and share, then it would help them. When we were at the counter, I went
first and told the cashier I was paying for everything. Sydney and Jade protested
rather loudly, causing everyone in the store to look at us. I kept insisting that it was
something I wanted to do, but Jade told me I wasn’t going to buy their friendship. It
hurt me when she said it, because that was something I hadn’t even considered. I
just wanted to do it because they were becoming special to me, and I wanted to
express to them how much they did mean. I guess to them it looked differently.
When they saw the hurt look on my face, they relented and let me purchase their
supplies without objection.

“You really didn’t have to do that,” Jade remarked as we headed back to the dorm.
We each were loaded down with several heavy bags. “You charged over $1,000 on
your credit card.”

“It’s not my money,” I laughed. “Dad’s worth millions. This is chump change to him.”

Sydney started coughing. “Your father is a millionaire?” She gasped when she finally
caught her breath.

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. He could be a billionaire. I don’t really know
what he’s worth.”

Jade stopped and stared wide-eyed at me. “A billionaire!”

“I don’t think so,” I laughed. “I just know he’s rich.”

“Rich? Shit!” remarked Sydney. “My mom only made $43,000 last year.”

I started to feel really badly. I’d never thought about being a rich kid. Actually, I
wasn’t. My father was. However, I never had to worry about anything. From an early
age, I had just gotten used to having servants in the house. To me it seemed
normal. And since I had few friends in high school, I really wasn’t sure how others
lived since I had never been invited to their homes. I always knew I lived a life
different from others, but I was now beginning to realize how much different it had
been.

“Let’s talk about something else,” I suggested. “What do you want to do tonight?
We only have one more day before classes start, so we might as well enjoy it.”

“Let’s rest a minute,” moaned Sydney as she dropped her bags on the ground and
sat down on a bus stop bench. She looked over at me as I sat down and asked, “If
your father has so much money, how come you don’t have a car? We wouldn’t have
to be carrying these heavy ass bags back to the dorm.”

“I don’t know,” I replied as I shrugged my shoulders. “I never went anywhere, so
there really wasn’t a reason to have a car.”

“But you have your license, right?” asked Jade.

“Yeah, sure,” I replied. “Carlton used to let me drive sometimes.”

Sydney asked, “Who’s Carlton.”

When my face began to redden, Jade started to giggle. “Don’t tell me,” she laughed.
“Carlton is your chauffer?”

Sydney stood and looked down angrily at me. “You have a fucking chauffer! And my
back is killing me from carrying these bags!”

“I don’t have a chauffer,” I insisted, before adding, “Well, not anymore.”

Sydney picked up the large bags and began dragging them down the sidewalk. “Call
Carlton and have him come get us.” I laughed as I grabbed one of her bags and
carried it for her.

When I approached my dorm room, there were loud noises coming from inside.
Several guys were talking loudly over the rap music booming from Travis’s stereo.
When I opened the door, the room contained eight guys. Many of them I recognized
as roommates on the floor. Beer cans were strewn all over the room, and the scent
of marijuana permeated the air.

They looked at me when I entered. One of the guys was at my computer playing a
video game. I rushed over and snatched it from the desk. “This is mine,” I shouted
angrily. “You have no right to use it without my permission!”

He stood and towered over me. He must have been about 6’3” tall. “What you going
to do about it, Shrimp?” He pushed his finger into my chest, and I almost lost my
balance. I looked around as the other guys starting to laugh uproariously.

“Just leave my stuff alone,” I muttered as I put the computer inside my desk drawer.

“Gay, mother fucker,” one of the guys said loudly as the others laughed.

Another laughed and looked over at Travis. “You boning that at night?” Again, loud
laughter filled the room.

“Hell, no!” Travis responded angrily. “I ain’t no homo. Fuck that shit!” Again,
laughter.

I attempted to leave, but two of the guys stepped in front of me and blocked the
door. “Where you going, Sweet Thing?” One was the guy who had been in the
shower earlier in the morning. He reached out and pinched my cheek. “You just got
here.” He attempted to hand me a beer and said with a lisp, “Sthay and have a drink
wifth uth.” Again, laughter filled the room as I pushed him aside and hurried out the
door. I could hear loud laughter coming from the room as I stood trembling at the
elevator. I had endured taunting in high school, but nothing like I had just
experienced. For a moment in the room, I felt that they might want to harm me.

I exited the dorm and made my way to the administration building. It was getting
late, and I wasn’t sure the offices would still be open. Fortunately, they were. I went
to the student housing office. There were about twenty students cluttered inside a
tiny room. I was informed that if I wanted a room change, then I’d have to take a
number. I spent the next hour waiting impatiently to speak to someone about
getting a new room assignment.

However, the wait was fruitless. When I spoke to a rather large woman inside a
small cubicle, I was told that rooms were scarce. Unless there was something about
the room that made it uninhabitable, then I’d have to place my name on a list and
wait for a room to open up in the future. I wanted to tell her that my roommate
made it uninhabitable, but I could tell she was tired and just wanted to leave for the
day. I knew there was nothing I could say that would make her change her mind.

I made my way back to the dorm. I didn’t want to go back to my room because I
wanted to avoid another confrontation with Travis and his friends. I considered
going to see Dr. Avery to see if he could help me; however, I realized that I would
appear weak because I couldn’t socialize with guys my age. College was supposed to
be my new freedom. Going to the president of the university crying because I was
taunted would not be a step toward building my self-confidence. I’d have to adjust
to the situation as long as I wasn’t physically harmed.

I went into the lobby to watch television on a big screen television, but a couple of
guys were watching Sports Center on ESPN. I soon fell asleep. I don’t know how
long I had been sleeping when someone sat down beside me. It was one of the guys
I’d recognized from my dorm room earlier. I sat up and instinctively looked at his
hands to see if he was going to hit me.

“Relax,” he smiled nervously. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He offered me his hand to
shake, “I’m Seth Gorman.” I reluctantly shook his hand.

Seth was handsome; however, like me, his features were somewhat boyish. He was
attempting to grow a beard, but it was rather sparse. He had brown eyes and
brown hair which was medium length and combed forward to make a blunt bang
across the middle of his forehead. He wasn’t stocky like Travis and the others, but
he wasn’t as small as me.

The thing that caught my attention most was how his brown eyes, even though he
was wearing thin, small framed glasses, seemed to twinkle as he looked at me.
“What do you want?” I asked cautiously. Even though Seth appeared friendly, I still
wasn’t sure of his motive for sitting beside me.

“I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry for how the guys treated you earlier,” he replied
apologetically. “Most of them are pretty decent guys once you get to know them.”

“Travis is an asshole,” I muttered.

Seth started to laugh. “He’s not all that bad, really.  He’s just away from home for
the first time, and he’s having fun.”

“I’m away from home for the first time, too,” I remarked sarcastically, “but I’m not
acting like a jackass.”

“Point for you,” Seth laughed as he put his finger up and made an imaginary number
one.

I eyed Seth skeptically. He seemed like a nice guy, but I still wasn’t sure of his
motive for sitting down and talking to me. “So what’s your game?” I asked.

“My game?” He seemed puzzled by my question.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Why are you sitting here talking to me?” I looked at the elevator.
“What if Travis and some of the others came down? They might think you’re a fag
for sitting with me.”

He laughed and said, “They can think what they like. I’m comfortable in my own
skin.” I met his eyes, trying to figure out his meaning. I still hadn’t determined if he
was gay or straight, and his response didn’t help. I was afraid to ask him because I
figured if he wanted me to know, he’d tell me. And besides, I hadn’t actually
admitted that I was gay.

He looked at this watch and then asked, “It’s after six, and I’m starved. You want to
go somewhere and get something to eat?” I wanted to resist, but he his smile
assured me that I would be safe with him. However, I was afraid to be alone with
him for another reason. He was cute, and I was afraid I might say something wrong
that would affect his obvious attempt to be friends with me.

“Can I invite some friends?” I asked, hoping he would agree. I would feel more
comfortable if Sydney and Jade joined us.

“Sure,” he smiled. “The more the merrier.” I walked away, pulled out my cell phone,
called Sydney and asked if they wanted to go get a bite to eat. I didn’t mention that
Seth would be joining us. Five minutes later, they stepped out of the elevator.

Jade stopped when she saw me standing beside Seth. A slight smile formed in the
corner of her mouth as she approached. I knew what she was thinking.

She stepped beside me and whispered in my ear, “He’s a cutie. Where did you find
him?” My face began to blush as I introduced him to Sydney and Jade. I could tell
Jade was appraising him as potential boyfriend material for me.

After a short discussion, we decided to eat in one of the student dining areas inside
the basement of an adjoining dorm. Seth said he’d eaten there twice, and he
guaranteed us with a laugh that we wouldn’t get salmonella poisoning.

I was surprised because it was like a large restaurant. Instead of going through a
buffet line to get food, as I expected, we sat down to a clothed table. When Seth
pulled out Jade’s chair for her to sit down, Sydney looked at me and waited for me
to pull out her chair.  “Some guys are still gentlemen,” she remarked after giving
Seth an appreciative smile.

A young waitress brought us a menu and took our drink orders. Most of the menu
items were burgers and chicken, but there were a few pasta and fish dishes. It  
wasn’t what I would have expected for a student dining restaurant. Seth and I
ordered spaghetti, while Sydney ordered the fish of the day special and Jade got a
cheeseburger. After the waiter left, Jade grabbed my hand and announced she had
to go to the restroom.

“Why don’t you ask Sydney?” I asked. “She’s a girl.”

“Because I want you to go with me,” she insisted as she pulled me from the table.
When we were a safe distance from the table, she turned and looked back at Seth.

“He’s adorable,” she shrieked. “Where did you find him?”

“I didn’t find him,” I replied as I grabbed her hand and headed toward the
restrooms. We stood at the doors and talked. Several people came by to use the
restroom and stared at us. “I was sitting in the student lounge and he sat down
beside me.” I then explained what had happened in the room earlier, and how I’d
tried to get a room change. She became upset, and an old woman gave her a
disgusted look when Jade muttered, “Mother Fuckers.” I then told her how Seth sat
down and apologized for their behavior.

“Do you think he’s into you?” she asked hopefully. “He seems like a dream.”

“I don’t know.” Even though Seth seemed like a nice guy, I still hadn’t decided if he
was gay. I had never been around many gay people to know. I was hoping she could
tell me, but her gaydar probably only worked with other girls. Jade assured me she’d
try to see if she could pick up some signs that he was gay, and then we both went
into the restroom.

On the way back to the table, Jade grabbed my arm and stopped me. “I guess we
can scratch Seth off your list as a potential boyfriend.”

“Why?” She nodded at our table. Sydney had moved her chair closer to Seth, and
they were engaged in a very intimate conversation. She was holding his arm and
laughing at something he had said.

Jade walked over and grabbed Sydney’s arm, pulling her up from the table. “We
need to go to the little girls’ room,” she stated emphatically.

“But I don’t have to go,” insisted Sydney as she gave Jade a puzzled look.

“Yes,” replied Jade forcefully, “You do.” With that, she pulled Sydney away from the
table.

“What was that all about?” Seth asked as he watched Jade leading Sydney down the
hall.

“Dunno,” I replied; although I had a pretty good idea that Jade thought Sydney was
moving in on Seth before I had a chance to.

My heart sunk when Seth said cheerfully, “Sydney is great, don’t you think so?”

“Yeah, sure,” I said sadly as I took a drink of my soda. Seth curiously watched me
as I looked down at the table.

“Wait a minute!” I looked over when he started laughing. “You thought I was gay,
didn’t you?”

My face turned red when I looked at him and our eyes met. “More like hoping you
were.”

He covered his face and started laughing. “Oh, Man, I can’t believe this.” He looked
over, grinned and started laughing again. I tried not to, but I soon started smiling.

“So you’re not?” He shook his head. “Then why did you start talking to me?”

“Jesus, Dorian,” he replied. “Do all gay people think that straight people won’t talk
to them?”

“Well, no,” I stammered. “Well, yeah, I guess. What if Travis and the others find out
you’re talking to me?”

“Fuck ‘em,” he sneered. “I can be friends with whomever I want to be friends with. If
they don’t like it, then they can kiss my ass.” He looked over and smiled. “Besides,
my best friend in high school was gay. We did everything together.”

I laughed and raised an eyebrow. “Everything?”

Seth began stammering, “No, no, not everything, like in EVERYTHING.” His face
started turning red. “I mean me and Adam were like best friends.” His face turned
more somber. “I was there for him when he like needed someone, you know. When
things got really rough for him.” Tears started to form in his eyes. “You know, kind
of like you today. You needed someone.”

He didn’t pull his hand away when I reached out and placed mine on top of his.
“Thanks,” I replied as tears formed in my eyes.

Just then, Jade and Sydney approached the table. I quickly removed my hand, but
not before Jade noticed and started smiling. I jumped up, grabbed Jade’s arm, and
announced I wanted her to go to the restroom with me. As we walked away, I heard
Seth ask Sydney, “What is it with you guys and the restroom?”

Our waitress passed us as we headed for the restroom with our order on a large
tray. When we entered the hallway to where the restrooms were located, I quickly
explained to Jade about the conversation I had with Seth.

“So he’s not gay?” she asked disappointedly. I shook my head. “Damn,” she
muttered.

“But he likes Sydney,” I added quickly. Her eyes lit up.

“He does?” I nodded. She grabbed my hand. “Come on. He’s a dream. If he doesn’t
like you, then maybe she has a chance.”

Dinner became interesting. Jade was a very forceful matchmaker. She asked Seth a
lot of questions, and she always made sure to include Sydney’s interests to match
his. I was a little disappointed because Seth was a really fascinating guy. Like Jade,
he was attending school on an academic scholarship. He had been salutatorian of his
senior class, and he was studying to be a pharmacist. He had played basketball,
although he said he mainly kept the bench warm. He had also been a pole vaulter in
track. I kicked Jade’s leg under the table when she made a remark about me liking
to vault poles.

Surprisingly, he also revealed to the girls his close friendship with Adam throughout
high school. Adam, it seems, was a lot like me- his appearance was feminine. Seth
said he took a lot of verbal abuse from his classmates for being friends with Adam.
He said that many students thought they were romantically involved. He had to hold
back tears when he related how Adam had tried to commit suicide his sophomore
year. Jade and I gave each other a knowing look when Sydney took his hand and
held it as she attempted to comfort him.

As we were leaving, Seth stopped and looked at his watch. “It’s only a little after
seven, and I don’t feel like going back to my room. Classes start tomorrow, and we
should have a little fun while we can.”

Jade asked, “What do you have in mind?”

Seth shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. This is a big campus. There must be
something going on.” Jade pulled out her blackberry and searched the school’s
online student site.

“Hey!” she said excitedly. “There’s a freshman dance over at the Student Union
beginning at eight. They’re calling it a Meet and Greet Party.” She looked expectantly
at us. “Are you in?”

Sydney looked at Seth. “I’m in. How about you?”

“Sure,” he replied. He looked at me. “You in, Dorian?”

“I don’t know,” I replied hesitantly. I wasn’t too sure I was ready to socialize with
other students. I’d spent most of my high school years isolated in my room. Except
for graduation, I had never gotten involved in student activities.

Jade reached out and grabbed my hand. “Sure you do, Dorian.” She put her arm
around my waist. “You can be my date.” I tried to pull away, but she held me firmly.
Seth started laughing.

“I don’t think Jade is the kind of girl who will take no for an answer,” he laughed.

“Damn straight,” replied Jade. She winked at me, and we laughed as we headed
toward the student union.

The large room was sparsely populated. It was still early, and most students would
probably not show up for another hour or two. We roamed around the room and
mainly nodded at other small groups who were waiting for something to happen.
The organizers were frantically running around offering non-alcoholic beverages and
snacks.

At nine, a band began to play, and students started going onto the dance floor. The
band wasn’t particularly good, but at least it provided us some entertainment.
Sydney eagerly agreed to dance with Seth while Jade and I looked on. They
appeared to be having a good time.

“I think Cupid’s arrow has struck,” remarked Jade as we watched Seth holding
Sydney tightly during a slow dance.

“At least one of us got lucky,” I remarked solemnly. Seth was really cute, and even
though I was happy for Sydney, I kind of wished it was me he was holding.

“Someone’s jealous,” giggled Jade. I looked at her and rolled my eyes. Just then,
the band began to play a faster dance song. Jade grabbed my hand and tried to pull
me onto the dance floor.

“Come on, Dorian,” she insisted. “I want to dance.”

I admitted embarrassingly, “I’ve never danced.”

“Nothing to it,” she replied. “Just get out there and shake your groove thing.”

“My groove thing?” I laughed. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the center
of students dancing wildly in the middle of the room.

“Yeah,” she yelled in my ear. “Just follow my lead and do what I do.”

I tried, but I kept thinking that anyone watching me would probably think I looked
like a chicken scratching in the dirt. Jade kept laughing and encouraging me to “Let it
go.” I had no idea what I was to let go, but after a while, I did begin to have fun.

That is until I looked over at the entrance where Travis and his buddies had just
staggered into the room. It was obvious they had been drinking heavily. The large
guy in the shower instantly noticed me and started to smirk.


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