Love on Trial
Chapter 12
I looked quickly down the hall past Ernest. I was silently praying that a teacher or
another student would come walking down the hall and prevent the Shays brothers
from completing whatever they had in store for me.

“Where you going, Pussyboy?” Ernest spat. I attempted to move to his right, but he
jumped quickly to the side and put out his arms, preventing me from running around
him.

“Scare him my way!” shouted Sly from behind me. Ernest moved towards me, forcing
me to back up. I then felt a pair of fat, thick arms grasp me from behind. Sly wrapped
his arms around me so tightly that I could hardly breathe.

“Please don’t hurt me!” I begged. Ernest stepped forward and threw a punch to my
left side. I thought I was going to vomit from the blow.

“Hit him again,” ordered Sly. Ernest threw another punch to my side, causing me to
gasp in pain.

“This is what we do to fags around here,” said Sly, as he tightened his grip around me.

“Why are you taking so long?” I looked up and saw Stephanie standing next to Ernest.
Her eyes were glaring with hatred. “Hurt him!” she ordered her brothers.

Ernest stepped forward to give me another blow, but a classroom door opened down
the hall. I saw a teacher step out into the hallway, but he   didn’t look our way. I
started to shout out, but Sly removed one arm from around me and started to place
his stubby hand over my mouth.

Instinctively, I bit down on it. I could feel his fleshy skin sink deeply into my mouth. He
screamed, causing the teacher to stop and look our way.

“What’s going on down there?” he hollered. “You kids aren’t supposed to be in the
building.” He then turned and headed away.

I sunk my teeth deeper into Sly’s hand, causing him to let go of me. When he did, I
jumped free and ran past Ernest and Stephanie. I ran as fast as I could down the hall,
expecting them to follow. When I heard no footsteps behind me, I quickly looked back.

They were still in the middle of the hall, examining Sly’s hand. I could see blood
running down the sides. I suddenly felt sick, knowing that I had his blood in my
mouth. I started spitting it out onto the hallway floor.

Ernest flipped me off and yelled, “We ain’t through with you yet, Fag!” They turned
and headed for the exit. I watched as they left, knowing that they couldn’t reenter
once the doors locked them out.

I entered a nearby restroom and rinsed my mouth out. I almost rubbed the skin off
my lip trying to get rid of the vile taste of Sly’s blood. Once done, I went back to get
my books that had fallen to the floor when I was grabbed from behind.

I expected them to be ruined, but they seemed to have been untouched. I guess they
were too worried about Sly’s hand to do any damage to them. I cautiously approached
the door and peered out. I was afraid they would be waiting outside for me. I waited
several minutes until I saw some students walking down the sidewalk. I figured I’d be
safe if others were around.

Carefully, I opened the door and looked around. I didn’t see them anywhere. I
quickened my pace as I rushed to my car. I stopped suddenly when I was about
twenty five feet from my car. All four tires on my car were flat. They had been slashed
with a knife. There were cut marks about three inches long on each tire.

“No!” I looked into the sky and screamed,“Why me?”

I put my books into the car, and then pulled out my cell phone. “Dad,” I said sadly.
“Can you come get me? I’m in the parking lot at school. My car’s been damaged.”    
I explained to him what had happened to the tires. I left out the part about the Shays
brothers trying to hurt me.

“I’ll call a towing service,” he said. “You stay put until I get there. Will you be all right?”
I assured him I was safe. I looked across the parking lot and saw the football team
practicing in the distance. I figured I could holler for Leon and his friends. Not even Sly
and Ernest were stupid enough to take on the defensive line of our football team.

As I stood outside my car, I looked around the parking lot. There were still a number
of cars. I was surprised when I saw Jason’s car still parked across the lot. As far as I
knew, he didn’t have any extracurricular activity. Now that the mock trial was over,
there was no reason for him to stay.

Five minutes later, I saw him walking out of the building with Cynthia. They seemed to
be in a deep conversation. Several times they’d stop and face each other. Cynthia kept
poking him in his chest. She had a habit of doing it to me when she was trying to
make a point. I watched as they slowly made their way to his car. He walked to the
passenger’s side and opened the door for her.

Before getting in, she looked over and saw me standing beside my car. She pointed
me out to Jason. We made eye contact as he assessed the situation. He noticed the
flat tires on my car. He backed out and drove slowly towards me.

Cynthia jumped out before the car had come to a stop. “Are you all right?” she asked
as she ran up and grabbed my arm. She walked around the car inspecting my flat tires.
Jason looked out his window, put he said nothing.

Cynthia asked worriedly, “Who would do this?”

“I’m not sure.” I replied. I didn’t feel like telling her that I suspected Stephanie’s
brothers with Jason so near. For all I knew, he might have been involved himself.

She reached out and put her arm around me to comfort me. I let out a yelp. With all
that had happened, I had forgotten that I had been beaten by Ernest.

“What’s wrong with you?” Cynthia asked worriedly.

“Nothing,” I replied as I held my side and winced in pain. Cynthia pulled my shirt up,
revealing several very black bruises.

“Oh, my God,” she gasped. “Who did this?” I looked over and saw a very concerned
looked on Jason’s face. He got out of the car and walked over to me.

“Who did this, Taylor?” He pulled my shirt up and examined the bruises. I grabbed the
bottom of my shirt and pulled it down quickly. He then walked around my car and
examined the tires.

“I guess you don’t know who did this, either?” He looked deeply into my eyes. Again, I
knew he could tell when I was lying, so I chose to say nothing.

Just then my dad raced up in his truck. He stopped and jumped out. After looking at
the damage, he walked over to Jason.

“Did you do this?” he asked Jason angrily, grabbing at his shirt.

“No!” I shouted. My father looked over at me. “He had nothing to do with it. He just
pulled up with Cynthia.”

“Sorry, Jason,” he apologized as he let go of his shirt. “I should have known you’d
never do anything like this.”

“It’s all right, Mr. White. I understand.” He walked over to his car and got in. Our eyes
met one last time before he drove off. I think he was hurt because my father had
instantly assumed he had been the one who damaged my car.

“Do you know who did this?” My father asked as he walked around the car, kneeling to
examine each tire. “It looks like someone may have slashed them with a switchblade.
The cuts seem pretty clean.” He pulled out his phone and dialed 911.

“What are you doing?” I asked nervously.

“We have to notify the police,” he said. “This is a dangerous act of vandalism. The next
time they may use the knife on you.” I sunk down to the ground and wrapped my
arms around my legs tightly. Cynthia sat down beside me and said nothing. My father
kept pacing around and shaking his head each time he’d see a flat tire.

The police arrived around thirty minutes later. He took a report and kept asking me
who I thought might be responsible. Cynthia even lifted my shirt and showed him the
bruises before I could stop her. My father became irate when he saw the dark bruises
covering my sides. I finally had to tell him that the Shays brothers had beaten me in
the hallway at school.

The police officer taking the report became very quiet after I told him who had bruised
me. At one point, he walked to his cruiser and made a call on his cell phone. I had a
sinking feeling that he may have been calling Lieutenant Shays and telling him about
my allegations.

I was right. About fifteen minutes later, Shays pulled up in an unmarked cruiser and
jumped out angrily. He walked around the car and then pulled the officer to the side.
They talked briefly before he came storming over to me.

I have met him on several occasions and he has always scared me. He is a huge man
with a very short temper. He stands 6’3 and weighed about 260 pounds. He has a full
head of red hair. It seems like all his children had inherited this trait. Stephanie’s
brothers also received his bullish behavior.

“You the queer who is accusing my boys of doing this?” he asked loudly as he strutted
over to me shaking his finger. “I’ve heard all about you what you did to Jason.”

Before I could respond, my father stepped between us, protecting me from his rage.

“You take one more step, Lester, and I’m going to lay you out right here,” threatened
my father. “I don’t care if you are a damned lieutenant. You have no business saying
things like that to my boy.”

He stopped suddenly. “Are you threatening me, Robert?” he asked angrily. To show
his authority, he put his hand on his gun. He turned to the officer who had taken the
report.

“Did you hear that Jerry?” he asked. “This man just threatened to hit an officer of the
law.” The officer shrugged his shoulders and walked away. It was apparent he was
intimidated by Shays’ bullish behavior.

“I’m not threatening you, Lieutenant Shays.” my father said, stressing Lieutenant.   
“I’m just stating a fact. This boy is only sixteen, and you just called him a derogatory
name. I don’t know a lot about the law, but I’m quite sure you just violated his civil
rights.”

“What the hell you talking about?” he shouted. “That boy of yours sucked off my
daughter’s boyfriend. My wife said Stephanie came home from school crying because
Jason broke up with her today. If you ask me, I think that little faggot of yours got
everything he deserves.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my father get so mad. He didn’t say anything to
Stephanie’s father. Instead, he walked over to my car and smashed the passenger’s
side window with his fist. Holding his hand and wincing in pain, he walked away and
phoned Bernie.

The next hour was complete turmoil. Bernie arrived minutes later with several
attorneys from his office. The police chief was summoned, and there was a huge
argument in the parking lot. Cynthia and I sat on the curb and watched.

Lt. Shays threatened to arrest my father for threatening to hit him. My father
demanded that Shays be removed from the force for calling me a queer and a faggot.
Bernie’s associates were hurriedly recording all that was being said. One attorney
interviewed me, while another interviewed the officer who had originally responded to
the call.

Everything came to a halt when an attorney from the city law office arrived. She
informed Lt. Shays that he should exercise his right to remain silent. It was decided
that everyone involved would meet downtown after a thorough investigation was held
by internal affairs.

“We’ve got that son of a bitch!” exclaimed Bernie excitedly after everyone had pulled
off. “I’ve wanted his balls for a long time.” He went on to explain how Thomas had
been involved in several incidences involving Shays concerning other gay and lesbians.
Nothing was ever done because there had never been other witnesses around to verify
their accusations. This time there were several, including another police officer.

“Damn, my hand hurts!” shouted my father. His hand was swollen and turning blue.

“I think it’s broken,” said one of Bernie’s attorneys after she examined his hand
carefully. “You should go to the hospital.”

After a tow truck arrived and pulled off with my car, I drove my father to the hospital
with Bernie and Cynthia following us in his. Since he had been shown the bruises on
my body earlier, he insisted that I too be examined by a doctor and have pictures
taken of my injuries. He said they may be needed later at a trial.

He said that Lt. Shays had been negligent in his duties. When he was told that I had
been assaulted, he refused to make a report because he feared his boys were involved.

I was exhausted by the time we got home. I had left Mrs. Mason’s class around three
in the afternoon. It was now after ten in the evening. Cynthia came home with me. I
had tried to get her to go home, but she said that she had something important to
discuss with me. I told her I’d take her home after we’d talked.

We had to fill my mother in on what had happened. I had called her from the hospital
to give her a brief updates, but she still wasn’t aware of everything that had occurred.
My father was still extremely upset. He had a cast over his hand which extended
halfway up his arm. He went to the bar and poured himself a drink as soon as we got
home. My mother warned him he shouldn’t because of the medication they had given
him for pain, but he hollered, “I don’t give a damn!” While he ranted about the
incident, Cynthia and I snuck off to my room to talk.

“What’s so important that it couldn’t wait until tomorrow?” I asked as we sat on my
bed.

“Jason broke up with Stephanie,” she informed me. I then remembered Lt. Shays
saying something about the breakup when he called me a faggot. It didn’t sink in
because too much other stuff was going on at the time.

“Why did he break up with her?” I knew he was upset with her, but I didn’t think he’d
leave her.

“Actually, she dropped him.”

“Why?”

“He told her to tell her brothers to leave you alone,” she replied. “They got in a big
fight in the hallway and she slapped him in front of everyone. She told him to go fuck
his boyfriend.”

“Is that why you were with him after school?” I asked, remembering that they had left
the building after everyone else was gone.

“Yes,” she said. “He was pretty upset.”

“I can imagine,” I responded. “I guess it’s rough losing your girlfriend.”

“No, that‘s not it,” she replied. “He was upset that she had come between the two of
you. He was going to drop her soon, anyway. He didn’t like the way she had been
treating you.”

I was stunned. I figured that after what I’d done, Jason would never want to speak to
me again. Now he had broken up with Stephanie because he valued our friendship
more than being with her. I didn’t even know how to respond.

“Hello, anyone there?” Cynthia waved her hand in front of my face and giggled at my
distant stare. I guess I had been looking blankly into her face.

“Yeah,” I replied. “I’m just a little shocked. I can’t believe he broke up with Stephanie
because of me.”

“Now he’s worried because he doesn’t know how to talk to you again,” she said. “He
thinks you’re too upset to be his friend again.”

“You mean he’s not mad at me?” I asked incredulously.

“No, Silly” she replied. “He knows you both were drunk. He feels bad because he’s the
one who kept giving you liquor all night.”

“But I took advantage of him!” I said loudly. “He has to be upset.”

“He is,” she replied. “We talked a long time about that. He said he knew you were
probably gay. You can’t be someone’s best friend and not know it. He just wishes you
had talked to him about it.”

“I feel stupid now.” I put my head in my hands and let out a sigh. All this time I’d
worried about Jason finding out I was gay, and he already knew. Cynthia put her arm
around me and rubbed my back.

“You can’t change what has already happened,” she said softly. “You can only ask him
to forgive you and move on.”

“Do you think he will?” I looked into her face for a ray of hope. Even after what had
happened, I desperately missed talking to Jason. We had been so much a part of each
other’s lives that I felt a piece of me was missing.

“Just talk to him,” she replied with a slight smile. “Friends forgive friends.” I leaned in
and gave her a hug.

“What would I do without you?” I whispered in her ear as she squeezed me tighter.

I drove her home a short time later. As I was waiting for her to go inside, her father
stepped out onto the porch and motioned for me to come inside. I saw Cynthia
standing behind him saying something. He turned and spoke to her, and then she
walked away.

I got out and slowly walked up the sidewalk. I was very fond of her father, even if he
was a little too strict. Because he was a preacher, I found it very easy to talk to him.
His demeanor was soft and gentle. In the years I had dated Cynthia, I had never heard
him raise his voice to anyone.

He was a small man, much shorter than me. He probably only weighed about 140
pounds. It always amused me because Cynthia’s mother was just the opposite. She
was very large and rotund. When they say opposites attract, I guess it was true of
their relationship.

“Come in, Taylor,” he said softly, motioning for me to go into his office which was
located to the right of the living room.

I walked in and took a seat beside his desk. He sat in his chair and leaned back,
studying me for a minute before speaking.

“Saturday evening Cynthia and I had a very long conversation,” he began. “She was on
her bed crying her eyes out when I went in. It took me a long time for her to tell me
why she was so upset.”

I could feel my cheeks begin to burn with embarrassment. I knew that she had
probably told him what had happened at the party.

“I’m not going to sit here and judge you,” he said. “Only God can do that. As a
minister, I have counseled many gay people. Personally, I don’t think being
homosexual is a sin. It is your conduct that becomes sinful. Do you understand what
I’m saying?”

I looked into his eyes. I don’t think I’d ever felt so comfortable in his presence. I had
always assumed that because he was a minister, he would condemn me if he knew I
was gay.

“Yes, Reverend Larry.” He had insisted that I call him Reverend the first time I visited
Cynthia.

“What I’m very upset with you about is the fact that you led my daughter on, leading
her to believe she could build a solid relationship with you.” I dropped my head in
shame. It was true, and he was letting me know it. “You hurt her very deeply.”

I sat speechless, knowing that there was nothing I could say. I had deceived her. I had
dated her for two years to cover the fact that I was gay.

“However, my daughter has chosen to do what the good Lord teaches all of us to do.”
He sat back and folded his hands in front of him. I looked up and our eyes met. “She
forgives you.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. “And so do I.” I started to cry.

He rose from his chair, walked behind me and placed his hands on my shoulder. “I
know you’re going through a crisis right now. Sometimes God brings things like this
into our lives so that we might learn from them. Listen carefully to your heart and hear
what God is trying to say to you.” I nodded my head as he kept his hands on my
shoulders.

After a few minutes, I stopped sobbing and he walked back and took his seat. He
folded his hands once again and studied my face.

“I like you Taylor,” he smiled. “I was hoping that some day I could call you son-in-law.”
Once again I dropped my head in shame. “But I’m still proud that you are Cynthia’s
friend.” I looked up and saw him smiling warmly at me.

“You are welcomed to take Cynthia out anytime you want,” he said. “Just don’t deceive
her again.”

“I promise you that I won’t,” I reassured him. “I love Cynthia very much. She is the
closest thing that I have to a sister.”

“Good.” He got up and patted me on my shoulder and started laughing. “Make sure
you keep it that way.” He left the room, leaving me sitting alone. A minute later,
Cynthia walked into the room.

“I’m really sorry, Taylor,” she said quickly. “He insisted on talking to you. Are you all
right?”

“Yeah,” I said as I rose and gave her a hug. “For a day to start out so crummy, it sure
has ended nicely.”

On the way home in the car, I was singing loudly to music that was playing on the
radio. I felt good for some reason. Talking to Reverend Larry had lifted my spirits.

Mom and Dad had already gone to their room when I got home. I grabbed a quick
snack from the kitchen and headed to mine. As soon as I sat on the side of the bed
and began nibbling on my sandwich, my cell phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” the voice on the other end said nervously.

“Hey,” I responded with a quivering voice.


Chapter 13                                   Return to TMJ