"Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America." -The Honorable John Lewis speaking atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020
Darius kissed me again. I don’t think he was even aware that anyone else was in the room. Tears filled his eyes as he looked down worriedly at me. “Are you hurt badly?” he asked as he brushed back my hair.
“I’m okay,” I assured him as I glanced over at my mother and father. Dad was smiling, but Mom had a concerned look on her face.
Pastor Moore and his wife stepped up to the bed. Darius’ mother took his arm and held him. “We heard what happened,” said Pastor Moore as he looked over at Darius. “He was going to drive, but I was afraid he would run every red light getting here,” he laughed.
Darius reached down and gripped my hand. “What happened?” he asked. He looked over at Natalie. “Natalie only told me you were here.” I looked at Natalie and frowned. She must have gotten my phone and called Darius since she didn’t have his number.
I explained, “Dan got upset at school and pushed me into a wall. I got a concussion. Dad said I’ll be okay.” I looked over at my father, and he nodded.
My father stood, winked and said to the others, “Let’s go down to the coffee shop and get some coffee and donuts. I haven’t eaten anything since last night. They headed for the door, but Natalie remained seated.
I looked at her and pleaded, “Can we be alone, Nat?”
She grinned and said, “But I wanted to watch.” She rose, gave me an evil smirk and said, “Be good, Boys.” She giggled when I flipped her off.
As soon as the door closed, Darius was kissing me again. Tears welled up in his eyes when he looked at me and said, “I was so worried when I heard you got hurt.” He started to cry softly.
I took his hand and said, “It’s going to take more than a shove to hurt me.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he cried. “I’m really worried something bad is going to happen to you. You may be okay now, but will you be okay the next time?”
“What about you?” I asked. “You’re in as much danger as I am. Maybe more.”
“I don’t care about me,” he stated adamantly.
I reached out and pulled his face to mine. “But I do. I love you so much.” We continued to kiss passionately for a minute. When he reached down to grip my erect cock, I grabbed his hand. “You better not,” I insisted. “Someone could walk in at any minute.” I had no sooner said that when my morning nurse opened the door. She gave Darius a curious look, and then she went about her duties. She recorded the readings on my monitor and checked my bedding. She asked if I needed anything, but I told her I was okay. She smiled and left the room.
“See,” I giggled. “If you had been grabbing my cock, she would have seen you.”
“Like this,” he laughed as he reached down and groped me. The door opened and Natalie walked in as Darius was still squeezing my crotch. Her face reddened, and she turned and left. I started laughing hysterically as Darius tried to apologize. A minute later, there was a knock on the door. Natalie peered inside.
“Are you finished?” she giggled.
“Shut up, Natalie!” I laughed. She entered and smiled at Darius.
“You boys having fun?”
To my surprise, Darius leaned down and kissed me. He looked at Natalie and said, “We were until we were rudely interrupted.”
“Sit down.” I pointed to a chair. “You’ve already spoiled the moment.”
She sat down and looked at us. “Are you two a couple now?” Darius reached for my hand and held it.
I smiled at him and squeezed his hand tightly. “Yes, we are,” I replied. “What do you think?”
She grinned and replied, “I think you two make a cute couple. So do your parents.”
I asked, “They do?”
“Well,” she laughed, “You kind of gave it away when Darius ran in here and started kissing you all over your face.”
Darius’ eyes widened. “Did I do that?”
Natalie laughed and said, “I thought you were going to jump in the bed with Parker.”
Darius’ face seemed to redden. “Well, I was worried about my baby.” He squeezed my hand tightly.
Natalie warned, “You guys better cool it though. Not everyone is comfortable seeing two guys together. Especially…” She suddenly stopped.
“A white guy and a black guy?” asked Darius. Natalie blushed and nodded.
“We know what we’re getting into,” I insisted. “Love is love. It shouldn’t matter.”
“But it does to some people,” she responded. “Look what happened with Dan.”
“Dan is an ass,” I replied. “He’s never going to change.”
Natalie said, “Just be careful. I don’t want to see either of you hurt.”
Just then our parents returned to the room. They appeared to be getting along really well. My mother was holding Darius’ mother’s hand when they entered the room. We sat around for about twenty minutes until Dad looked at his watch and said he had to get to his office. Pastor Moore said he also had a meeting he had to attend. Darius wanted to stay, but his father insisted that he go to school. He said he had already missed too many days in the past week. He waited until the others had left the room before he kissed me goodbye. He gave me a mischievous grin and ran his hand gently over my crotch before leaving.
I lay and thought about how my life had changed the past week. Before, I was just a normal student anticipating graduation and then heading off to college. There was nothing happening in my life that wasn’t what most high school seniors experience. Many of my friends’ biggest concern was who they would ask to attend the prom with them in a few months.
Now, my life had turned 180 degrees. Since videotaping Darius’ arrest and putting it on Facebook, I didn’t even feel like the old Parker Frazier. Before, the only major thing I had to tolerate was an occasional ‘fag’ said as a joke by Dan, Jeremy or Stephen. I don’t know any more who is my friend and who is my enemy. Other than Natalie, I trust no one at school.
And surprisingly, I have adopted a whole new set a friends. Friends I know who I can trust, and who will have my back if I need them. They have already shown me that. Dwayne would seriously hurt someone if they tried to mess with me. And even Myles with his effeminate personality, would protect me if I needed him. He jokes about hitting someone with his purse, but I think if he was pushed, he could be a serious threat.
And Darius. Where do I begin? Two weeks ago, if someone had told me that I would be I love with the most incredible man on Earth, I would have laughed. He stirs in me emotions I have never known before. Just looking into his beautiful brown eyes sends me to a place I never would have dreamed existed. It’s not lust like it was with Ray. It is something deeper. That’s not saying I don’t love his body. He exudes masculinity. He’s more than I could ever dream possible.
I think that I could live a lifetime with him and only want the love he is willing to give me. Just holding my hand and looking into my eyes is more sensual than anything we could do sexually. Of course, I can’t wait until our youthful exploration is taken to a higher level. I want our bodies to meld into one.
However, one thing worries me. And it is not the color of his skin. We are both seniors. In a few months we graduate. He will head off to Harvard. I haven’t yet decided where I will attend. I’ve been accepted at a few universities, and I’m still waiting to hear from a few more. What will happen in August when our lives go in a different direction? Will our budding love be strong enough to last a separation? I don’t want to reunite for a few weeks during holiday and summer breaks.
I know I shouldn’t be thinking like this. I should ‘go with the flow’ like my father is always advising me. But I’m scared. I don’t want to fall so deeply in love with someone to only have it taken away from me in a few months. I love Darius, and I don’t want to lose that love.
I’m tired, and I’m going to sleep.
I was awakened a few hours later when Dr. Cunningham came into the room. He was accompanied by a couple of other doctors. He smiled and greeted me warmly. “How are you feeling, Parker?” I told him I was feeling okay. He asked if I was experiencing any dizziness. I assured him I felt fine. He examined the knot on the back of my head, and then he used a small flashlight to look into my eyes. He then walked over and consulted with the other doctors.
He turned and approached the bed. “I have some good news and some bad news,” he said seriously. My heart started pounding. He then let a slight smile appear on his lips. “The good news is you’re doing well. Your MRI and other lab work came back showing no signs of serious trauma.”
If that was the good news, I was afraid to hear the bad news. He grinned when he saw the worried look on my face. “The bad news,” he stated, “is I’m going to have to release you later today from this wonderful room that I’m quite sure you’ve grown very fond of.” The other doctors started laughing.
I sat up and asked excitedly, “You mean I get to go home?”
“Well,” he laughed. “If you like it here so well, perhaps I can find a reason to keep you.”
“No!” I shouted. Dr. Cunningham and the others laughed. “You can let me go home.” He patted my arm and told me he would contact my father. They then turned and left. I immediately picked up my phone to call Darius. But after noticing the time, I assumed he was probably still in school. I sent him a quick text to let him know the good news. He responded a few minutes later telling me he would come see me later at my home if I wanted. I couldn’t text fast enough to tell him I would be looking forward to seeing him tonight.
Natalie texted later to tell me she would come by after school, but I told her that I was being released. I still wasn’t sure what time, but I told her to text me before coming to visit me at home.
Dad arrived around four. He was accompanied by Dr. Cunningham. Dad smiled as soon as he entered the room. “Ready to go, Parker?”
“I don’t know, Dad,” I responded glumly. “I’m having such a wonderful time watching programs on heart disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.”
“Okay,” he responded seriously as he headed for the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
When he opened the door, I hollered out, “Dad! I’m just kidding!” He turned and smiled. He told me he would go sign the paperwork with Dr. Cunningham while I got dressed. He handed me a bag with a fresh change of clothes. Thirty minutes later, we were heading home.
As he drove, Dad looked over worriedly and said, “Parker, we have to think about your safety.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “The other day Stephen and Jeremy attacked you in your bedroom. Now, Dan assaulted you in school. It doesn’t seem like you’re safe anywhere anymore.”
“I know,” I responded, “but what can I do about it?”
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m just worried what is going to happen when you go back to school.” He reached out and gripped my arm tightly. “I don’t want to see you get hurt anymore.”
“I’ll be okay, Dad,” I tried to reassure him.
He sighed and said, “If only you had some friends to protect you. But it looks like all your friends have turned against you.”
I answered defensively, “I can protect myself.”
“No, you can’t,” he responded angrily. “Look what has happened so far. And if you go back to school, you can’t even depend on Nettleman to do anything. In fact, he would probably be happy to see something happen so he doesn’t have to deal with you anymore.”
“What am I going to do?”
“I’ve made an appointment tomorrow with Dr. Dan Ivy, Superintendent of Somerset schools. Mr. Abrams will be with me. I’m going to try and get some assurances for your safety when you return to school.”
“Did Dr. Cunningham say when I can return?”
He replied, “You go back Tuesday to see him. He’ll decide then if you can return.”
As we were pulling into the driveway, I asked my father, “Please don’t talk to Mom about this. You know how she gets worried about everything. I’ll be okay when I go back to school. Dan won’t be there, so I think the other guys will leave me alone.”
He shook his head and replied, “We’ll talk about this later. Your mother has already expressed how she feels about this.”
“What does she think?”
He looked over and shook his head. “She wants you to stay home, and she’ll take a leave of absence to homeschool you until you graduate.”
“Dad!” I shrieked, “She can’t do that. I have to be in school to keep my grades up so I can qualify for college.”
He replied, “Your safety is more important to us right now. You won’t be attending any college if something like what happened with Dan happens again.” I got out of the car and wondered if I was really in that much danger.
Mom was in her ‘Mom Mode’ when I entered the house. She rushed over to me and gave me a tight hug. “Are you hungry, Dear?” she asked.
“I’m okay,” I responded. “I had lunch before Dr. Cunningham released me.”
She stood back and studied me. “You’re so thin,” she said. “Maybe you should eat again.” When she turned to go to the refrigerator, I stopped her.
“Mom,” I insisted. “I’m not hungry. Maybe dinner later?” She nodded with a sad expression on her face. I went over and gave her a big hug. “I love you.” I kissed her on her cheek. “I’ll be okay.” She squeezed me tightly before pulling away with tears in her eyes.
I headed up to my bedroom. After two nights in the hospital, I was ready for a long nap. I lay down in bed and instantly fell asleep. I was awakened a couple of times when Mom came into the room to check on me. My room was dark, so she would turn the overhead light on. After the second time, I begged her to please let me sleep.
I was again awakened a few hours later when I heard the doorbell downstairs. I could hear voices in the foyer, but I couldn’t make out who was talking. A few minutes later, my father entered the room and asked if I was asleep.
“I was,” I answered sarcastically as I sat up in bed. “What’s wrong?” He informed me that Natalie was downstairs with another girl and boy. “Who?” He told me he didn’t know.
He asked, “Do you want to see them, or should I tell them you’re resting?”
I rose off the bed. “Give me five minutes to put on some clean clothes,” I responded. He nodded, looked at his watch and told me he would send them up in five minutes.
I was sitting on my bed when there was a light knock on the door. “Come in!” I hollered out. Natalie opened the door and entered. She was followed by Peter and Amanda. I gave them a puzzled look. I had no idea why they would be visiting me. Other than being friendly at school, I never really associated with them. Amanda is a rather shy girl, but very pretty. Jeremy has tried to get her to go on a date since the seventh grade, but she refused. Peter is extremely cute. He has dark brown hair, brown eyes and a slight mustache over his lip. He’s rather short, however. He must stand about 5’6. He’s also a wizard in math. He’s won several state championships over the years. I had a huge crush on him in the tenth grade, but I was too afraid to tell him.
Natalie rushed over and gave me a hug. “How are you, Parker?” she said as she embraced me. When I let out a little whimper, she pulled away. She asked if she had hurt me, and I assured her she didn’t. She then turned to Peter and Amanda. “I hope you don’t mind, but I brought Peter and Amanda with me.
“No, I don’t mind,” I responded as I gave them a puzzled look. Natalie sat beside me, and then Amanda sat on my other side. Peter looked around the room, and then he sat on my chair at my computer desk.
Natalie smiled and said, “You’re probably wondering why I brought Peter and Amanda with me.”
I replied, “It did cross my mind.” When Amanda frowned, I quickly said, “I don’t mind, really. It’s just I wasn’t expecting company tonight.”
“Something happened at school this afternoon,” said Natalie, “that I thought you should know about.”
I gave her a puzzled look and asked, “What happened now?”
She looked over at Peter and told him to turn and pull his shirt up. When he did, I could see several dark scratches on his back. I asked, “How did that happen?” He pulled his shirt down and sat. He looked at Natalie and nodded.
I gasped when she said, “Nettleman did it.”
“Nettleman?” I shrieked. “How?”
She explained, “We were walking down the hall on our way to sixth period, when Nettleman came up to us. Peter came to school this morning with a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that someone gave him at the rally the other night.” I looked at Peter and he nodded. “Nettleman saw Peter in the cafeteria at lunch and got really mad. He told Peter to remove it. Peter told him he didn’t have another shirt to put on, so Nettleman left and came back a few minutes later and threw a school shirt on the table. He told Peter he didn’t want to ever see him wearing the Black Lives Matter shirt in school again.”
I looked over at Peter and asked, “If you changed shirts, then how did you get the scratches on your back.”
Peter responded shyly, “I didn’t take the shirt off. Nettleman has no right to tell me what I can wear in school. It didn’t have any profanity on it. It was just a black shirt with BLM on the front.”
Natalie began to talk excitedly. “When Nettleman saw Peter in the hall still wearing the shirt, he went crazy. He walked up to Peter and told him to take the shirt off. When Peter refused, he tried to take it off him! When he pulled the shirt over Peter’s head, he scratched Peter’s back.”
“Damn!” I sat stunned at what she told me. I looked at Peter and asked, “What did you do?”
“I didn’t have a chance to do anything,” he replied. “Nettleman told me to go to his office. I had to walk there half-naked in front of half the school. When I got there, he suspended me for five days.”
“For what!” I shouted. “You didn’t do anything!”
“He told me I violated the school dress code,” he explained. “He also told me that I failed to follow his order to take it off. He called it insubordination.”
“Insubordination, my ass,” I hissed. “He can’t do this to you.”
“My parents have a meeting with him in the morning,” he said. “They are going to try and talk him out of suspending me. I don’t know if they will be able to do it, though.”
I walked over to the door and hollered out, “Dad!” He appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “Can we see you for a minute?” He gave me a puzzled look as he climbed the stairs. Natalie and I explained what had happened at school. He was becoming increasingly angry. He walked over and asked Peter to show him his back.
“Damn it!” he muttered angrily as he inspected the scratches. He asked Peter for his father’s phone number.
I asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Call Abrams,” he replied. He turned to Peter and asked what time the meeting was. Peter informed him it was at ten o’clock. He told Peter, “I’m going to call your father this evening, and I’m going to get my attorney involved with this. He’s been wanting to nail Nettleman. This might give him a good reason.”
“The way I see it,” he explained, “he’s committed a couple of serious crimes. One, he physically injured Peter by scratching his back. That could constitute a charge of assault. Secondly, he made Peter walk through the halls without a shirt. That could constitute some form of sexual harassment.”
I looked over at Peter when he muttered, “Wow! I didn’t think of that.” He looked at Dad hopefully and asked, “Do you think that will stop him from suspending me?”
Dad patted him on his shoulder. “If Abrams has his say, he won’t be suspending anyone every again.” He turned and left the room.
“Wow!” exclaimed Natalie. “Your Dad is great!”
“I know,” I beamed. I looked over at Peter and said, “Don’t worry about being suspended. Once Mr. Abrams gets through with him, he’ll wish he had never touched you.” Peter smiled and nodded.
Natalie and Parker rose to leave. Natalie stopped at the door. “Oh, one other thing, Parker.”
“A lot of students are very upset with what has happened with you, Peter and Darius. They want to do something to show people that Somerset High School isn’t filled with a bunch of students like Dan.”
I gave her a skeptical look and asked, “And?”
“Where planning a mass walkout at the beginning of sixth period tomorrow.” She grabbed Peter’s hand, turned and left the room.
I sat on the side of my bed and muttered, “Shit. More trouble.”