Kevin was breathless when he reached Cameron’s house. Since he had left school in a hurry, he didn’t think to borrow bus fare from Stanley or Charles. They had already left by the time he remembered, so he trekked the twenty blocks to Cameron’s home.
“Hey!” Cameron’s eyes lit up when he saw Kevin standing on the porch. “I didn’t know you were coming by tonight. I thought you had basketball practice.”
Kevin attempted to smile, but he was too worried about what happened. He was sure that Paul heard the conversation that he, Stanley and Charles had in the dressing room. Cameron’s smile quickly faded when he noticed the somber look on his face.
“Can we go to your room and talk?” He brushed past Cameron without being invited in. Cameron closed the door and trailed behind him.
Just then Mrs. Lynch stepped from the kitchen. She smiled when she saw Kevin. “Why hello, Kevin.” She looked over at Cameron. “Cameron didn’t tell me you were stopping by. Would you like some milk and cookies?”
“No, Mom,” said Cameron quickly. “Me and Kevin are going to my room. Okay?”
“Kevin and I are going to my room.”
Cameron frowned. It embarrassed him when his mother was always correcting him. “Kevin and I are going to my room.” She smiled and returned to the kitchen.
Once inside, Cameron closed the door, walked over and sat down on the side of the bed. Kevin paced nervously around the room.
“Would you tell me what has happened?” Cameron asked worriedly. Kevin walked over and sat down beside him.
He stared at Cameron. “I think I fucked up.” He took Cameron’s hand and squeezed it.
Cameron looked down at their entwined hands and then into Kevin’s worried face. “How?” he stammered. He knew Kevin long enough to know that he wasn’t the type of person to let small issues get to him. What ever was bothering him had to be important.
“You know my friend, Stanley? The tall guy you see me talking to at school?” Cameron nodded his head. “We were in the locker room talking. He had just told me that he was gay.” Cameron’s eyes widened. “Anyway, his boyfriend was there and we got to talking.”
He squeezed Cameron’s hand tightly. “I told them about us.”
“But didn’t you say they were gay?” Cameron seemed confused. “I don’t see where that would be a problem. If they’re gay, they won’t say anything about us, will they?”
Kevin looked into Cameron’s eyes. “That’s not the bad part?” Cameron waited for him to continue. Judging by Kevin’s reaction, it had to serious.
“We were getting ready to leave when we heard someone slam a door in the outer locker room. So we ran out to see who it was.” Cameron looked expectantly at Kevin.
When he didn’t respond, he asked excitedly, “Who was it?”
“Paul. I think he heard us talking.”
A worried look appeared on Cameron’s face. “Paul? Isn’t that the weird guy who’s always with your brother?”
“Yeah,” replied Kevin. “He’s Devin’s best friend. He also doesn’t like me, never has. I’m really afraid he’s going to out all of us. He’d get a kick out of doing it.”
Cameron sank back on the bed. He stared across the room without saying anything. Kevin looked worriedly at him.
“You all right?”
“Kevin,” he said sadly. “I’ve been through this once. I don’t think I can go through it again.”
Kevin put his arm around his waist and pulled him in tightly to him. Cameron laid his head on his shoulder and sighed deeply. “Tell me what happened,” Kevin said softly.
Tearfully, Cameron explained the events that occurred in the gym at his old high school. He cried when he told of the abuse and humiliation he had endured for several weeks. He explained that he finally broke down and told his mother what had happened. The following week he was taken out of school, and they tried to form a new life.
“I can’t put her through this again,” he said sadly. “She doesn’t deserve to have a son like me.” He leaned into Kevin and cried. Kevin rubbed his back soothingly and attempted to comfort him.
He was startled when the door opened and Mrs. Lynch peeked in. “Would you like…” She stopped suddenly when she saw the distressed condition of her son. She rushed over to the bed, sat down, and pulled Cameron to her.
“What is wrong with him?” She looked worriedly at Kevin.
“It’s all my fault, Mrs. Lynch.” For the first time, Kevin was becoming overcome with emotion. He could feel the tears starting to appear in his eyes. “I never meant to hurt Cameron.” She reached out and pulled him into her.
She held both boys for several minutes, realizing that they were too emotionally upset to say anything further. She couldn’t begin to imagine what had happened to upset both boys.
Finally, Cameron lifted himself from his mother and grabbed Kevin. He kissed him gently on the cheek. “It’s all right, Kevin,” he assured him. “I’m not mad at you. You didn’t do anything wrong. It just happened.”
“Can someone explain to me what is going on?” Mrs. Lynch insisted. Cameron began to explain what Kevin had told him. When they were through, Cameron’s mother pulled both boys into a hug. She then pulled Cameron away and looked into his face.
“We’re not going to run away this time.” Cameron frowned and nodded his head. “We’re going to get through this. This time you have something you didn’t have the last time.”
Cameron looked at her questioningly. “What?”
She took Kevin’s hand and placed it in Cameron’s. “A friend.” Both boys looked at her and smiled.
“This won’t be easy,” she continued. “You know what it’s like to be outed at school.” She looked over at Kevin. “Do your parents know you’re gay?”
Kevin shook his head. “Are you kidding? My parents would disown me if they found out.”
“I doubt that,” she said as she grabbed Kevin’s hand and squeezed it. “I’ve talked to your mother on the phone. She doesn’t seem like someone who would react unreasonably.”
“I don’t know,” Kevin responded. “But I know my Dad and my brother would hate me.”
“Don’t you have a twin?” she asked. “I remember Cameron mentioning how much you two look alike.”
“He already hates me,” Kevin said sadly. “When Paul tells him what he heard in the locker room, he’ll really turn against me. He’ll probably tell Mom and Dad, if he hasn’t already.”
She squeezed Kevin’s hand tightly. “I want you to give me permission to call your mother and have her come over and talk to me.”
“Right now?” Kevin asked excitedly.
“Yes,” replied Mrs. Lynch. “She’s going to find out soon, so it would be best to hear it from me. After all, we do share something.”
“What?” Kevin looked questioningly at her. She smiled at the frightened boy before her.
“We both have a gay son.” Kevin thought a minute before answering.
Finally, he muttered softly, “All right, Mrs. Lynch.” Cameron reached over and took his other hand. “Do I have to be here when you tell her?”
“Don’t you think you should?”
“I can’t,” he insisted. “I don’t want to see the disappointed look on her face.” Mrs. Lynch thought for a minute. Perhaps it would be better to talk to Mrs. Williams alone. That way if she reacted negatively, Kevin wouldn’t witness it. She knew from talking to members of PFLAG when Cameron came out to her that some parents do react angrily when they first hear the news. If she did, then it would give her time to talk to her about Kevin.
She looked over at Cameron. “I want you to go over to your Uncle Jerry’s and tell him what happened.”
“Mom!” Cameron shouted. “You said you’d leave him out of this. You promised me when we moved here that we wouldn’t involve him.”
Jerry was her older brother. It was because of him that they had placed Cameron in Western High. He had spent several summers with him, and he had become somewhat of a surrogate father to him. When Cameron was outed at school, Jerry was the first person Mrs. Lynch called. It was he who insisted that they move so he could protect Cameron if he needed it.
“I know I promised you that,” she replied, “but things have changed now.”
He looked worriedly at her, and then over at Kevin. “Are you sure? This could really cause problems for him.”
She arose from the bed. “Let me go give him a call. I’ll see what he says. You two stay here until I get back.”
She left, closing the door behind her. Kevin reached out and took Cameron’s hand. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Cameron smiled warmly at him. “I know.” He then leaned in and kissed Kevin.
After a minute, he pulled away and asked, “You’re not mad at me?”
Cameron giggled. “Does this look like I’m mad at you?” He leaned in and kissed Kevin again. He lay back on the bed and pulled Kevin on top of him. He could feel Kevin’s growing erection against him as he thrust harder into his body.
They jumped away quickly when there was a light tap on the door. Both boys were flushed when Mrs. Lynch opened the door and walked in. She looked questioningly at them. Cameron had told her that they had kissed a few times, but by the looks on both boys’ faces, she was worried that they might be engaged in a deeper relationship.
“I talked to your Uncle Jerry,” she said as she sat back down on the bed, this time between the boys. “He’s expecting you.”
She then looked over at Kevin. “I also called your mother. I told her I’d like to talk to her, and I asked her if she could come right over. She said she would.”
Kevin’s heart began to pound inside his chest. He knew that within the hour his mother would know that he was gay. It worried him how she would take the news.
Kevin asked, “Can you call her back?”
“You can’t change your mind now, Kevin,” Mrs. Lynch insisted. “She’ll wonder what is going on.”
“It’s not that,” he replied. “Ask her to bring me a change of clothes.”
“Why on earth do you want me to do that?”
Tears appeared in his eyes. “In case she doesn’t want me to come home tonight.” She reached out and took Kevin in her arms.
“Don’t worry, Kevin,” she assured him. “It’s not going to come to that. Trust me.”
Kevin responded sadly, “I hope you’re right.” She ran her hand over his head and then looked at Cameron.
“You boys walk over to Jerry’s,” she said. “I’d take you, but I have to put on coffee for Mrs. Williams. And cookies, I have to make cookies. Everything is better when you’re eating cookies.”
The boys began to laugh. Cameron stood and grabbed Kevin’s hand and pulled him up.
“Are you ready for the biggest surprise of your life?”
Kevin gave him a quizzical look. “What do you mean?”
Cameron smiled. “You’ll see.”
“I’m telling you it’s true!” Paul shouted. “Your brother is a fag. So are Stanley and Charles. I heard them talking in the locker room.”
Paul had hurried to tell Devin about the conversation he overheard in gym. He had been in the stall using the bathroom when Charles walked in. Since he didn’t feel like confronting anyone about him and Devin walking out on Coach Alston, he thought he’d wait around until everyone else had left. He wasn’t prepared for the exchange he heard from his former teammates.
Devin paced around his room and stopped occasionally to look down at Paul who was seated at his computer desk. “Are you sure?”
Paul rose, walked over to Devin and stood before him. “Why would I be making this up? I heard him with my own ears. He said he’s dating that fag, Cameron. I told you there was something going on.”
“But what about Stanley and Charles?” He had known them both for years and he couldn’t comprehend that they both were gay.
“They told Kevin they were boyfriends. Can you believe it?” he asked excitedly. “We’ve played with them all these years, and they’re fags.”
“Damn.” Kevin stood before his window and looked out at the leaves that had fallen on the ground. “Damn!” He hit his hand on the window frame.
Paul asked, “What are we going to do about it?”
“We are not going to do anything about it.” He walked over to Paul and poked him in his chest. “I’ll handle this. Got it?”
“But we got to do something about it!” he shouted. “We got kicked off the team because of them“.
“I got kicked off the team,” Devin reminded him. “You walked out on your own.”
“I couldn’t just let you leave by yourself,” Paul replied. “You’re my best friend.”
Paul waited patiently while Devin paced around the room. “So what’s your plan?”
He asked after several minutes.
“I don’t know.” Devin walked back over to Paul. “But I want you to stay out of it.”
Paul stood up and faced Devin. “I’ll tell you what, though. I don’t want those fags riding in my car anymore.”
“That’s your decision,” Devin said.
“Man!” Paul said excitedly. “I can’t wait to get to school on Monday.”
Devin grabbed Paul’s collar and pulled him towards him. “If you tell one person about Kevin, I’m going to kick your ass. You got it?” Paul’s eyes widened with fear. He’d never seen Devin so angry before.
“Yeah, sure, Dev.” Paul stammered. “Whatever you say.”
Devin released his collar and pushed him away. “I mean it, Paulie.”
Paul grew nervous. He wanted to leave before Devin became angrier. “I got to go home.” He started pulling on his coat. “I have geometry homework to do.” He walked to the door and turned and faced Devin. “See you in the morning?” Devin nodded his head and he left the bedroom. Once in his car, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number of a member of the basketball team.
Mrs. Williams wiped tears from her eyes as Mrs. Lynch poured her another cup of coffee. She looked up angrily.
“Why are you making up these lies about my son?” she asked angrily. “I know my son. He’s not gay!” Mrs. Lynch returned the coffee pot to the counter and then sat back down at the table.
“I know that this is hard on you right now,” she said reassuringly. “But...”
Mrs. Williams stood up and shouted, “Kevin isn’t gay!” She covered her eyes with her hands as her emotions overtook her. When Mrs. Lynch had called her and asked to speak to her, she assumed it had something to do with volunteering for some school activity. She had done it hundreds of times over the years. She had attended school functions so many times that she was often mistaken as a teacher by other parents.
However, she wasn’t prepared for the discussion that had just transpired. In ten minutes, her world had completely changed. The hopes and dreams she had for Kevin’s future were being jeopardized by the woman who sat looking at her sympathetically. She refused to believe the lies the woman was telling her.
Mrs. Lynch placed her hand over hers, but she quickly pulled it away. “I only told you because there is a chance that Kevin is going to need your support. He came by here earlier to speak to Cameron, and he said he’s afraid they may be outed at school.”
“Cameron’s gay too?” Mrs. Williams appeared stunned.
“Yes, of course,” Mrs. Lynch responded. “I thought you had assumed that.”
Mrs. Williams looked angrily across the table. “That’s it!” she shouted. “Kevin’s not gay. Your perverted son seduced my son. All I have to do is talk to him and straighten him out.”
Mrs. Lynch spoke softly and gently. She didn’t want to agitate Mrs. Lynch anymore than she already was. “Mrs. Williams, Kevin is gay. No one has seduced him. He’s been struggling with it for quite a while according to Cameron. He was afraid to tell you because he was afraid like you are doing now. Our sons are in danger, and he needs your help more than ever. I’ve been through this once before with Cameron. A child can’t bear this alone.”
Mrs. William’s wept loudly. Mrs. Lynch took her hand and rubbed it gently. “Mothers are never prepared for something like this. However, you are Kevin’s mother and you have got to love him unconditionally. He’s no different today than he was yesterday. The only difference is, you now know.”
“He can’t be gay,” cried Kevin’s mother. “Where did we go wrong? My husband and I tried to be supportive parents. We tried to do everything right. What did we do wrong?”
Mrs. Lynch continued to rub her hand. “You did nothing wrong. Kevin is a great kid. I’d say you’ve raised a remarkable son. He just happens to be gay. Why? I can’t tell you. Even the experts can’t explain how one son can be straight and the other gay. All we know is that it happens, and we have to love them just as they are.”
“What do we do now?” She reached for a napkin and wiped the tears from her eyes. “You say they could be in danger.” Mrs. Lynch explained what Kevin had told her about Paul hearing the conversation in the locker room.
“Paul would never hurt Kevin,” she insisted. “He’s been Devin’s best friend for years.”
“Boys change as they get older,” Mrs. Lynch explained. “When Cameron had his trouble at the other school he attended, I took us both to counseling. They said that teenage boys, and even as they grow older, are threatened by people who are gay. They may be insecure in their own masculinity, and as a result, become homophobic. They can often be dangerous.”
“Are you saying Devin and Paul are gay?”
“No,” responded Mrs. Lynch quickly. “I’m not implying that. I’m just concerned that other boys at their school may react in a dangerous manner if they learn that Kevin and Cameron are gay. The other two boys may also face problems.”
“But Stanley and Charles?” Mrs. Williams looked surprised. “I’ve known them and their mothers for ages. I can’t imagine that they are doing something together.”
“The doing something together is love, Mrs. Williams.” Mrs. Lynch said warmly. “They love each other.”
“Oh, God!” cried Kevin’s mother. “That doesn’t even sound right. It’s morally wrong.”
“Whatever prejudices you have right now, you must put them aside,” warned Mrs. Lynch. “Kevin needs your support.” She got up from the table and left the kitchen. She returned minutes later with a couple of pamphlets.
“Here.” She handed the material to Mrs. Williams. “Read these. I got them from PFLAG when Cameron told me he was gay. It may help you understand some things.” She thumbed through them briefly.
“What about his father?” Tears formed in her eyes again. “How can I even begin to explain this to him? He’d never accept the fact that Kevin is gay.”
“I don’t know your husband,” she replied. “From the brief time I’ve known Kevin, though, I can’t see how he could turn his back on such a wonderful son.”
“He’s had such high expectations for them,” she explained. “This is something I’m not sure he could possibly accept.”
“Then perhaps you can put off telling him for a while,” suggested Mrs. Lynch. “Wait and see what repercussions, if any, come from all of this. Right now though, I just wanted to make you aware that Kevin is facing a serious crisis and needs your help. After meeting you, I’m quite sure you don’t want to lose Kevin. That’s why I accepted it when Cameron told me.” Tears welled up in her eyes. She reached for a napkin and wiped them clean. “He’s the only thing I have in this world. He’s so precious to me. I’d die if anything happened to him.” She broke down, and Mrs. Williams found herself comforting the woman who just earlier had comforted her. Finally, she looked down at her watch.
“I must be going.” She got up from the table and put on her coat. “My husband must be worrying about me. I told him I’d only be gone for a few minutes. We’ve been talking for almost two hours.” She looked around the kitchen. “Where is Kevin? I’ve been so upset I forgot to ask you about him.”
“I sent him and Cameron to my brother’s house, his Uncle Jerry. He lives just a few blocks from here. I’ll go get them shortly and bring Kevin home.” She reached over and picked up the paper bag that Mrs. Williams had brought containing a change of clothes.
“Here,” she smiled as she handed them to her. “I’m glad he won’t need these. He was so afraid you wouldn’t want him to return home.”
Tears appeared in Kevin’s mother’s eyes. “Poor dear. What he must be going through. I only hope I can keep this from his father and brother.”
“We can only do the best we can as mothers,” said Mrs. Lynch as she led Mrs. Williams to the door. “No one said it was an easy task.”
“Amen,” smiled Kevin’s mother as she opened the door and walked out.
Kevin and Cameron walked shoulder to shoulder as they trekked the four blocks to his uncle’s home. Occasionally, they would let their hands brush lightly. On one occasion, when they felt they weren’t in sight of any homes, they briefly held hands.
“Who is this Uncle Jerry?” Kevin asked after they’d walked several blocks. “And what did you mean in your bedroom when you told me to get ready for the surprise of my life?”
“You’ll see,” Cameron said timidly.
“You said that too.” Kevin had a hint of exasperation to his voice. He felt like Cameron was playing some kind of game with him. Feeling that Kevin was becoming upset, he tried to explain what was happening.
“Uncle Jerry is my mother’s brother. When I was involved in all that trouble in my old school, I came to stay with him for a week. He convinced my mother to move here and enroll me at Western High.”
“I still don’t understand why you’re being so secretive about all this.”
“I’ve wanted to protect him. I was hoping I didn’t have to involve him in my problems. He’s got enough now to deal with.” Cameron let his hand brush gently against Kevin’s. When they approached a large ranch home nestled among several large oak trees, he stopped.
“This is his house.” Cameron informed him.
“Wow,” said Kevin admiringly. “This is a nice home. Your uncle must be rich or something.”
“Not really. He just works hard for a living.”
“What does he do?” Kevin asked.
“You’ll see.” He took Kevin’s hand and led him to the door. He rang the doorbell, and they waited a minute until they saw a silhouette approach from the other side.
The door opened and a dark haired man in his mid-forties opened the door. He smiled when he saw Cameron. “There you are. We’ve been expecting you.”
“Hi, Uncle Dave.” Cameron walked up and hugged the man. “This is Kevin.” He extended his hand and they shook.
“Where’s Uncle Jerry?” Cameron looked around the living room. Just then, a man emerged from the kitchen. Kevin’s eyes widened in astonishment.