Jade, Sydney and I were sitting in the back booth at the Pizza Parlor, a popular eating spot for students. We had just finished our last class of the day, and we were waiting on Seth, who had a later class than we did.
“So tell me,” Jade smirked as she leaned toward Sydney. “How’s Seth in bed?”
I started laughing as Sydney’s face reddened. “Jade!” she shrieked. “You can’t ask me that!”
My eyes widened as I asked, “So you guys are doing it?”
“Dorian!” Sydney shouted embarrassedly. “Not you too!”
“Oh, come on, Sydney,” Jade exclaimed. “Knock off the good little girl shit.” She turned to me and remarked, “I had to go to the library last night because,” she looked at Sydney and rolled her eyes, “because Miss Thing here was ‘entertaining’ Seth, as she called it.”
“We were working on homework,” stammered Sydney.
“Yeah, right,” Jade responded sarcastically. “Is that why you put the ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door?”
I started laughing. “Travis just hangs his underwear on the door knob when he’s ‘entertaining’ someone.”
“Would you two shut up,” Sydney huffed as she took a sip of her soda. “Don’t get upset with me because you two can’t get laid.”
“You bitch!” Jade laughed. “I can get laid if I want.”
Just then, I looked up and noticed Seth heading our way. “Here comes Sydney’s sex toy.” Sydney was telling us to stop teasing her when Seth sat down beside her.
“What’s so funny?” He asked as he looked around the table. He looked down at his pants. Jade and I almost fell out of our seats when he asked, “Did I forget to zip up my pants?”
Jade looked naughtily at Sydney and remarked, “I’m sure Sydney likes your pants unzipped.”
Seth kissed Sydney on the cheek and exclaimed, “She sure didn’t complain last night.”
“Seth!” Sydney shouted as her face turned bright red.
“Too late, Miss Thang,” Jade laughed. “The cat’s out of the bag now.”
“More like the horse out of the barn,” I joked as everyone started laughing uproariously.
Sydney looked over at Seth and exclaimed, “It sure isn’t a pony.” We continued to laugh until the waiter approached the table and took our order.
As we ate, Jade reached into her computer case, pulled out a flyer and handed it to Seth. He read it and then handed it to Sydney. She looked at Jade, nodded her head and handed it to me.
“What’s this?” I asked as I read it. It was an announcement for the first meeting of Campus Pride, the university’s GLBT organization. The meeting was being held the next evening at 6:30 in a conference room in the Student Union.
“No,” I said adamantly as I pushed the paper back toward Jade.
“You know I can’t,” I insisted. “If Dad finds out, he’ll remove me from school. I already told you what he said.”
“But you have to,” she insisted. “You promised me you would.”
“I did not!” I shouted. I looked around the restaurant to see if anyone heard my outburst.
“Okay,” she responded. “But you did tell me you would consider it.”
I put my finger to my temple and pretended to be thinking. “No,” I said as I removed my hand. “I gave it some thought, and my answer is still the same. It’s just too dangerous for me to be there. I’m sure we’ll have to register, and if Dr. Avery sees my name on the members’ list, he’ll tell my father.”
“You could use another name,” Seth suggested. He then started laughing. “How about using the name Chase Cox?” I rolled my eyes. “Get it, Chase Cocks?” Sydney almost fell out of her chair because she was laughing so hard.
“I’m not going as Chase Cox!” I insisted adamantly.
“Come on, Dorian,” said Jade as she grabbed my hand and squeezed it. “Just go with us. You won’t have to tell them who you are. Just say you’re checking things out.”
I folded my arms and pouted, “No.”
Jade gave me an angry look and said, “So much for being your own man. I guess you’re going to let your father to continue to dictate your life.”
“Bitch!” I spat. I knew she was right. We had spent several hours the day before discussing how I wanted to start demonstrating my independence from living in my father’s shadow. I was thinking more about telling him no if he wanted me to come home for the weekends when I would rather be at school. I hadn’t thought about making such a drastic decision as joining a gay organization.
She grabbed my hand and held it tightly. “Please, Dorian? This means a lot to me. And I think it might mean a lot to you too.”
“Come on, Man,” Seth pleaded. “I’m straight, and I’m going.”
“Me, too,” responded Sydney. “It won’t be the same if you’re not there.” She put her hand out, and Seth placed his on top of hers. Jade then put hers on top of Seth’s.
“Well?” She looked pleadingly at me. “Is it one for all and all for one?”
“This isn’t fair,” I pouted. I reluctantly put my hand out and placed it over Jade’s. She squealed and gave me a big hug. I knew I was making a serious mistake; but if I was going to start living my own life, then I knew it was something I had to do.
After eating, we went back to the dorm. I needed to read a chapter for my world civilization class. The professor told us on the first day of classes that we should be prepared to take pop quizzes on any of the readings. We would have a midterm and final exam, and the pop quizzes would account for the remaining third of our grade. I didn’t like history classes in high school, so I knew I wouldn’t suddenly develop an interest in college. So, I needed to read the material and be prepared.
Fortunately, Travis was out of the room when I entered. As usual, the room was a mess. It appeared that nothing on my desk had been disturbed, but I couldn’t say the same thing about my bed. Someone had been lying on it and eating potato chips. I quickly brushed off the bed and made sure that nothing else had been spilled on it.
I tried to keep my eyes open as I read the material. It was about the birth of civilization from prehistory to the 1500’s. I jotted down notes, particularly dates, as I read. I found that helped me in high school when I had trouble comprehending material. When I finished, I had four pages of worthless dates listed. There was no way I was going to be able to remember so many. I devised a plan to hide my notes so I could use them as cheat sheets when the professor wasn’t noticing. With my luck, though, he would probably catch me and kick me out of class.
When I finished, I considered doing an assignment for Wednesday’s math class, but I decided I was too exhausted, and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. I walked over to the door and peeked out to hear if anyone was taking a shower. I didn’t hear any water running, so I removed my clothing, wrapped a towel around my waist and headed across the hall.
No one was taking a shower. However, I could see a pair of feet under one of the stalls, so I knew I wasn’t alone. I walked into the shower area, removed my towel and turned on the hot water. It took about thirty seconds before I could step under the shower. I was washing my hair when I heard the person in the toilet flush. A minute later, Raleigh appeared and watched me with a smug look on his face.
“Well, well, well.” He reached down, put his hands in his sweat pants and started playing with himself. “Look what we have here.” I walked over to get my towel, but he snatched it off the hook before I could reach for it.
“You want this?” He joked playfully as he waved the towel in front of me. “Come and get it.” I tried to cover myself as I desperately grabbed for it.
“Give me my towel!” I shouted nervously. He continued to wave it at me.
“Come get it, Fag,” he spat angrily. He pulled down his pants to show me his small, hard cock. “Maybe you’d like this, too.”
I was becoming scared because I didn’t know what he was capable of doing. Seth had told me that he was harmless, and that he liked to pull pranks on people. However, what he was doing I didn’t consider a prank. By the devious look in his eye, I was becoming concerned that he might try to hurt me.
He continued to wave my towel around. “Want it, Fag?”
I tried to step around him, but he walked over and blocked my path to the door. He sang out, “Going somewhere, Sweet Thing?”
I mustered all the courage I could and said defiantly, “Leave me alone, Raleigh!” He blocked me again when I tried to go around him.
He continued to stroke his cock and said, “We got some unfinished business here. I ain’t had no pussy in three weeks, and your soft little ass looks pretty good right about now. Besides, a hole is a hole. I’m so horny, I would fuck a damn knothole.”
I started to panic as he held his cock tighter and approached me. When he grabbed my arm, I hit him as hard as I could in his stomach. My hand began to hurt as it hit his fleshy skin.
“Ooomph,” he moaned as I quickly stepped around him. “I’ll fucking kill you, you little homo!” he screamed as I hurried from the room. I ran naked across the hall, slammed the door shut and quickly locked it. Seconds later, he began pounding on it.
“You fucking faggot!” he shouted as he banged on the door.
I heard another voice ask, “What the fuck is going on, Raleigh?” It must have scared him away from my door because the pounding ceased. I walked over to my bed, sat down and tried to stop trembling. I couldn’t help thinking that if I hadn’t been able to escape, then Raleigh just might have raped me.
After several minutes, I managed to go to my closet, pull out a pair of shorts and tee shirt and get dressed. I then climbed onto my bed and managed to tearfully fall asleep.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened as I sat in my classes the next day. The professor’s lecture on the importance of inorganic and organic molecules to life was mindless drivel to me. He could have been talking about space aliens from Mars declaring war on Earth, and I probably wouldn’t have paid attention.
Jade and Sydney detected my somber mood, and they kept questioning me why I seemed depressed. I was embarrassed to tell them what happened. If it had been Seth, Raleigh probably would have been taken out of the shower in a body bag. I, though, managed to frightfully escape, and then retreat to my room and cry myself to sleep. I reacted as I did in high school when I was picked on- slink away and hide.
“I know something’s wrong,” remarked Jade as she put her hand around my waist as we walked from class.
“Nothing is wrong with me,” I insisted forcefully as I pulled away from her embrace. I stood and stared at the surprised looks on Jade and Sydney’s faces. “Just leave me alone, okay? Is that asking too much?” I turned and walked quickly away. I could hear them hollering out my name as I hurried from the building.
I strolled around campus for a little while. It was the beginning of fall, and there was a slight nip in the air. I pulled my jacket around my neck and walked aimlessly around campus. I stopped, sat on a small hill and watched a group of guys playing Frisbee on a grassy area. Watching them play only saddened me even more. I was always on the outside looking in. Even in high school, when sides were chosen to play dodge ball or some other senseless game, I was the last to be chosen. I usually retreated to the sideline and watched as others gleefully threw heavy balls at one another. I was always afraid that if one hit me, it would seriously hurt. I also feared that others would intentionally single me out as a form of public humiliation. Many times, I would simply leave, get dressed and wander outside until my next class.
Raleigh’s menacing behavior only reinforced my fear of being the victim to harm and humiliation. As I looked down at my small, frail body, I knew I could never adequately defend myself if I was threatened. My only option was to avoid putting myself in a situation of danger. However, that would be difficult living in a dorm where I had to share my life with a dozen strangers. I was not one of the guys. To me, it was only a matter of time until I would again face another dangerous situation.
Jade rose from her chair, ran over and hugged me as I walked into the large conference room in the student union. “I didn’t think you would show,” she remarked as she embraced me tightly. Soon, Sydney and Seth were hugging me.
“I’m glad you came,” Seth said laughingly. “I was getting a little uncomfortable.”
“Yeah,” laughed Jade. She pointed to a guy standing on the other side of the room. He was tall and lanky. I thought he was rather attractive if it weren’t for the pink striped hair. “He’s come over several times and tried to get Seth to give him his cell phone number.”
Seth looked at Sydney and rolled his eyes. “It didn’t help when she told him she was my sister. Then she said we’d make a cute couple.” I started laughing when Seth looked at the guy, and he waved excitedly across the room.
“I think he likes you,” I laughed. Seth pulled Sydney toward him and kissed her passionately. I looked over to see the guy frown and turn his head.
“Now he probably thinks you’re some kind of pervert,” giggled Jade. “Doing your own sister.”
Seth pulled Sydney toward him and puckered his lips. “Give me a kiss, Sis,” he laughed as he kissed her again. I looked over at the tall guy but he wasn’t looking.
There were about thirty people standing around the room. Most were like us, gathered in groups of two or three. There was about an equal number of males and females. A couple of guys were standing off by themselves, while most of the girls seemed to be in pairs. I don’t have the best gaydar in the world, but it appeared that Seth and Sydney were the only straight people in the room.
Jade and I were talking when a young man approached. “You don’t have on name tags,” he announced as he looked at our clothing. He grabbed my arm and squeezed it. “How will we know what your names are?” He scanned my body seductively as he continued to hold my arm. He was attractive. He was effeminate, but not overtly. Most people would probably never immediately assume he was gay. He had brown hair that he brushed forward toward his forehead. His eyes were brown, and he was about two inches taller than me.
“Come on,” he said as he pulled me toward a table with nametags and a marker. Jade followed behind us. I looked back and she mouthed, “He’s cute.” I rolled my eyes and tried to pull away from his tight grasp, but he seemed determined to hold me.
He looked at Jade and asked her name. “Jade Hamilton,” she replied. When he asked her if she was with someone, she pointed to me and said, “Him.”
“Yes, well,” he remarked. “That doesn’t exactly count, now does it?” Jade took the nametag, pressed it to the sweatshirt she was wearing and walked away.
“Now you,” he smiled as he extended his hand. “I’m Jerry Cohen. I’m a junior.” He looked at me seductively as he put the marker in his mouth and sucked on it. “And you are?”
I laughed at his antics because he was being so openly flirtatious. It was something I wasn’t used to. “Dorian Gale,” I responded. He wrote my name in a fancy script on the nametag and pressed it to my chest.
“Here you are, Mr. Dorian Gale.” He looked down at me and laughed. “I would hate to have that last name. I bet you get asked all the time if you’re related to that asshole senator who’s running for vice president.”
“Yeah, I do,” I replied as I turned away and headed back over to where the others were standing.
Jade looked at me and giggled, “Did you get his number? For a minute I thought he was going to have sex with you on the table.”
“Who?” Seth asked as he looked around the room. Jade pointed to Jerry. He noticed us looking and waved to me.
Sydney asked, “Where did you get the names tags?”
“From Dorian’s boyfriend,” Jade responded with a giggle.
“Shut up, Jade,” I huffed.
Sydney grabbed Seth’s hand and pulled him away as they headed toward the reception table. No one was there; but then the tall guy who had been flirting with Seth noticed them standing beside it and rushed over. Jade and I laughed as he appeared to flirt with Seth as he made them a nametag.
Jade started singing, “Someone has a boyfriend,” when they returned.
Seth rolled his eyes and said, “Shut up, Jade.”
Jade grabbed Sydney’s hand. “I guess it’s me and you since the boys have boyfriends.”
“Shut up, Jade!” Seth and I hollered in unison.
We stood around watching the other people in the room. In fact, everyone seemed to be doing the same thing. Seth seemed to be the center of attention for many. I think it was mainly because he is good looking, and they couldn’t figure out if he was gay or straight. There is nothing about him that appears gay. However, that is sort of stereotyping gay people by saying that most have some characteristic about them that makes them appear they are.
I made eye contact with a few guys. In high school, I would never have been so bold; but after all, I was in a meeting for gay students. Therefore, I didn’t have to worry if I looked at the wrong guy. At least I knew if he wasn’t gay, at least he was gay friendly.
Jerry approached and stood before us. “We have finger foods and drinks,” he announced. Then he started laughing and said, “You do like eating fingers don’t you?”
He laughed louder when I rolled my eyes and said, “Don’t give up your day job. A comedian you’re not.” He continued to laugh as he grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the table with food.
“I like you,” he remarked as he handed me a plate. He stood back and eyed me flirtatiously. “You’re just so...so... damn cute.” He giggled when my face reddened. He placed a few small ham sandwiches on my plate. “Pickles?” he asked as he placed one in his mouth and seductively sucked on it.
“Sure,” I replied as my face reddened again. I wasn’t used to someone being so openly flirtatious. Even though I found his boldness to be uncomfortable, I was still amused that he found me attractive.
After getting a glass of punch, I spotted Jade, Seth and Sydney sitting at a table talking to about six others. One girl was sitting next to Jade, and they seemed engaged in a conversation. She appeared to be tall, perhaps a basketball player. I knew Jade enjoyed sports, so I was hoping that the girl might be potential girlfriend material.
Before we approached the table, Jerry grabbed my arm and stopped me. He looked over at Seth. “I’ve been nominated the designated snoop. There’s about six guys in this room who want to know if your hunky friend is gay.”
I decided to tease him a little. “I can’t tell you that,” I replied. “It would be breaking a trust. You’ll just have to ask him yourself.”
“Bitch,” he spat. “Tell me.”
“Nope,” I replied adamantly.
Jerry looked down at me and grinned. “Then I’ll have to make you tell me.”
I folded my arms and responded, “And how do you plan to do that?”
He grinned wider, “I’ll take you back to my place and have sex with you until you tell me.” My eyes widened and he laughed. “Okay. Maybe not. But please, Dorian, tell me.”
He frowned when I announced, “He’s straight. He and Sydney are here tonight because they want to support me and Jade.”
He looked across the room at the tall guy with the pink stripes in his hair. “You want to go tell Miss Thing over there that? He bet his friend Mark fifty dollars that he’d have your friend in bed before the night was over.”
I laughed and replied, “He just lost his fifty bucks.”
Jerry grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the table where the others were sitting. “Well, I’m not going to be the one to tell him.”
We sat down, and I introduced Jerry to Jade, Seth and Sydney. Jerry held Seth’s hand a little too long when they shook. Seth didn’t seem to mind. I think he was enjoying the attention he was receiving. Jade raised her eyebrow when I introduced Jerry to her. I think she already had us married.
Her friend was Amanda. I was right. She was a basketball player for the university. She was a sophomore, and she came out to her other teammates last year before the season began. She said they accepted her, and she had no problems playing on the team. According to Jerry, she was a really good player, and she had even started a few times as a freshman.
Amanda was pretty. Her blonde hair was short and feathered. She had a beautiful complexion and brown eyes. I knew immediately that she and Jade would hit it off because she seemed extremely intelligent as well as being athletic. Even though they had just met, there seemed to be a connection as if they had been best friends for years. I was glad that Jade had insisted that we attend the meeting. I hoped that she had found her match.
I looked over at Jerry and wondered if he was mine. I was jealous because Jade seemed to have found someone. Sydney and Seth were now an item. I was the only one left alone. I liked Jerry. He was rather handsome and seemed smart. He had a good sense of humor, and he appeared very interested in me. However, since I had never had experience dating boys before, I was apprehensive to just go to bed with the first boy who talked to me. I had dreamed for years of the first time I would lose my virginity, and I wanted to do it right. I didn’t want it to be a quickie with the first guy who showed interest in me. If Jerry was a potential boyfriend, then he would understand if I decided to wait.
I looked toward the front when a guy at the next table started clapping his hands and asked for everyone’s attention. “We’re going to begin the meeting soon. Please clean your tables, and let’s form a circle in the middle of the floor.”
Sydney, Jade and Amanda stood and began clearing away the table. I started to get up and help, but Seth grabbed my arm and announced loudly, “Let the women do it, that’s their job.” We started laughing when Sydney threw a piece of uneaten chocolate cake at him.
We got up and began to form a tight circle. Jerry made sure he sat beside me. Jade and Amanda sat to my right. I leaned over and whispered in her ear, “I think you two make a cute couple.”
She looked quickly over at Amanda and replied, “I do too.”
I took her hand and said, “I’m happy for you.” She smiled and squeezed it tightly.
“Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen.” The guy who seemed to be in charge of the meeting began to speak. “Thank you for coming out tonight for the first meeting of College Pride. It’s a larger group than I originally expected.” I looked around and it appeared that about forty people were present.
“My name is Cameron Dillard,” he continued, “and I will act as temporary chairman until we elect officers.”
“I nominate Cameron to be our chairman.” Everyone started laughing when the tall guy with pink striped hair waved his hand and shouted out.
Cameron laughed and replied, “Thanks, Noah, but I think we can wait until we complete our election process.” We laughed again when Noah blew Cameron a kiss.
“Now, what I’d like everyone to do, so that we can get to know each other better,” suggested Cameron, “is to go around the circle, stand and introduce yourself.” My heart started pounding rapidly because I hated speaking before a group. I hated the idea of everyone’s attention focused on me.
“I’ll start,” said Cameron.” My name is Cameron Dillard, and I am a senior. I am majoring in political science. I’m here tonight because I want to promote diversity among our students and staff.”
He sat and the person to his left stood and introduced herself. The introductions continued around the circle. Jerry introduced himself. “I’m Jerry Cohen. I’m a sophomore majoring in biotechnology.” Everyone applauded when he raised his fist and shouted, “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous!” When he finished, he looked down at me.
My legs trembled as I stood. Sensing my nervousness, Jerry lightly touched my arm. My voice trembled as I said, “I’m Dorian Gale. I’m a freshman. I haven’t decided on a major yet.” I looked down and pointed at Jade. Everyone laughed when I said, “I’m here because she made me come.” Jerry reached for my hand and squeezed it as I sat down.
Jade, Amanda and Sydney introduced themselves. Then it was Seth’s turn. I knew he had a sense of humor, but I didn’t know he could be entertaining. He introduced himself saying, “I’m Seth Gorman. I’m not queer, but I’m here.” Everyone laughed when he quickly added, “But I’m still fabulous, though.” Then he struck a pose while everyone applauded.
The guy with the pink striped hair whistled and shouted, “You go, Girl!”
I was proud of Seth when he continued speaking. “Seriously, though. I was raised to believe that all people should be treated equally. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, what the color of your skin is, or who you decide to love. We are all in this together.” Everyone in the room applauded loudly.
Cameron said, “Thank you, Seth. That’s what College Pride is all about. Bringing people together to share our diversity.” The guy with pink striped hair shouted out again, “You go, Girl!” When Sydney leaned over and kissed Seth, he hollered out, “Don’t go there, Girl!”
After the introductions, Cameron began to talk about some of the projects being planned for the organization. Suddenly, a side door opened. Everyone watched as Dr. Avery walked authoritatively across the room and stood beside Cameron.
“Ladies and Gentleman,” announced Cameron. “I’m proud tonight to introduce the president of the university, Dr. Avery. He’s come here to offer his support.” We applauded as he shook hands with Dr. Avery and then stepped off to the side.
“Good evening, Students,” remarked Avery. “I’m glad to be here tonight.” He scanned the circle of student until he noticed me sitting among them. His eyes narrowed, and then he continued to speak. When he was done, everyone again applauded. As he started to leave, he approached me.
“Dorian,” he ordered. “I think you should come with me.” He stood with a scowl on his face, folded his arms and waited.