It's Not Easy Being a Tree

Chapter 18

Jon was already out of bed when I awoke. I took a quick shower, dressed and then sat on the edge of my bed before heading downstairs. I knew today was going to be a big day. Things couldn’t go on much longer without something happening. Enough had already occurred, but it was probably just the tip of the iceberg, as I’ve heard my mother say when things could get worse.

I lay awake most of the night deciding what to do. There seemed to be no way out of this easily, but I knew I had to talk to Mr. Dewberry. He had to convince Brandon to stop sending pictures to my brother. I didn’t know if he was aware that he was doing it, or if he was instructing him to. I hoped Brandon was doing it without his knowledge.

When I went downstairs to the kitchen, everyone but Dad was at the table. Since he leaves before we get up, we usually only see him on the weekends or when he’s taken a day off. Glenn and Glenda were looking over at Jon and giggling.

There was a massive bruise around his eye. The swelling had subsided, but it was obvious that someone had hit him in his face. He looked up and glared at me when I sat down across from him.

My mother came up behind me and placed a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk in front of me. She gently patted me on my shoulder. “You must be more careful, Dear, when you are horse playing with your brother.” I heard Glenn and Glenda giggle as I quickly looked over at Jon.

I couldn’t believe he had lied about what had happened. And it was obvious by Mom’s cheerful attitude, he hadn’t told her that I was gay. I quickly glanced back at him before responding, “Okay, Mom.” He didn’t even lift his head as he continued to eat.

He didn’t say anything when he later got up and grabbed his gym bag. I trailed behind him, unsure that he even wanted me to ride with him. He didn’t say anything as I got in. He started his car and pulled away. I also didn’t know if he was going to pick Connor and Ross up. After last night, I was afraid he would still be mad at Connor for hitting him. I was relieved when he headed in the direction of their house.

It was an agonizing silence as we drove down the side roads. I looked over at Jon a few times, but he peered straight ahead. For one thing, I wasn’t sure if he could even see me since it was his right eye that was partly swollen shut.

I glanced over at him and muttered softly, “Sorry.” His body stiffened slightly when I interrupted the silence in the car. He peered ahead and didn’t respond.

“I said I’m sorry,” I repeated a little louder. “I didn’t mean for you to get hurt.”

He hesitated a minute before turning his head so that he could see me with his left eye. “Just shut up, all right?” His words were cold and stinging. “I ain’t got nothing to say to you.” He turned his head and we drove in silence the rest of the way.

Connor and Ross were waiting in their driveway when we pulled up. Ross glanced quickly at Jon as he got in. He then looked at me and made a painful face. Connor got in the front seat, but he and Jon didn’t speak. It was a silent ride to school.

Ross got out with me when we stopped in front of the building. “That was some shiner Connor gave Jon,” Ross hissed as we turned toward the building.

“I didn’t know if he was going to let me ride with him this morning,” I said, “or if he was even going to pick you guys up.”

Ross threw his arm over my shoulder as we headed into the building. “He’ll get over it. Connor talked to him.”

I stopped and faced him. “He knows I’m gay now,” I responded sadly. “He’s never going to get over that.”

Ross squeezed my shoulder. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but I will.” He stopped and turned toward me. “You know that you and Jon haven’t been the closest of brothers.” I nodded my head. “This may hurt, but I don’t think he cares one way or the other that you’re gay.”

The words did hurt, though. I knew Jon and I didn’t have the best brotherly relationship, but I always thought he cared for me. I just always overlooked his taunts and rude comments as just being Jon. But now I knew what I had always suspected, he didn’t really like me. I guess being brothers doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll be close. I suppose Jon never hated me, he just never liked me.

Sensing my sorrow, Ross put his arm back around my shoulder. “Hey, it doesn’t matter. You still have me and Connor. You can be our little brother.”

I felt like crying. If we hadn’t been in a school hallway where students were beginning to arrive for school, I probably would have. We turned and continued walking down the hall. “Brothers have to protect brothers,” he said as he squeezed my shoulder tighter. “That’s why Connor and I are going to deal with that fucking Brandon Metzger today.”

I stopped and turned quickly toward Ross. “No!” I looked pleadingly at him. “You can’t do that.”

“Too late,” he replied. “Connor, Jon and I have already made plans to meet him after his third period. He’s in the room next to mine. After today, you won’t have to worry about him.”

“You can’t do this!” Panic was overcoming me. If they confronted Brandon, then he would send out my picture to the entire student body. It suddenly occurred to me that he had mentioned my brother being involved. “Jon?”

“Yeah,” he replied angrily. “He’s mad as hell at Metzger sending him those pictures. He may not like what you’re doing, but he’s really pissed because he sent those pictures to him.”

“You’ve got to stop him,” I pleaded.

“I can’t,” he replied. “Him and Connor already decided last night they were going to do this. A friend gave Connor Brandon’s email address, so he wrote him last night and told him they were going to kick his sorry ass today.”

“Shit,” I muttered. Just then the bell rang. Ross said goodbye and headed to his homeroom.

Jeff was waiting outside Mrs. Chapman’s room when I arrived. “How’s it going?” I shook my head and entered the room. Since other students were coming in, it wasn’t safe to talk. All during class, he kept looking worriedly over at me.

As soon as the bell rang, he stood and walked with me outside into the hall. “What’s wrong?” he asked as we continued down the hall to our second period.

“Trouble,” I replied. I then told him about my brother, Connor and Ross meeting Brandon after third period.

“He’s not in school,” Jeff informed me.


“He’s not in school,” he repeated. “He’s in my homeroom, and he’s not here today.” I let out a sigh. Jon’s warning probably scared him, so he decided to stay home.

At lunch, I tried to listen to students’ conversations as I went through the cafeteria line. I didn’t hear anyone talking about a fight. Since I only shared one class with Brandon, I wasn’t sure if he showed up late to school. I felt a little better knowing that there had been no trouble.

Lucas joined us at lunch. Again, he pulled up a chair and sat down beside me. Kate kept looking over at us and smiled. I could tell by her grin she already had us married. However, it was just last week that she had me and Jeff spending the rest of our lives together.

Anna was worried about a sixth period history test, so Lucas moved his chair next to her and helped her study. I don’t know why, but it bothered me to see them together. Anna is shy and quiet like him. Sitting together, they seemed to fit. I thought that it probably wouldn’t be too long before they started dating.

When the bell rang, Kate wrapped her arm around mine as we walked to our fourth period class. “Someone’s jealous,” she giggled.

I scowled at her. I knew what she was going to say. Kate could read me like a book, and right now she knew I was upset. “Don’t you have a rock to crawl back under?” I removed her hand from my arm, but she quickly wrapped it back around mine.

“Oh, come on, Woody,” she giggled. “You know you like him.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m a friendly person, I like everyone.”

“Yeah, but some more than others,” she laughed as we approached her class. I took off running when a teacher hollered out that the bell was getting ready to ring.

I started to get nervous about ten minutes before fourth period ended. In a few minutes, the bell would ring, and I would have to go to Mr. Dewberry’s class. I considered cutting it again, but I was too afraid of Mr. Calloway. If he caught me leaving the building, he would probably suspend me. However, a five-day suspension might be a temporary answer to my problems. But then again, facing my father after he found out didn’t seem like it would be worth it. He was already mad at me. It’s hard to say what he might do if I got suspended from school.

I waited until the last minute to enter Mr. Dewberry’s class. I hurried back to my seat without even looking at him. I took notes while he lectured at the front of the room. After twenty minutes, he gave us an assignment out of the book. I immediately opened my book and started on it.

I kept glancing at him as he walked around the room answering students’ questions. He eventually made his way over to me. He put his hands on my shoulders as he looked down to see what I was doing.

“Are you having any trouble with the assignment, Woody?” I quickly glanced at the students around me to see if they noticed him gently massaging my shoulders.

“No, Sir,” I replied as I leaned forward, hoping he would remove his hands. He didn’t.

“We’ll work on any problems you have when you come for tutoring after school,” he said as he continued to rub my shoulders.

“I can’t, Mr. Dewberry,” I replied. “Mr. Calloway has given me detention for three days.”

He pressed his hands firmly on my shoulders. “I’ve talked to Mr. Calloway. He’s going to waive the detention as long as you show up for tutoring.”

“Fuck!” I thought to myself. Mr. Dewberry had already plotted how to get me alone. Not only had he convinced my parents that I needed ‘special tutoring,’ but he had talked to Mr. Calloway about me receiving tutoring instead of detention. If I didn’t show, then he would surely suspend me.

He gripped my shoulders tightly. “I’ll see you right after sixth period.” I didn’t even have to turn and look at him to know that he had a smirk on his face. He had won, and he knew it. I had no choice but to be left alone with him.

I almost ran from his room when the bell rang. I didn’t want him to stop me and remind me again that I had ‘tutoring.’ When I entered my sixth period class, I looked around for Brandon, but he wasn’t there. I guess Jeff was right when he said he hadn’t come to school.

I kept watching the clock. Usually, it seems like an hour class lasts half a day. Today, though, the minute hand seemed to fly. By the time class ended, I was frantic. I couldn’t avoid going to Mr. Dewberry’s room. Too many people knew I had to be there- Dad, Mom and Mr. Calloway. None of them were aware, though, that the ‘special tutoring’ I was to receive was my mouth around Mr. Dewberry’s cock.

When the bell rang, I decided I was going straight to his class without even stopping by my locker. I was afraid Kate and Jeff would be there. I was already emotionally charged. Seeing them would probably make me break down. I had decided I was going to try and talk to Mr. Dewberry one more time to try and convince him that what he wanted to do was wrong- and dangerous.

He was standing outside his door, looking down the hall. It was apparent he was waiting for me to arrive. He smiled broadly when I approached with my book bag over my shoulder. Before I got to his door, I removed it and placed it in front of me. At least if he looked down, he would only see a green bag.

“Are you ready?” he sang out as I walked up to him. I brushed past him and stopped just inside the door. When he entered and closed it, I asked him, “Would you leave the door open, please?”

He gave me a smirk and replied, “I don’t think so.” When he walked past me to his desk, he reached under my book bag and rubbed his hand roughly across my crotch. I jumped and took a step back.

“Relax.” He smiled as he sat on the edge of his desk. He started rubbing his crotch. I tried to look into his face, avoiding looking down.

“We need to talk, Mr. Dewberry.” I pleaded. “I don’t want to do this.”

He unzipped his pants and snaked his cock out. “But you told me last week you wanted to,” he replied seductively as he stroked himself.

“I..I..didn’t mean it.” I stammered. “I was just having fun.”

He stood and approached me, still stroking his erect cock. “We can still have fun.” I took a step back, but he continued to approach. When I reached for the door handle, he grabbed my hand and pulled me away.

He stepped up to me and said menacingly, “Look, Woody. Or should I call you Elmer Fudd?” He grabbed my hand and placed it around on his cock. “You’re going to do this.”

“I can’t!” Tears started to well up in my eyes. “This is wrong!”

He grabbed the back of my head and pulled it toward his cock. “Yes, you can.” His grip was tight as I tried to pull away. “Suck it, Woody,” he ordered. When I resisted, he grabbed my shoulders and forced me to my knees. I was too small to fight back. Mr. Dewberry was much larger than me. If I continued to resist, I was afraid he was going to hurt me.

Tears were flowing down my face, and I could hardly see his cock as he brought it nearer my face. “Open your mouth, Woody,” he ordered as he pressed it against my sealed lips. I was getting ready to do as he instructed when there was a loud banging on the door.

“What the fuck?” Mr. Dewberry hissed as he quickly pulled up his pants and tucked his erect cock inside. He looked at me and pointed to a chair. “Go sit over there. Quick!”

I let out a silent prayer to the person who was pounding on the door. It wasn’t a rapping, but a pounding, as if someone were in distress. After looking around to make sure I was seated in a desk, Mr. Dewberry walked over and opened the door.

I was surprised to see Lucas standing in the doorway. He anxiously looked over at me as he entered the class. He walked over to Mr. Dewberry’s desk, opened his book bag and pulled out a chemistry book.

“What are you doing here, Lucas?” Mr. Dewberry asked angrily.

Lucas looked nervously at me. “I was having a problem with a chemistry question and I stopped by to see if you could help me.” His voice quivered as he stood before a very angry Mr. Dewberry.

“I don’t have time right now,” Mr. Dewberry replied angrily. “Can’t you see I’m tutoring someone?”

Lucas, although very nervous, seemed like he wasn’t about to be dissuaded. “Good,” he replied as he walked over and sat down beside me. “I’m sure Woody won’t mind.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I looked over in disbelief at Lucas. It was as if he had come to rescue me. His voice was quivering, and his hands were shaking as he sat down, but he seemed determined not to let me be alone with Mr. Dewberry.

Mr. Dewberry looked angry as he huffed, “Very well. Let’s make this quick.” Lucas nervously opened his book and asked him to help him with a chemical equation. One problem led to another. Mr. Dewberry seemed to become more upset as the minutes on the clock ticked away.

We looked quickly at the door when a girl entered. “Oh, good!” she exclaimed. “I’m glad you’re still here Mr. Dewberry. I’m having a trouble with a problem.” She sat at a desk opposite us, opened her book and pointed to a problem.

Mr. Dewberry looked angrily down at Lucas and me before stepping over to her. Lucas glanced at me and nodded.

“We’re going, Mr. Dewberry.” He stood and put his book in his bag. “Thanks for helping us.” I got up and trailed behind him. I was afraid to look back to see the look on Mr. Dewberry’s face.

We were half way down the hall when I saw a boy’s restroom on the left. I quickly went in and collapsed against a wall. I covered my face with my hands and trembled. “Oh, God!” I shouted. Lucas sat down beside me.

“Did he hurt you?” I shook my head as I looked into this concerned face.

After several minutes, I sat back up. “Thanks,” I mumbled. He gave me a worried smile. “How did you know?”

“I saw you go into the room and then he closed the door.” He looked angry when he continued, “It’s not safe for a boy to be alone with Mr. Dewberry. I just knew.”

I reached out and gave him a quick hug. “I’m glad you stopped him.” He smiled and nodded his head.

“We’d better get out of here.” He stood and extended his hand to me. When I got to my feet, I hugged him again.

“Thanks,” I mumbled as I squeezed him tightly. Lucas had saved me from Mr. Dewberry’s attack. I didn’t understand how it happened, but I was glad he did.

When we got out onto the sidewalk, Lucas stopped. “We need to talk.”

I looked at my watch. Since it was getting late, I knew I had to get home. “I can’t.” I replied. “ I’m on punishment. If I’m not home on time, my dad will be mad.”

“Can I go home with you then?” He looked pleadingly at me. “I think it’s important we talk about this.” He looked at me with a sense of urgency. I began to wonder just how much he knew about Mr. Dewberry.

“Okay,” I said as we started to walk toward my house.

We’d gone about a block when he asked me what had happened in Mr. Dewberry’s room. “He tried to get me to have sex,” I replied embarrassedly.

“That’s what I thought,” mumbled Lucas. He stopped and turned to me. “How did he know, though?”

“What do you mean?”

Lucas looked nervous. He looked down at the ground as he spoke. “He doesn’t prey on boys unless…unless he’s sure.” He looked up into my eyes. “Unless he’s sure they’re gay.”

I didn’t know what to say. As I looked into his face, I could tell he knew I was gay. At that moment, I realized he was too. I also sensed that Mr. Dewberry had sexually attacked him. I suddenly remembered the incident at church on the morning Lucas sang so beautifully. Mr. Dewberry had come out of the restroom where he was. Lucas had seemed nervous and afraid when I entered.

“Has he messed with you, too?” Lucas dropped his head and seemed to be deciding if he wanted to expose a deep, dark secret. Finally, he looked up with tears in his eyes and nodded.

I reached out and hugged him. He tentatively brought his arms up and returned my embrace. I know anyone looking out their window would be wondering why two teenage boys were holding each other on the sidewalk, but at the moment I didn’t care. We both needed to be held. After what I had just been through, I know I certainly needed it.

I pulled away and grabbed his hand. “Come on. Let’s go back to my room and talk.” He let go of my hand and we headed back to my house.

Mom was in the kitchen when we entered. When she saw Lucas, she started smiling. “Well, hello, Dear.”

He looked down at the floor and timidly responded, “Hello, Mrs. Fields.”

She then looked at me. “Woody, you’re on punishment. I’m not sure your father will be happy with you having company.”

“Mom,” I responded pleadingly. “This is really important. We’re just going up to my room and talk. Okay?”

She looked at Lucas and then me. “Well, okay,” she replied. “But no video games.”

“Okay,” I said as I hurried from the kitchen before she had a chance to change her mind. Lucas followed behind me as we went up the stairs.

When we entered my room, he looked around. He wrinkled his nose and giggle said, “No offense, but it smells in here.”

I pointed to several pairs of gym shoes lying next to Jon’s bed. “It’s not me,” I laughed. “Blame my brother, Jon.”

I walked over to my bed and sat down. Lucas hesitated a minute before he joined me. He gave me a worried look and then asked, “So what happened in Mr. Dewberry’s room.”

“I’m not sure I can tell you,” I responded. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“Did he try to force you to have sex?” I nodded my head.

“Did he you, too?” I stared into Lucas’s blue eyes as he timidly nodded his head.

I let out a deep sigh. Since Lucas knew of Mr. Dewberry’s perverted behavior, I had to take a chance and trust him. If he was going through something similar to me, then perhaps we could figure out a way to end it.

“I was in a chat room,” I said. “There were a lot of men in it. At the time I didn’t know Mr. Dewberry was one of them.”

He gave me a puzzled look. I was trying hard not to reveal what I had been doing, so I guess it didn’t sound all that bad. He asked, “So, what happened?”

“Last week I accidentally showed my face,” I explained. “He knew it was me.”

“That doesn’t seem so bad,” responded Lucas. “You were chatting, and he saw your face?”

My face started to redden. “It was a gay chat room, and we were kind of doing things.”

He gave me a puzzled look. “Doing things?”

For Lucas to be so smart, he sure was playing dumb. I was becoming increasingly embarrassed trying to explain what had happened. Then it occurred to me, that maybe he didn’t know about chat rooms. After all, I hadn’t a month ago.

“Okay.” I turned and faced him. “It was a gay chat room.” He nodded his head. “Guys had cameras and they do certain things.”

“Certain things?”

I again sighed deeply. “They jerk off and let others watch them.”

His eyes widened. “Oh!” he exclaimed.

“So, there was this guy I wanted to watch, and I joined the site,” I explained. “I watched him jacking off, and one day he wanted me to get a webcam so he could watch me.”

“Oh,” Lucas said again as his face reddened.

“I got a cam and started jacking off for him. Mr. Dewberry was in the room and he watched me.” Lucas’s eyes widened.

“You let Mr. Dewberry watch you?” he asked unbelievingly.

“I didn’t know it was him,” I explained. “Then the other day I accidentally moved the camera and it showed my face. He saw me.”

“So now he wants you to have sex with him?” I nodded my head.

“He also has pictures,” I informed him. “He’s going to have another student send them out to other students if I don’t do what he says. He’s already sent them to my brother.”

The look on his face became filled with rage. “He’s doing the same thing to me.”

“What!” I shrieked. I couldn’t imagine Lucas being mixed up in something like I had done.

“You know how our church has camp each summer?” I nodded my head. “The first year Dad became pastor, I went on the first outing. I was twelve then. Mr. Dewberry was my cottage counselor. One day he caught me and another boy experimenting with each other.” His face started to redden.


“Yeah,” he said embarrassedly. “We were behind the cottage and I was sucking him.”

“Oh,” I replied. “What did Mr. Dewberry do?”

“He took us to his room and threatened us. He told us if we didn’t do what he wanted, then he would tell our parents what he caught us doing.” Tears welled up in his blue eyes. “He made us lie on the bed and suck each other. He took pictures of us doing it.”

“Fucker,” I hissed. “So, he’s been forcing you to have sex with him or he’ll show the pictures to your dad.” Tears streamed down Lucas’s face as he nodded his head. I reached out and hugged him tightly. He wrapped his arms around my waist and cried into my shoulder.

“I don’t know what to do,” he cried.

“I don’t either,” I admitted. “I don’t know how to get him to stop.” I tried to pull away, but Lucas clutched me tighter. I rested my head on his shoulder and inhaled. I could smell the lemon shampoo in his hair.

We jumped apart when the door suddenly opened. Ross rushed in. He was breathing heavily, and he looked angry as he walked over to us.

“Look!” He thrust his phone into my face.