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 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’re 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’d 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 said 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’d 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

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
home room.

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

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 smiling. 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

“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’d 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 student’s
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 sat forward, hoping he’d 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 said. “Mr. Calloway has given me detention for three

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’d talked to Mr. Calloway about me receiving tutoring instead of detention. If I
didn’t show, then he’d 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

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 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’d 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 cock. 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 said 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 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.

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 and 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.

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 all 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
and helping the girl. 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

“How did you know?”

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

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 had gone about a block when he asked me what happened in Mr. Dewberry’s
room. “He tried to get me to have sex,” I said 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’d just been through, I know I
certainly needed it.

I pulled away and grabbed his hand. “Come on.” I said as I led him away. “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 left 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 giggled.  
“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 did 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’d been doing, so
I guess it didn’t sound all that bad. “So, what happened?”

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

“That doesn’t seem so bad,” said 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

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 cam 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

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

“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

“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’d 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 fell 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.

Chapter 19                                 Return to TMJ