Matt Anderson, having just moved from Ireland no more than 3 days prior, stood idly in the office of his new school, way too early and waiting for a boy named Connor Temple to show him around. His father had taken care of all necessary paperwork and buying of supplies ahead of time just so he could come in this very Monday morning. It had to be done, his son had to be through that door and sitting in class as soon as possible, whether he wanted to be or not. Matt really didn’t care either way and he was quite accustomed to his father’s big wishes of success for him. It’d come as no big surprise that he’d enrolled him before he even had a chance to unpack.
He scanned his schedule, not unhappy with where he was placed, but wishing he’d had more say in where he went. A real shame it was the middle of the school year and most classes he’d like were filled. He puffed up his cheeks and blew the air out quickly knowing there was nothing he could do now. There was always next year. Supposedly.
Finally he heard somebody ask for him at the front desk - that was his cue. He straightened up and offered his hand to the boy dubbed Connor.
"Hi. I’m Matt." Though Connor already knew that, what else was there to say? "Thanks for showing me around…?" he added, tilting his head slightly, as though in question if that were the right thing to say just yet. He wasn’t so good at the socializing aspect of school.
Connor Temple was the go-to kid for tours. He was friendly, tended to stay out of trouble, and always did exactly what he was told. Kids like Danny and Abby? Not so much…and Bryan was still too new. So he happily took on the role as he always has.
That was the name he had the remember. As he walked down the hall, Connor wondered what the boy would be like. Jock? Nerd? Punk, goth, or scene? A band member?
When he arrived at the office and asked for him, he was greeted by a boy with blonde hair and a thick Irish accent. He seemed nice, but it took a bit to process the words from his mouth.
"Oh hey, it’s no problem," Connor smiled, shaking hands. "Would you mind showing me your schedule?"
"I really like your attitude. Your ambition and your drive to make it; that’s what’s gonna help you. As long as you keep both of them, you’ll be set. I’m gonna be honest with you; bills aren’t fun but like everything else, they’re a part of life. Now about the whole comic book and video games, you just have to find a balance between work and the stuff you like to do when you’re off work. The more your job pays, the more you get to spend on the stuff you like. Basically, the way I see it, growing up can either suck or it can be even better than your teen years. Again, it’s all up to you."
"Well, I’ve got to show a bunch of bullies that they were wrong about me. But this is all after I go to university, I guess, so I should probably be worrying more about that, huh? I think I’m going to live in a dorm, so that doesn’t sound like the absolute worst—so long as I’m with my two geeky friends, huh? Video games and comic books all night."
"Just have an irrational fear of failing. And also probably losing the people I care about—I mean…going into the military is dangerous, but there’s definitely no talking him out of it."
"You shouldn’t really think about the future… I mean, I don’t r-really want anything to change, either. When you think about how nothing’s going to be the s-same, and we’re a-all going to go our separate ways—It’s hard to face it. But at the same time, it’s nice to wonder what’s going to happen, too."
"Maybe it’s just easier to think about w-what everyone’s going to have, i-instead of what we’re all going to lose."
"I have to think about the future. If I don’t, how will I know what I have to and want to do? I just don’t want to lose all my friends. That happens when you’re an adult because everyone’s off doing their own thing and that’s dumb."
"But I have a friend going into the military, and one going to become a police. I have a friend that could very likely end up in jail if she doesn’t get to university and know she can succeed—that terrifies me."
"First of all, I seriously wanna congratulate you on having your shit together and knowing what you wanna do this young. But to answer your question…yes and no. Yes because if you’re serious about something, you’re willing to work, and you really want it, you’re willing to sacrifice whatever. No because sometimes chingadera doesn’t work out and you’re forced to face reality.”
"It’s something I pride myself, yeah. I’ve had this set plan since I was ten and if I fail—well, that’s just not acceptable. I will make it in the science field, no doubts about it. But being an adult, I think, means a lot less video games and comic books. Also probably me paying everything on my own, which doesn’t sound very fun."
"I just thought about the future and I usually do—‘cause I know I’m going to be a huge scientist that saves the world…but then I thought about how much I’ll miss everything the way it is with my mates and all. I don’t want that to change."
"Is being an adult all that fun anyways?"
That was probably about the closest thing Becker was ever going to get to a big, game-on pep talk from Connor, and it was about the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. Yet, comforting. It’s not everyday you’re compared to Superman after all. And maybe the kind of haters Connor was thinking about, he could manage. But when it came to his own family, it was harder to think that he’d be able to kick their arses anywhere. He couldn’t load all that onto Connor too though, not now. It was better that they ended this conversation now; now that he had most of it unloaded from his chest, now that at least somebody knew half of what was bothering him. He flashed a half hearted smile to Connor’s attempt and nodded his head, “Yeah, right…fuck them…thanks, mate.” But he knows as well as Connor it wasn’t enough to actually convince him to tell Danny or anybody else any time soon. “I’ll…I don’t know…get around to it…I s’pose I have no choice really…Danny won’t stop hitting on me, he might get desperate soon.”
"Danny’s always desperate. That’s his secret," Connor gave a kind of side smile and nodded his head. He’d done good, he thought, really helped out a mate and was happy that Bryan had chosen to tell him out of everyone. Well—he supposed he wouldn’t tell Abby or Danny first either. Not that they weren’t understanding, but they were a little bit…less comforting most of the time.
"So you wanna—I don’t know? Play some video games? I got a new one from Tom!"
He nodded, acknowledging the fact that Connor wasn’t asking for a label and letting the fact he maybe didn’t need one sink in. Then his face cracked into a smile again. ”It’s Danny Quinn we’re talking about; it’s prolly the latter.”
But the prospect of actually sharing his feelings with the very boy who’d just flipped his entire head around was another thing. Was he really prepared to admit these feelings to anybody else? Connor was always going to be accepting, that’s why he chose him first. If he told Danny, he’d have to be prepared to tell everybody or otherwise he’d never be able to commit without constant worry. He’d have to tell his parents, and that was his biggest concern. He could only imagine the new slew of words his father could use as ammo if he was against this decision. And telling his mother, despite her seemingly unwavering love of her baby boy, was still a huge step to take for it’s own reasons. But on top of all that, Becker knew himself too well, and he knew if there was anything he feared most, it was getting too close. When you grow up being constantly ripped away from any and all potential friendships to move elsewhere, it makes you weary to get too close. If that wasn’t enough to worry about, there was also the fact that every year he got closer to enrolling into the military himself, and he knew exactly how dangerous that was. Knowing all this, it was a miracle to him that he was as close to Connor as he was, that he’d even been willing to let Danny in this much, and that he’d even attempted getting close to Abby. Was it really worth it to get any closer, especially to Danny?
"I don’t know…"
He couldn’t say he didn’t blame him. I mean, here Connor was refusing to tell Abby he loved her, even though he knew his mum and nan would accept, even though it was a Hollywood love story between a straight white boy and a straight white girl with added angst. He didn’t know when Danny ‘came out’, but he knew that it was before Connor knew him so he didn’t know if it was hard for Danny or if he knew his parents would just automatically accept him and if the first guy he liked would—
"Can’t actually blame you. Telling someone you like them is rough…I don’t know how it feels to be afraid of being accepted, in that sort of way anyway, but I imagine it must be hard. I mean…just know that if anyone gives you a hard time, fuck them, you know? You’re the closest thing to Superman I’ve ever seen and you could probably kick their arses to America. Maybe the south where they’d fit in with their old style thinking, you know? I don’t know—I’m kind of rambling here.”
"It’s best if you don’t try to figure it out."
"I’ve been doing a bit of that myself, and it only brings trouble." That’s not exactly true, but it’s best that this kid doesn’t know the truth. If he does, he’s going to want to explore it - or worse, go through.
And that’s not happening.
His mind bumps back on the beginning of that sentence -
"Hold on. Did you just call me creepy?"
"What kind of scientist doesn’t explore? I mean, come on, mate! It’s the basic principle! Even if it brings trouble—you’ve got to understand it, how else will we progress?"
Connor rolls his eyes. Is this man literally oblivious? “Let’s start with the basics. I’m like a sixteen year old boy. You’re like I don’t know—30, 40? I only know your first name, you’re protective over me, and it’s dark. It doesn’t look good, man…but really, just know that there’s a cop across the street and a military man down the street.”
how do i have 72 followers on this account?
i literally don’t come on for like 5 billion years.
It was a few moments before Becker said anything. First he had to subside his laughter from Connor’s comment, but more importantly, he hadn’t put much thought into a specific label for himself as he’d never considered it before. Gay would be the obvious conclusion, but finally he shook his head. “I’ve always had a thing for girls, still do. If you ask my mum she’ll tell you all about 8 year old me doting after a military campus girl, picking her clovers and dandelions like a pathetic little sap. And 12 year old me fell hard for a girl in an independent school.” There was another brief silence, then he gave a shrug. “If I’m honest though…some boys on camp were obviously going to look hot in a uniform one day.” A smirk pulled at the corners of his lips before he started blushing again. “I just…I never fancied any of them…so I just…thought nothing of it, y’know?” He changed his focus from Connor to his water bottle; it was as if it were suddenly the most vastly interesting water bottle he’d ever seen. Or maybe he just didn’t want to look at Connor as he fully admitted that for some stupid reason Danny Quinn, of all boys, actually meant something to him. God emotions were stupid. “So…I guess that makes Danny a first.”
"You don’t need to label yourself. I know Danny personally just shouts ‘gray’ whenever some asks. He loves girls and he loves guys and I mean—he loves everything. He’s got a huge heart…that or he’s horny all the time,”
Connor nodded his head. Danny wasn’t a bad start. Becker could’ve gone for a straight boy—that would be horrible, he imagined. In that situation, there was no way of winning. “Maybe you should tell him. I’m sure he’d like that,”