She left us with the instruction of deciding who goes first, second, etc and to do simple trust exercises while she got the scripts.
“I'll go first if you want?” one of the girls suggested, I think her name was Janice, the other shrugged to show she didn't mind either - I couldn't recall her name. Derek shrugged too but I could see he wasn't comfortable with the idea.
“I don't mind either,” I put in. Which left us with no one being first, but at least it was established Derek was last.
“Right, me first, you second, you third, you last,” Janice said, moving her finger from person to person. I was second, her friend third and Derek last. We all nodded and agreed with it. The teacher checked the order for every group and handed out the first script. Nothing major, Janice had to pretend to be a mad guy and we had to calm her down. Everything after that went easily. I had to be a upset girl which was actually a good way to vent some of my recent stress. Though I didn't go as far as one guy who managed to pull off fake tears. The other girl had to boast about things and we had to pull her down a peg or two without making her/him? Mad. The teacher surveyed us as we worked and clapped, saying we'd all done a good job. Mrs Roberts double checked who went last and a smile spread over her lips.
“I had a feeling the last one would mostly be guys, and I was right,” She handed out the scripts. They were written with first/second/third/fourth for whichever role. And I felt the floor fall. It was a romantic scene, and the second person had to be the love interest. I felt Derek shuffle uncomfortably next to me.
“What's about to happen doesn't leave this room!” One of the guys from another group shouted and all the guys agreed. At least it seemed they had girls for the other part. How was I supposed to act like I wanted him without showing how much I actually did? Least the script didn't involve a kiss, that would be pushing it way to far. Derek was supposed to be a shy girl being asked out. Right, I wouldn't be thinking how much I'd actually love to drag him out on data at all. Just concentrate on acting. You suck at that I reminded myself. So just be awkward as always and it should be fine. The teacher called for us to start and Derek cleared his throat. The others had to act like they were his friends and encourage him to say yes. Or her since he was being a girl. Why did I have a feeling I'd have dreams about this for a while...
“Hi,” I said, starting off the script. They all looked up as I interrupted the babble they'd made up on the spot. Derek didn't not look comfortable, neither did I to be honest.
“Hi,” he replied, his attempt to impersonate a girls voice was hard not to laugh at.
“What are you doing this Friday?” I asked, cringing inwardly because he really hated this situation. And I know it wasn't aimed at me, but I could still feel the emotion burn me. He was actually glaring at the teacher behind me. She seemed to be watching our group closely. Guess the other guys had all taken the third and fourth spot, not the second.
“Studying-” On cue the others interrupted him, took him slightly away to mutter urges and yell how I'm asking him out and he should say yes. Or her. I kept forgetting he was acting like the other sex. When they brought him back towards me he shuffled from foot to foot.
“I'd love to,” he said, I'm pretty certain it was meant to be happier than that in the script but we were all just relieved the damn thing was over. A small part of me wished I'd been seriously asking him out and that that had been his answer. Thankfully the bell went and I could escape that room as fast as possible. I felt Kim and Lily following. I saw Derek wave a bye and head to the dining hall.
“Let's eat outside?” I suggested, since the weather was still nice and the girls agreed. They seemed to be getting on like fire and oxygen. I could see the slight red hint on Kim's cheek. I hoped if anything happened, Lily would have the decency to let her down nicely. I got the vibe she would.
The moment we'd settled down Lily turned her charcoal grey eyes on me.
“You like Derek, don't you?” I almost choked on my food and had to splutter for a few seconds with my drink before I could look at her. I could feel my eyes had watered a bit from the whole thing and wiped at them.
“I don't know what your talking about,” I finally said, my expression guarded and she laughed.
“Calm down, I won't go about telling people. It's not incredibly obvious or anything. But I have two cousins who are gay so I can recognise the subtle signs quite well,” she explained.
“Okay, fine. Yes,” I replied, not really meeting her eyes and staring at the middle distance. Feeling my cheeks burn.
“How long?” She asked, thankfully Kim stepped in for me.
“Three years and a bit now, right?” I nodded. Honestly I'd been developing feeling even before then, I just didn't figure out what they were until three years ago. It was a pretty big thing to realise. It was when I woke up from one particularly vivid dream that it all finally clicked. I was gay, and I wanted Derek.
“Wow, how have you managed to hold back?” Lily asked, her eyes wide with shock. I shrugged, giving a non-answer, 'cause I honestly didn't know how I had. But it was getting harder. I found myself wanting to kiss him more often when he was talking. The urge to interrupt him that way kept coming and I always had to make a quick excuse and get as far from him as I could.
“Have you ever considered going out and maybe meeting others like you? I mean maybe Derek will realise something, but maybe he won't. Rather than putting yourself through that find someone else?” Lily suggested. She rummaged in her bag for a while before handing me a small card. It was to go to a club on Wednesday nights. A gay/bi/lesbian society type thing. Where people could be open with each other. This wasn't the first time I had come across something like this, but I was always scared someone from school would see me going or leaving and rumours would spread.
“I'm going to go tomorrow with Lily, you should join us,” Kim said with a small smile. I didn't give them an answer, just put the card in my jeans pocket. Then headed to my next class, history. Which thankfully passed by quickly. Because being stuck a row behind Amber and Derek while they were making cute sounds and exchanging sweet words was near impossible to bear.
Then it was my last class and I failed to suppress a groan as Kim and Lily took either side of me at my locker.
“Is it that bad? Generally religions open about this stuff, hence they teach it alongside philosophy, right?” Lily asked, Kim let out a sigh to agree with me.
“Yeah, except Amber's there” She said, by this point we all seemed to be pretty joined by our dislike of Amber Ivan. We walked down the corridor and entered the stuffy classroom. Mr Augustine was setting up the projector and laptop. And announced as we walked in that we were going to be doing a debate today. He was the only teacher who didn't bother with seating plans so when he split the class in the middle for the for and against group me, Kim and Lily shuffled so we were on the same team. James took the seat in front of me and Kim, next to Lily. Derek moved to sit behind us but Amber grabbed him, pulling him over to where she and her entourage were sitting on the opposite side of the room.
“Right, I'll let you decide amongst yourselves and vote which subject you want to debate-” Before Mr Augustine could finish his sentence Amber raised her perfectly manicured hand, painted a pale pink shade to match her lip gloss. He hesitated before calling her name.
“Let's debate weather homosexuality is wrong or not?” she suggested. I felt my nails dig into the wood of the table. Which wasn't smart because I got a splinter. I silently cursed as I pulled it out, wiping the blood that welled up on my shirt and leaving it there to heal quickly. Kim didn't look very happy either. Lily made a horrified “o”, finally understanding just how bad Amber could be.
“I'm not sure that's a good idea-” Mr Augustine began but Amber interrupted him again.
“Vote please,” She said. Of course all her girls and the jocks raised their hands. Derek looked unsure of himself but not wanting to be the odd one out, he raised his hand. And I suddenly wanted to show that bitch up. So I raised my hand. Kim and Lily joined me immediately. Amber directed a smirk our way as Mr Augustine shifted around uncomfortably.
“Well, it wasn't one of the choices I was about to suggest, but if your all so enthusiastic about it...I'll give you twenty minutes to come up with points and counters and such,” He said. I'd never written a list of things out so quickly in my life. Or probably used my brain as much.