There was a light drizzle outside and the sun was shining weakly through the clouds. Derek was sitting on the roundabout, arms wrapped round his knees. I considered sitting next to him before realising he might take that the wrong way. I settled on the grass nearby, not caring that it was wet.
“Sorry,” Derek said. The muscles of his arms tense. I had the feeling he was hanging on for dear life.
“It's okay,” I said, because I didn't want him to feel bad about one shove.
“Why didn't you ever tell me?” he asked, his eyes wide, begging for me to give him a simple answer.
“Because I was scared of how you'd react, because I was scared of how others would judge me, there's a long list Derek,” I said with a sigh.
“I would've preferred finding out from you than Amber of all people,” He said, practically snarling Amber's name. I considered pointing out that she'd never actually told him, but he seemed pretty set on hating her guts. Once upon a time that was all I wanted him to do. Things were getting more and more screwed up.
“Well, it doesn't really matter anymore. I'm with Zack so you don't need to worry,” I said.
“Zack,” Derek repeated his name and his hands clasped and unclasped from each other as he mulled over whatever his next thought was.
“I know you're not fond of him, but this is my choice. Can you respect that at least?” I asked, he opened his mouth with what looked like a yes on his lips then changed his mind.
“No,” he whispered, he continued to fidget and I waited because I knew he had more to say. Not that I was going to let any of it change my mind.
“No, I can't. Because you liked me first,” He finished.
“What?” I blurted, because I was trying to comprehend what he was saying. He chewed on his lower lips.
“I just...ever since Amber said it, my mind has been...confused. And I don't know...I need your help,” Derek finally stumbled to the end of his sentence and gave a half hearted shrug.
“You mean, you think your gay?” I asked, wanting to confirm it before I said anything. Derek flinched at the word but nodded. I shifted uncomfortably. A week ago I would've been jumping with joy if I'd heard those words. Now they were just mixing up my mind and emotions and I really didn't want the complication.
“I'm with Zack, Derek. I'm sorry but your going to have to figure this out on your own,” I said. I felt bad, but then I remember I'd never had anyone around.
“If you need to talk to someone, I'm here. But only as a friend.” Derek's muscles clenched but he nodded mutely. I didn't know what to say after that, neither did he it seemed.
“I'll see you tomorrow, bye,” I said, standing up.
“Yeah, see you,” He replied, getting up himself. I turned to leave but a hand stopped me. I didn't even realised he'd walked up to me.
“Just...want to test something,” he said. I didn't understand what he was talking about until he placed his lips on mine. I felt shock pass through me as I tried to pull away but he was stronger than me. I couldn't stop my mind and body panicking.
“Stop fighting,” he whispered against my lips and I managed to work up the strength to shove him away.
“Why? You like me!” Derek yelled, glaring at the distance I'd just made between us.
“I'm with Zack. Sorry Derek, but your way too late,” I replied, forcing my hands to clench into fists so they would stop shaking, it didn't do any good. My lips still burned from when he forced himself on me and not in a good way. I wanted to get the hell out of that park and home fast. Because that weird glint in his eye was coming back.
“How long did you want me?” he asked, his voice sounded small and hurt.
“That doesn't matter, it's gone now,” I replied, begging him to understand. But all he did was continue to stare at me.
“How can you throw that away so easily? I want to be with you, you should be happy and not have pushed me away.” I opened my mouth to reply but realised he wasn't really talking to me, but to himself. I backed away and turned to leave. Hoping I didn't feel his hand on my shoulder again. He didn't follow me. I think I would've preferred it if he had beaten me up, at least then it would've been a straightforward case of avoiding him.
The moment I got home I pulled out my phone, telling Zack I wanted to see him after school tomorrow, because I had no clue how to handle this situation and hoped he knew something. I considered telling him to come over there and then but the darkening light outside reminded me how late it was. I took a long shower and tried to forget what just happened. The water eventually ran cold and I had no choice but to jump out or freeze. I tried to fall asleep but every time I closed my eyes I remembered Derek's hurt eyes and lonely voice.
This wasn't fair, I was happy now. Why did Derek have to suddenly have feelings? And how did he know I liked him before if Amber hadn't told him? My eyes eventually caved and shut, but it was to a restless sleep. I gave up by the time the clock showed it was four in the morning. I grabbed my sketchbook and drew, feeling my hands stop shaking slowly as I did. Then I planned exactly how I was going to tell Zack what had happened. We shared maths first thing but there was no guarantee the teacher would let us sit together. I heard my mum wake up in the room next to me and bustle about, getting ready to go to work. She stunk her head in wake me up and seemed surprised to see me sitting on my bed awake.
“Are you okay?” she asked, forehead burrowed as she walked into the room. It wasn't a particularly big room so she had no choice but to sit next to me on the bed.
“I don't know,” I answered honestly, because my brain couldn't decide how to respond to Derek's advances. My initial response was shock of course. Then I was scared because he wouldn't let me go. But he didn't push once there was space between us...So what would've happened if you hadn't been able to push him away? I tried not to think too much about that as an involuntary shiver went down my back.
“Look...he called again last night,” Mum said and I felt my body stiffen. I really didn't want to deal with that man on top of everything else right now. But my mum spoke before I could.
“Using the work phone, which was...unusual,” she laughed uncomfortably. That wasn't like him at all, mobile and our house phone only. He could delete the numbers from his history. But people from mum's work would note a guy called her. Maybe match his voice. He was too paranoid to have risked it unless something serious was going on.
“He...he wants to meet you Michael,” she finished, sending me a wary glance. I felt my body freeze and I knew when I spoke my voice was going to be cruel and needle sharp.
“Well when he calls next you can say I told him to piss off. Because I have no intention of ever seeing his face.” I grabbed my bag and left before my mum could reply. Who the hell did he think he was? He didn't have the right to suddenly want to meet me, and I had zero interest in sitting in the same room as him. Even if its a big room and we were at either end. If I was to ever see him in person talking would be the last thing on my mind, I'd much rather punch his perfect, white teeth out. He should learn to stay away, he had his perfect, magazine-cover worthy wife and kids. He had no reason to care about me. Unless he was worried I'd open my mouth. As if I want the world to know half my genes come from him. The guy who sits on the news and openly states he's homophobic.