A New Beginning?
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CHAPTER 1: Chapter 1 - Friday
John watched as Steven walked across the field. He sat there for many more minutes before he finally rose. He slowly turned and started walking back toward the school. Most of the people had left, but there were still a few milling around. He felt awful! There was a knot in his belly the size of a football. He felt like he was going to throw up, so many emotions were welling up in him. He didn't want to talk to anyone. . . Kevin, Dave, his parents, . . . he just wanted to think.
"John. John! There you are." His father was coming toward him.
"Hi Dad. Do you mind if I walk home? I'll meet you there."
"Running away isn't going to help things, you know."
"I'm NOT running away. I just need some time to think!"
"I know is must be difficult when a mate of yours announces to the world that he's gay, but . . ."
"HE'S NOT MY MATE!"
John and his father looked at each other in silence. John's father was a little taken aback at John's emphatic statement. Both continued to look at each other. John noticed the surprised look on his fathers face, which slowly turned into the look that could only be described as a look only a parent who loves his child can give. Tears welled up in John's eyes and began to run down his face.
"He's not my mate." John said softly through his tears. "He is, . . . or was . . .my boyfriend . . . lover." He paused, looking at his father, and with anguish in his voice declared " I love him . . . I love him very much . . . Dad, . . . I'm gay. I'm sorry Dad . . . but . . ."
He didn't finish before John's father had put his arms around him. "I know. I know. Come on, let's go to the car."
"You know? How could you know? How . . . how . . .?" John sputtered out as they walked toward the car.
"Various things. It all fell into place today after meeting Steven and his parents on the field, and how the stories didn't match up between you and Steven. Don't worry its ok. Come on; let's go home. We can talk more then."
They got to the car and John's mother was already sitting in the car. John got into the rear seat.
"John, what's the matter?" She asked seeing his red eyes and tear stained face.
"Itís ok Veronica. We'll talk more at home." He signaled his wife to be quiet.
As Steven and Linda pull up into Linda's driveway, Stevens's mom calls across to him that he's wanted on the phone. "It's Mark." She says.
Steven hesitates before heading for the door. He had wanted some time alone before confronting any more people, including his father. God Mark! He thought. When some of the audience applauded after his speech, he noticed that Mark sat there in stunned silence, not even looking at him when he walked out.
"Steve. Where are you?"
"You called me here didn't your?" Steve replied a little testily.
"I mean, why aren't you here? We were all going to get together after the assembly today, remember?"
"After what I did, I didn't think I would be the best of company."
"Well, needless to day, I was surprised. Youíre my best mate Steve, always have been, and I hope always will be. I don't know why you couldn't tell me. We'll talk about it sometime. Anyway, the magazine gang is all here except you. Get over here!"
"I'll think about it. I'm really not in the mood for partying . . . or more questions."
"I promise, no questions."
"Ok, I'll think about it."
Steven put down the receiver and sees his father looking at him. He mother seeing the look between the two says, "Are you going to the party?"
"I don't know."
"Go. Have some fun. Just don't be too late back."
The Dixon's car pulls up into the driveway. All three exit the car, and John hurries across the courtyard into the house and up the stairs to his room. He flops down on his bed on his back. He wants the bed to fold up around him and "swallow" him whole. He stares at the ceiling.
"Now you've done it John, you've really done it" he thinks to himself. "You've alienated the only person you've really loved, and now your parents know, and god knows what they will do. I suppose Oxford is out. Nobody would want their poofter son going to Oxford. Steven. Steven! I want Steven so bad. God, he's so much maturer than I am, and I really hurt him. I really HURT him. I want to die!" He continues to lay on the bed with his arm thrown up over his eyes to absorb the tears that were beginning to flow.
"This isn't so terrible John." John looks up and sees his father standing in the doorway. "Can I come in?"
John swings his legs off the bed and sits up on the edge. "So, you knew all along?"
"No, not all along. I began to suspect there was someone special in your life, and it wasn't Christina. The weekend you disappeared after the ball, and we couldn't get hold you at Kevin or Dave's. The night you came home from jogging late, that was unlike you. Then today, it all fit together, especially when I saw you shaking your head at Steven's speech. I knew. You're mother and I love you very much and will continue to love and support you. If you're gay, you're gay. I've read enough literature to know that there is nothing you can do about that. We have a gay law clerk at the office and he doesn't let the fact that he's gay stop him from what he wants to do. You mustn't either. We want you to be happy."
"Be happy? Steven! Oh God, what have I done to Steven?"
"Maybe you should call him. If you two have had a falling out, it would be better to talk about it sooner than later."
"I don't know. I'm sure he's pretty upset with me right now."
"You won't know until you try. I don't want to see you miserable son. Being miserable over a relationship is horrible. You need to set it right. The sooner the better."
Stevens's mother crosses over to pick up the ringing phone. "Hello? No, he's not here. This is his mother. Can I take a message?"
"Well, I'm not sure where he is. Some of his friends were getting together this evening. He might be at Marks, as Mark called earlier. Can I ask who's calling?"
"Oh, John Dixon. I'll tell him you called."
"John Dixon?" Graham asks walking up to his wife.
"John Dixon." His wife answers.
The magazine staff plus a few other classmates have all gathered at Marks. Mark has told his mother that Steven is coming over - he hopes. He still wants to be mates with Steve, and his Mom says she understands, but doesn't understand. Whatever Mark decides will be ok with her.
"Do you think Steve will come?" Jess asks to no one in particular.
"I hope so!' replies Wendy. "I've never had so much fun at a Prize Day Assembly watching Alcock squirm in his seat as Steven gave his speech. It was great!"
"Boy, I could never have done that" replies Mark.
"Done what?" Steven asks from the doorway.
"Steve! Aw right! Come in" Mark shouts.
Everyone gather around welcoming Steven, leading him into the room. Lots of conversation ensues. The bantering among the classmates continues as they help themselves to refreshments that have been laid on.
They are all sitting around conversing, when a lull occurs.
Mark asks, "Steve, the rumor has it that you and another classmate are . . . close, or whatever you call it."
"I thought you weren't going to ask questions" Steven replies.
"I know, but you have to admit, we're curious. Does anyone know who it is?"
"Yeah, a couple people know, but so far they've promised not to say anything. Besides, it's off anyway. He's firmly in the closet."
"Not any more!' Says a voice from the doorway.
Everyone turns to see John Dixon standing there.
"Johnny!" exclaims Steven.
John walks over to Steven who has risen out of his seat, and puts his arms around him in a warm embrace.
"I'm so sorry Steven. I've been a real prick!"
"Fuck me!" Wendy says in amazement.
The only one present who knew about John and Steven was Jess, and she just sits there beaming. The rest of them had their collective jaws hit the floor. John and Steven moved in completely different circles, and no one present really knew John personally.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to ruin your party" John says noticing how quiet it had gotten.
"Ruin it all you want!" Steven replies. "Johnny, what happened?"
"I was really upset when you walked away from me on the field. When I went back to the school, Dad was waiting for me. I thought I was going to puke on the spot I was so turned inside out about losing you. He tried to comfort me as he knew something was wrong, and with out realizing it, I think, I told him about us, about me, . . . that I was gay."
"What did he say?"
"You're not going to believe this, he said he knew! At your speech in the auditorium, he put it all together and he knew."
"Yeah, my Mum said she knew also before I gave my speech. Amazing what our parents know about us."
"So, how long have you two . . . uh . . . known each other?" Mark asks.
Both Steve and John look at each other. Finally Steven answers "Since the ball."
"Really?" says Jess. "You told me you had your eye on someone there. Didn't know you two connected that night. Or did you?"
"Yeah, I though Steve was staring at Christina, but it was John all the time!" Mark exclaims.
"Yeah, but how did you two originally meet - I mean how did you find out about each other? There must have been something before the ball?" Wendy asks.
"Yeah, we had met once before where we discovered our feelings, but lets just leave it at that." Steven says.
"Please!" John pleads.
"So who knows?" Wendy asks. "No offence Steven, but with John 'out' and coupled with you, this is going to be a shock to some people."
"Yeah, I guess it will." John replies. "So far the only people that know about me are my parents and everyone here."
"You're all getting it from the horses mouth" Steven laughs.
"I can't wait to see Kevin's face when he finds out." Jess spits out.
"Well, I wish you'd all keep it under wraps for the time being. I've got to tell Kevin and Dave, plus a few others myself. Probably not today though. I'm drained!" With that he puts his arm around Stevens's shoulders and pulls him close. Steve blushes and beams.
"Well, I'm glad for you both. .Ö But I just can't believe it! What a Day!" Wendy exclaims.
Everyone laughs and starts conversing about how various people will react to the news.
John and Steven drive away from Marks, the party having wound down somewhat. John had wanted to get Steven out of there, as they were both a little tired of questions that were being thrown at them form time to time.
"I though I'd never see you again Johnny, at least I didn't want to see you again after today. Then you appeared in the doorway, and all that vanished."
"And all I could think of was seeing you again, not letting you go. I know I hurt you very much, and I hope someday you can forgive me for that."
"But I was hurting too. I was almost physically sick! I just couldn't stand it, you walking away. I just wanted to get away, but then Dad stopped me. Dad. I can't believe how he knew, and how he acted."
"My Dad's having a hard time with it. Mom's ok."
"I think it's just the opposite with me. Dad's ok and Mom's having trouble. I haven't spoken to her since we left school and Dad told her."
"Oooo - You'll have to make that right, Johnny."
"How do you think Kevin and Dave will handle this?"
"Don't know. Don't care. They either handle it, or they don't. It's you I care about, not them."
"Well, I hope I'm not there when you tell them. Kevin can get pretty physical - I know. You've saved me from his clutches several times."
"Yeah. Well, we'll see what happens."
"Weren't you all going to get together today sometime?"
"A bunch of us were going to meet in the pub. They're probably pretty sloshed by now. It's just about closing time, isn't it?"
"A little after."
The car drives up in front of Steven's house.
"Come on in for awhile. Do you have to go home?"
"I don't know. Do you think that's wise?"
"You'll have to meet the 'in-laws' sometime!" Steven laughs.
"Yeah, right!" John laughs. "I already met them, remember?"
"Yeah, but they didn't know your intentions then!"
"And now they do?"
"Probably. Come on. If it gets to unpleasant, we can leave."
Steve and John walk from the car to the front door, Steve in front, holding John's hand leading him toward the door. Steve's Mom meets them at the door just as they drop each other's hand, but she has seen it.
"Hi Mum. This is John. Remember him from this afternoon?"
"Hello John." She smiles "come on in you two. I didn't expect you until later Steven. Everything ok?"
"Yeah - fantastic!" Steven gushes.
Graham walks in from the other room.
"Dad, this is John. You met briefly this afternoon."
"Hello Mr. Carter." John extents his hand.
"Hello John" Graham shakes Johns hand. "We didn't get much of a chance to talk this afternoon."
"Yeah, well, I wasn't in a talking mood this afternoon."
There are a few moments of awkward silence.
"Would you two like something to eat or drink?" Steve's Mom asks.
"No Mum, we're stuffed - have been snacking all evening at Marks. Uh . . . John has told his parents . . . about him . . . about us."
"I see." Graham replies. "And how . . . " he trails off.
"Ok, I guess. Dad better than Mum."
"Really?" Grahams replies. "Maybe I should talk to your father. I'm having some . . . I don't understand."
"Steven, I love you very much. As most parents, I want what's best for you, and if this is what you are, then that is what your are."
"Gay" Graham replies softy. "How long have you and John . . .?"
"For awhile. Someday we can all go into that" Steven responds.
"Yeah, the woods."
"I'm sorry Mr. Carter, but I was so frightened . . . ' John starts.
"No. Don't explain. Maybe some day. This is just going to take some getting used to on my part. " Graham gets up. "Well, I'm off to bed. I have to be in the shop tomorrow morning. Nice meeting you again John." He heads off up the stairs.
"Yes, me too." Stevens Mom says. "Don't stay up too late you two." And she also leaves the room.
" Well, that went well!" Steven says.
John moves over and sits next to Steven on the couch. He puts his arm around him and looks him straight in the eyes. "I love you Steven Carter, and I'm still scared to death!"
Steven kisses him gently on the lips. "We're both in new territory now Johnny. I'm out, you're getting' there. We can get through this, I know we can. There's no turning back now though, is there?"
"No turning back. No lies. I'm still scared."
"I know." Steven wraps his arms around John, and kisses him ever so gently.
"How long do you think we can stay down here before your parents . . .?"
"Don't know. I'd rather have you up in my bed, but thatís pushing it."
"Yeah. It's time for me to go anyway. My parents are already not too comfortable with this. I'm sure they'll still be awake when I get back."
"It's not even midnight!" Steve pouts.
"I'll call you tomorrow."
"Not if I call you first."
They both walk to the door, and passionately kiss. John runs down to his car and drives off. Steven locks the door and slowly walks up to his room. Its been quite a day!
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