Living a lie- Chapter 5

Matt took me some place that I really did not want to go. I mean, I did want to be there, it’s just that being there was kind of an awkward thing. It was just a college party. But this college party was nothing like the parties I have been to in the past. I still hate parties. Matt knows I hate parties. The crowd upsets me, the loudness, the thought of having to jump into a pool with a load of girls around. This party was different though. It was quite. They were just playing some soft music and there weren’t many people here. Matt patted me on the back as I look around.

“Just text me when you’re ready to go home.” He said and started to walk away.

“You’re not going to stay?” I asked. Matt shook his head. “Why not?”

“Dude. There’s no chicks here. This is a gay party.” He walked out. This party wasn’t a gay party. Just because girls aren’t here doesn’t mean it’s gay. Maybe they are just nerds and geeks?

I walked in and the first thing I saw was two males making out. Doesn’t mean anything. You get gay people at normal parties. I met Tony at a normal party and hes gay.  I kept walking though. Anxiety getting to me. I didn’t know anyone here and they were all making out. I sat down in the front room and someone looked at me.

“Hey, hot stuff. I haven’t seen you here before.” A guy said. He sat on the chair arm next to me. I looked up at him nervously.

“Yeah. My friend thought this might cheer me up.” I bit my lip. The guy who was next to me had brown hair. It was kind of like a Beatles haircut but it was extremely wavy and curly. He sat on the floor in front of me and took my hand. His thumb bruised over my knuckles and I felt my cheeks heat up. I couldn’t look at him.

“Want to tell me about it?” He asked. I shook my head and made myself look at him.  That being so, I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eye.

“I don’t even know who you are.” I whispered. My throat felt tight. The guy was still rubbing my hand with his thumb still. 

For some reason, him rubbing my hand made me feel at ease. I felt as though I could trust this person, and I didn’t even know who he was. He gave me a soft smile. 

“Something is troubling you,” he said. Why was this person affecting me so much? I looked into his eyes and I could tell he was a gentle soul. 

“It’s fine. I’m just going through a lot of… NeNever mind. I don’t know why I’m telling you this.” I laughed sheepishly and looked away from him again. If I tell this person my problems, would it be so bad? I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. And, if he’s asking… 

I got to know him. Him and his friends. There was this guy with an afro. He was extremely entertaining. I don’t know what time it was when Matt came to collect me. Apparently it was close to 4 am. That’s the longest time I have ever spent at a party. It was 10 when I had arrived. 

The guy from the beginning of the night, who was making me feel welcome, was called Michael. (His friends called him Mike). He helped me with my problem. I don’t remember much from the night because apparently I was incredibly drunk by the time Matt arrived. But I do remember being with Mike. We talked. I vented to him about my problem. Upon telling him exactly what had been bugging me, he kissed me. It only took a few moments for me to have kissed back, and that is how I knew what I was going to do about Lilly-Anne.

I no longer felt guilty. I was so clearly gay. It was the perfect excuse to break up with her. But… it would still crush her. And she was expecting me to lose my virginity to her. How would she react to finding out lost it to Tony and not her? How would she react to finding out I had nearly done it with a stranger tonight? 

Matt took me home- he was drunk too, so he probably shouldn’t have been driving. When we got home, I remember seeing the white of my walls and then black as I passed out. 

I woke with around twenty texts and at least five missed calls. My head felt like someone was hammering a nail into it hard and my stomach felt as though there was a creature sloshing around in it. It hurt so bad. I looked at my phone to read the texts. The texts were all from Lilly. She didn’t seem happy. She had sent me photos of me making out with Michael. Matt had obviously sent them to her.  I didn’t realise things has gotten as intimate as they had with Michael. I called Lilly.

“You need to explain these photographs to me right now, Nathan!” She snapped down the line. My eyes closed from the pain. I don’t even remember getting that handsy with him. How do I respond to this? 

I decided not to answer and just hung up the call. I closed my eyes. My mother panted as she walked into the room with a bacon sandwich. That was just what the doctor ordered. It settled my stomach and solved my hunger. I hadn’t even realised I was hungry until I started to eat. 

I got another phone call off Lilly, which I ignored. The next call I received was from Tony. 

“Hey, can I come over?” He asked me. I looked to my mother, who was still in my room. She was holding her chest. 

“Hey mum, can my friend come over?” I asked. My mother just nodded before she left. I told Tony he could come. Not long after, he showed up. As if by animalistic instinct, he ran into my room. 

“Is it true?” He asked. Had he heard about what I had done? 

“Is what true?” I asked, very nervous. 

“Did you break up with Lilly? Your friend told me you had.” Lilly and I hadn’t broken up. Not yet anyway. Tony took my hand with such hope in his eyes. 

“No I haven’t. We probably will break up though. I don’t know. It’s all in the air at the moment.” I let out a sigh and rubbed the back of my neck with my free hand. 

“But she knows you cheated on her…” 

“I haven’t spoken to her yet. I don’t have an explanation for what I did.” 

“Just tell her you’re gay. It’s a good excuse because it’s true.” He said. I sighed. “And don’t you dare say you’re not, because we both know that you are.” 

“I know I am gay. I just don’t think I… NoNo nevermind. I can’t believe Matt set me up like that. That party was just so I had to tell Lilly that I’m gay.” Tony wrapped his arm around me, understanding. “I shouldn’t have gone. If I hadn’t, then Lilly wouldn’t have gotten them photos.”  Tony let go of me in shock. 

“Wait… What photos?” Tony asked. He looked at me, hurt. Then I  realised that he didn’t know. 

“The ones from the party.” I looked at him. He stood up. I reached for him but he backed away. 

“Did you sleep with anyone?” He had tears in his eyes. 

“No. I would never.” Actually, if Matt hadn’t dragged me away, I might have done. Tony let out a sigh. 

“Okay, I guess.” He sat back on the bed. “If you had, I don’t know what I  would have done.” I looked down at my feet. My sock had a hole in it at the toe, and I just focused my eyes on that. The whole only made me feel worse. 

Tony put his hand on my shoulder, which made me jump. I looked up at him. 

” I just want you to know. I really-” He stopped himself from finishing his sentence. 

“Really what?” I asked. He took I a deep breath. 

“I’m really in love with you.” He told me. I stared at him shocked. “You don’t have to say it back.” He said. I kissed his head. 

“I love you too.”

Tony and I went in for a kiss, when my mother burst into the room. She was panting more now. I looked over at her. She seemed tired and drained. 

“Lilly is here to see you.” She told us. With that Lilly came into my room, pushing my mum out of the way, and glaring at me. 

“You have some explaining to do, Nathan Shaw!” She yelled. Tony tensed up at the sound of the shouting. 

My mother was in the ground. I looked at her as she struggled to get up, and then she didn’t move. I rushed over to her side. 

“Mum!” I yelled in panic. I checked her pulse. She was still alive. Lilly went to help, but I slapped her hand away. “Don’t you think you’ve done enough!” It was my turn to yell at her. She was the one who pushed my mother over. “Tony, can you call an ambulance?” He did as he was told. Lilly-Anne stared at the scene, helpless. Of course this wasn’t her fault. But I was scared right now. 

Lilly went home. She wasn’t able to ride in the ambulance with us anyway. I told the paramedic that Tony was my brother so that he could come. So we rode in the ambulance and he held my hand tightly the entire way there. 

“It’ll be alright,” Tony told me. But it wasn’t. 

When my mother came through, she was incredibly weak. She looked at me. The doctors had said it was a heart attack. This was probably it for my mother, with that being the case. This was probably going to be the last time I ever saw her again. 

“Nathan.” She said weakly. I was clutching at her hand. It was cold, almost lifeless. I felt my eyes threatening to tear up. I hadn’t cried yet. I’ll save that for when I am alone. 

“I’m here, mum.” I said. I wore my nose with my sleeve. It had started to run.

“Be happy.” She said. I had my hand over her wrist, checking her pulse. I didn’t need to do that though. The monitor did that for me. I watched in horror as my mother’s life slipped away from me. My heart started to shatter. 

Somewhere along the way, Tony had left me. I suppose he thought I needed time to grieve. I did need time to grieve. This day sucked. I don’t understand how I didn’t see the warning signs. I suck. For some reason, I can’t help but feel like this was my fault. Like I had somehow caused her heart to fail. I have to wonder though, did she know I had been with a load of guys the night before? I should have been looking after her. This wouldn’t have happened if I had not gone to that party. It wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t gay – no that second statement is wrong. My mother always wanted the best fore. She didn’t care if I was gay or straight. She just wanted me to be happy. She was a good mother. 

I’m curious as to what happens now. I am only sixteen, I’m not legally an adult. Do they put me in a care home? I would be doomed to stay there for two years and then move out. Doomed to be alone. 

Upon returning home, there was already a social worker there, waiting for me. Waiting to take me away. 

“I’m sorry, Mr Shaw. I know you are in your time of grief, but…” I didn’t hear what she said. I wasn’t paying attention. I just packed my bags in silent and went with them. My world was crumbling around me. I sat in the car in silence. The world roared last in the darkness outside the window. How ignorant everyone is. How rude they are for living their lives normally, while I no longer want to live my own. Why can’t they feel what I feel? The world is selfish. 

It was late when u turned up at the care home. My social worker was super kind, but I didn’t want to be with them. I wanted to be alone. Clearly some alone time was impossible in this place though. I shared a room with another. His name was George. He was seven. He looked forward to getting adopted. I didn’t look forward to that. I didn’t want a new family. No one could replace my mother. And even if they could, no one would want me as their child. George talked pretty much all night. I faced the wall while he spoke. His voice was high pitched and excitable at the moment. It insulted me. It was the wrong voice for this time. All voices insulted me at the moment, and the walls were thin. I could hear everyone in the building talk. It caused a sick feeling to hit the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I was done with this planet. With this life. 

Days went by and I hadn’t left my bed. I wasn’t hungry. I want even thirsty, though my social worker made me eat and drink regularly. My phone had numerous missed calls. Mat had called me, Lilly had and so had Tony. I also had a few condolences texts. I didn’t check my phone until my social worker made me move. She knew what I was going through, and knew that me shutting out the rest of the world was not going to help me. And so, because of her, a few days after my mother had died (I’m not sure how many days had passed – but today was Thursday) I was going back to school. 

I had hit a hurdle- a bump in the road if you will- and now I was going to have to face everything I was currently dreading. Given the location of the care home, theoretically, I should have been changing school. Afterall, the care home was close to a different school, but my  social worker figured that I had been through enough recently without having to make a whole new life at school as well. 

When my father had passed, Matt met me at the school gate and didn’t leave my side for a full week, but this was different. This was my mother, not my father. Matt didn’t know when I would be returning. I, also, wasn’t in the mood to message or even talk to him right now. He was too upbeat as a person, and I needed someone who was more grounded. So, instead, I called Tony. I breathed heavily into the phone for a few minutes, and then asked him to meet me. 

Tony was sat on the curb by the road when I arrived at the school. His bruises were fading now. He looked so handsome. The sun was shining through his hair, creating a halo around his head. I walked up to him and put on a smile. Fake or not, it  was still a smile. 

“You don’t have to pretend for me.” Tony said softly. He hugged me and just squeezed me close to him. His grip was tight. “I’m here for you. I love you.” There was that ‘L’ word again. Love. I want to tell him that I love him too but that seems impossible right now. Another hurdle. All my love currently feels like it has been sucked out of me. Taken away from me, just like my mother. I had to get passed this somehow. I just didn’t know how yet. I felt broken. But, for some reason, looking at Tony helped. I hope it continues to help in the future. I need him right now.

Obviously, Tony couldn’t stay with me all day. However, I treasured the time he spent with me. The rest of the time, I had Matt by my side. After seeing Tony, I was able to cope with Matt’s personality. He was helpful, but not as helpful as Tony.

Lilly seemed to be avoiding me like the plague at school, which I didn’t mind. I looked at her when she was at her locker, and I noticed that she was looking back. I think she felt guilty. I should probably tell her that it is not her fault that my mother died, but I don’t know if thats why she felt guilty. What if she felt guilty because she is mad at me? That sounds more like Lilly’s style. She knows that whether or not she had knocked her other, my mother would have had a heart attack and died.

I think Lilly-Anne and I are over, which means that I no longer feel guilty when kissing Tony. I did kiss Tony on the first day back. I kissed him a few times. Every time was magical.

Tony walked with me back to the orphanage. I hadn’t realised it, but his home was actually extremely close to it. That was a good sign. It meant that I could see him more often, and that made me happy.

“Well, I have to get going, but I’ll see you around, neighbour.” Tony spoke with a smug smirk on his face. He leaned in and we kissed. It didn’t last long, but my lips were tingling with excitement even after we parted. “I hope you feel better.” He said and walked away. I am glad that I met Tony, he is a lovely person.

When I opened the door, there was a girl waiting. She was older than me, at least seventeen, had long blonde hair and black routes. She was frowning.

“What are you doing with gay Tony, new kid?” she asked. Just by that sentence, I hated her. “We don’t want faggots in this house.” She walked away. Now I was scared. What was going to happen next? I had no clue. The smile I had started to develop was now gone. That girl had taken it away. 

Every night, the care home has a sit down meal. It acts like a family with the social worker as our ‘mother’. I was new, so if I joined it tonight, it would be to welcome me to the family. After seeing that girl, I didn’t want to join. I chose to go anyway.

The social worker was shocked to see me when she called everyone down to dinner. To be honest, I was shocked to see me there as well. There people were alright, but I didn’t feel like I belonged there. Especially not after blondie’s comment about gays. She was glaring at me all dinner. 

“You know there was a time that all men were gay… Or at least bisexual.” I said. It seemed like I was just making a dig at her.

“Have you been hanging out with Tony from down the road? He says things like that.” The social worker said. I blinked a few times, and hoped that she wasn’t as homophobic as the false blonde lass,

“He’s more than doing that. I saw him kissing him. He’s a faggot, just like him!” The blonde spat. I had barely touched my food, but for some reason, that just felt like the best time to leave. I was obviously unwelcome here now. I was  starting to really hate my life.

George was in the room when I walked in. He smiled at me and I smiled back at him. George wasn’t that bad to have as a roommate. Not after he got passed the constant chit chat until 2 in the morning stage. I suppose he was just excited to meet me. 

Some of the things which George came out with that night made me laugh. He was trying to cheer me up, and it was working. Currently, he was doing an ‘impression’ of a hippopotamus, but he kept making the noise of a donkey. I don’t know what hippos sound like, but  I would be willing to bet my life on them not sounding like that. Still, it took my mind off all the negativity from dinner and made me hollar out loud with laughter. Then George went all serious.

“Sophie says you’re a ‘faggot’. Faggot means gay right? I don’t get it. What’s wrong with being gay?” He asked.

“Nothing is wrong with being gay, George. Sophie just doesn’t like it because it’s different. Being gay is not a bad thing. Love is love, regardless of whether you are a male loving another male, or a female loving another female. You should always do what makes you happy.” I sounded like my mother right now. George rushed over to me.

“I’m gonna be gay too!” He said loudly and excitedly. “Then you won’t be different.” I put my arms around him in a hug. This kid was not yet ready to understand sexuality. Saying that he will be gay to make me ‘not different’ just proves that he doesn’t understand it. 

“I’m not sure you should be. As you grow up, you’ll come to figure out if you want to be with boys or girls. It’s not a decision that you have to make right now, and certainly not because of me.” he looked up at me and nodded.

“I’m tired. Can you tell me a story?” He asked. I smiled and nodded. He rushed to his bed and I went through his collection of books. I ended up reading him The Three Little Pigs. He was still awake when I had finished reading to him, but he was drifting off. His eyes shut, and he slipped into a deep slumber.

Moments later, I received a text from Tony.