The day around him was bright; the sun was beating down on the back of his neck and he was wishing desperately that he could go back to Minnesota. He hated being the new kid.
Angelo took his first steps into Xavier High School, cursing his parents for up and deciding that they wanted to move at the end of the school year. He wasn’t going to know anyone. Sighing, Angelo removed the schedule that his mother had gotten for him the day before from his back pocket and scanned it. His first class was English with H. Small in room 312. He grumbled obscenities to himself as he climbed the three flights of stairs and navigated his way to the proper room.
When Angelo found the right room, he took a deep breath and tried to slide inside without anyone knowing. But even though school hadn’t even really begun yet, the room was already full and almost every pair of eyes inside of it turned in his direction. What kind of freak place was this? Why was nearly every seat filled and the bell wasn’t due to ring for another─ he checked his watch─ two minutes?
“I assume you are our new student,” an irritated voice came from behind him. He wheeled around and found himself face to face with a balding man who he assumed to be in his late fifties. “Well?” the man who was obviously the teacher asked, raising his eyebrow. Before Angelo could respond, a boy his own age squeezed past the two of them and into the room. He hadn’t seen much of the other boy’s face, but whatever he had seen of it had made him forget what he was doing.
“Hello?” The voice seemed to be coming from so close, but so far away at the same time. He brought his eyes back to the balding man’s in front of him and suddenly remembered everything. He couldn’t seem to form words, so he merely nodded and held out his schedule for Mr. H. Small to inspect. He swallowed hard when his teacher gave him back his schedule and directed him to a seat on the other end of the room, a gracefully far distance away from the intriguing male who, unbeknownst to him at that point, had just walked into his life.
When the bell rang and class began, every eye in the room was glued to the chalkboard, diligently taking notes on the lesson. Angelo’s eyes were steadily becoming unstuck, however, as he fought not to look in the direction of that boy whose name, he found out halfway through the class when he answered one of Mr. Small’s questions, was Brien. He couldn’t understand why his eyes were so hungry for and ready to devour every inch of the other boy’s face if given even half a chance. Angelo was starting to perspire with the effort not to look so, cursing himself, he tore his eyes away from the chalkboard and fed them.
Something was so very wrong with this situation. Brien had apparently chosen the same moment to decide to look around the room and instead of just taking in his side profile, their sight lines met in the middle of the room and Angelo was captivated. His face started to burn from Brien’s eyes so intently watching him, but he didn’t care, he couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of his classmate and didn’t dare try. Why wasn’t Brien looking away? Why couldn’t he? He wondered desperately if the same feelings that were coursing through him were making their way through Brien as well. But he wondered even more desperately why these forbidden feelings were coursing through him. He’d never been attracted to a male before, but he could tell that he was most definitely attracted to Brien; even if he tried to deny it to himself, the sudden tightness of his boxer-briefs would have stood proudly in rebellion and proclaimed it as fact.
Angelo was suddenly imagining himself throwing Brien down to the floor and doing things to him. They were immoral things…things that God would certainly not approve of. And then Angelo wasn’t seeing Brien anymore. He was completely lost in his own imagination and could only see himself and Brien alone, enthusiastically marking the desks, the floor, the walls and even Mr. Small’s abnormally large desk as their own territory like they were rabid dogs. He was lost in one such thought of Brien and himself consummating their new friendship on the window sill when a finger snapped in front of his face and he was brought, grudgingly, back to reality.
He blinked twice as the room came back into focus around him. Most of the room was empty, but what concerned him the most was that the seat that had held Brien was empty. His eyes darted frantically around the room before coming to rest on a shirt that was covering a body that was standing slightly to his right. He followed the illustration of a monkey running off with some poor person’s arm up until he reached skin and then let his eyes continue traveling until they saw face and his breath caught in his throat. Brien was standing in front of him, looking down with a semi-concerned expression on his face. As soon as their eyes met, however, Brien looked away; Angelo scrunched up his face and wondered why the other boy would do something so terrible.
Angelo was on the verge of asking Brien why he looked away when Mr. Small’s voice drifted up from the front of the room. “Brien, Angelo?” They both looked at the teacher and Angelo felt an animal-like urge to pounce on the older man. He swallowed his urge and bit his tongue. “Don’t you have classes to get to?” Angelo suddenly felt embarrassed and gathered up his things as quickly as he could and shoved them into his bag. He heard Brien apologize to the teacher as he slung his bag over his shoulder and stood up, but Brien was blocking the path to the doorway.
“Excuse me,” he said, and immediately cursed himself for sounding so weak. What was wrong with him? Angelo was allowed passage as Brien stepped aside, but he tried to move too quickly and brushed against the other boy as he tried to squeeze past him. He shivered when their skin connected as the electricity jettisoned through his body and he vacated the room as quickly as he could without looking back. He couldn’t begin to describe how many things were wrong with what just happened.