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Chapter Two

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"Luke!" Sara called, hurrying toward me as I stepped out of my car. Her deep purple messenger bag bounced against her outer thigh as she approached. She tugged at the bottom of her shorts, which were almost the same color as her bag, and smiled.

"Hey, Sara." I tried to sound happy to see her, but my thoughts were still on the fight that Taylor and I had gotten into the previous night. The word stupid crept through my mind, leaving a trail of guilt that seemed to drip into every crevice in my brain. We weren't in the habit of calling each other names and I abhorred the fact that I had.

"I need your help with something. I'm putting together a fundraiser for one of the organizations I work with, but I need more people to help out. Would you be interested? I was going to ask Taylor as well."

"If you don't ask Taylor, I'll do it." I yanked my backpack out of the backseat and slammed the car door.

"What's going on?" She analyzed me for a moment before her eyes narrowed. "Why can't I ask him?"

"Because we got in an argument and I don't want that idiot around me."

"Whoa. You and Taylor got into a fight? That's crazy!"

"What? No. It's normal for friends to fight."

"But you two aren't normal. You never fight. What happened?"

"I'm not in the mood to talk about it, Sara." I made my way inside with Sara following close behind. "So, what's this fundraiser going to be?"

"Well, I was able to talk to Jim Cusick—he's the guy who leads the fair committee every year—and he's agreed to allow us to have a bake sale during the fair with our own booth. He's even offered to donate five percent of the earnings from the fair."

"See? That's what I'm talking about, Sara. Of course, you got Jim Cusick to agree to something like that. You're awesome!"

She blushed and looked down at the floor. "Thanks."

Her shyness when it came to compliments was adorable and only made me want to give them to her more because she deserved them. "Well, just let me know the date and time and I'll be there."

"Awesome! See ya!" Sara bounced away and I watched after her, smiling at the sunshine that radiated from her body. Someone would really have to step up to the plate to be with a girl like that.

I turned around and found Taylor standing at his locker watching me. The smile immediately fell from my face. Clenching my jaw, I walked over to my locker and opened the door, hoping that he wouldn't try to talk to me, but I knew he would. He always did.

"Luke."

I groaned.

"Listen... I'm sorry."

And just like that, the irritation faded away. I was unable to hold on to any feelings other than love for him. I sighed and pulled the door forward so I could look at him.

"I really am. I guess I'm more uncomfortable with your being gay than I realized and I'm sorry for that. It's just hard to process..."

"No, it's not. I like guys, so what? Who gives a crap? Doesn't mean I'm different. I still have the exact same personality as before."

"I picture you looking at a guy and thinking these thoughts and...it just makes me feel uneasy because...well...because..." He shrugged and shook his head like he was having a hard time with the right words.

"Because you're a guy?" I finished for him as I looked down at the floor.

When he didn't respond, I finally brought my eyes back up. "That's so stupid. Just because someone likes their own gender, doesn't mean they're going to like every freaking person they encounter. You can have friends that are girls and you don't like them as anything more—why can't I do the same?" I was trying my best to hold my voice steady and not yell, but it was hard. My whole body was on defense as I tried to hide my true feelings.

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