Chapter 4.2: Ryan

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As the elevator doors squeezed shut, sealing them inside, Ryan wondered if he'd laid it on too thick about Dr

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As the elevator doors squeezed shut, sealing them inside, Ryan wondered if he'd laid it on too thick about Dr. Greene. It always made him feel a little skeevy doing it. His teammates would've been all over that, but Jacky just gave him that look...

Shit.

Ryan had a vague memory of Jacky dancing with some kid, a boy, at the eighth grade dance. Remembered being surprised. The other kid, Billy, was so gay everyone had known since about the third grade. He liked to wear red sparkly laces in his converse sneakers, and had dyed his hair red, too.

Jacky, on the other hand, hadn't seemed gay at all. He was on the soccer team. He liked skateboarding. Not that these things even mattered, since Ryan himself was the same way. Obviously, gay guys could like sports. Still, it had surprised him. Just as it had surprised him a little bit when no one made fun of them. Jacky and Billy. Monica and her friends had been cooing that they were "such a cute couple!"

Ryan didn't remember much else about Jacky from middle school. All he remembered, when he saw the two boys dancing together, was thinking, I wish I could just ask Alex to dance with me.

Instead, he'd been at the dance with Monica. He liked Monica, he did, he just didn't like her that way. And the cool thing about Monica was that she didn't mind. She just liked hanging out with him and liked that he didn't pressure her to do the stuff her friends were all talking about. And when he finally told her he didn't like her that way, she said, "I kinda figured, but I have fun hanging out with you. I hope breaking up doesn't mean we can't sometimes go to the movies together?"

Maybe Monica knew he was gay too, and she was too nice to say anything.

The elevator doors opened, and Ryan realized he'd just been standing there saying nothing the whole time.

Jacky didn't even look at him when they got off the elevator. "See you later," he mumbled.

Ryan stuck his hands in his pockets and headed down the sidewalk toward home. "See you." He heard Jacky behind him muttering, and then swearing, and Ryan had barely gotten more than twenty feet away before he heard the loud clang of a bike toppling over.

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