Chapter 10: Ryan

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Ryan froze, shocked at the words that he had just uttered. He couldn't believe he'd said it. He held his breath, hoping Jacky wouldn't kick him out or anything.

Instead of the anger Ryan expected, Jacky instead broke into a smile. "There. See? You can be mean sometimes," he said, like he was proud of Ryan.

Burying his face in his hands, he moaned, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."

"Stop, you're ruining it." Jacky grinned and bumped his shoulder up against Ryan's.

Both of them froze.

A million thoughts crowded into Ryan's head. Did Jacky like him? Was it like what they told girls, that if a boy pulled her hair he liked her? No, Jacky was mean to everyone. But Ryan had never seen Jacky smile. Was he reading too much into this? He was too hot. Jacky's knee was still touching his, and his elbow. He couldn't breathe.

Jacky's smile had faded away and he cleared his throat. "Sorry, was that too gay for you?" Jacky's lips twisted into a sneer as he made to move over.

"No," Ryan said, and Jacky stopped. Looked back over at Ryan.

"No?"

"Jacky, I'm--" Ryan had to force the words out. "Gay."

"Oh," Jacky said. No trace of sarcasm. "I didn't know that."

"No one does." His chest felt tight. "Did. Until now."

"I'm the first person you ever came out to?" Jacky sounded incredulous.

Ryan could only nod.

"Well... why..." Jacky shook his head. "Aren't you friends with Tyler Gomez? Why didn't you come out to him?"

"I'm not that close to him." It was as good an answer as any. "I don't know. It's stupid, to keep it a secret."

"You know Monica's, like, in love with you, right? Why... I mean, God, Ryan. What about your buddy Lance?"

Ryan just shook his head.

"Well, shit." Jacky stared at the television, shoulders a bit slumped. Ryan was thankful it wasn't the tent scene. He'd never told anyone, not even his mom, but he'd watched Brokeback Mountain back when he first thought he was gay, found a bootleg copy on the internet somewhere. He wondered if Jacky had put this movie on as some kind of signal. "I mean, thanks."

"Thanks?" Ryan asked, surprised.

"Yeah. I mean, it's a scary thing to come out. I guess I didn't realize you trusted me that much."

Now the enormity of what he'd just done crashed down around him. "Oh." He hadn't thought about trust. He only knew that he liked Jacky and wanted Jacky to know he was gay. Not that he was ready to come out or anything, or what would happen if Jacky got mean and decided to throw that in his face, or tell someone at school. "Oh."

"So, um, I guess we should get to work, then, huh?" Jacky said, and slid off the couch to kneel on the floor.  

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