Chapter 37.2: Jacky/Ryan

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Jacky couldn't find Cody in the halls, but he did see Ryan talking to Matt and Lance at his locker

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Jacky couldn't find Cody in the halls, but he did see Ryan talking to Matt and Lance at his locker. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" Jacky asked, grabbing Ryan's arm.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't the man of the hour," said Matt.

Shooting a look at Matt, Jacky demanded, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing." Ryan smiled at Jacky. "Everything's good. What did you need to talk to me about?"

Jacky glanced at Lance and Matt, who were watching this interaction with great interest. "Uhhh... it's private. You know what? I'll call you later."

"Jacky, it's okay," Ryan said quietly. "I told Matt last night."

"Told him what?" Jacky asked, then understood. "Oh." He'd never thought of himself in the closet or hiding that he was gay, but after so long with him and Ryan being a secret, it felt strange that other people knew. "Okay. What I wanted to talk to you about wasn't private like that. It's... something else. Never mind."

"You sure?"

Ryan's quiet voice reminded him of when Ryan had slept over, those nights they spent alone together. "Yeah, I'm sure," he said. "See you later."

"Aww, that was so sweeeet," said Matt, and Ryan felt his face burning

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"Aww, that was so sweeeet," said Matt, and Ryan felt his face burning.

Lance snickered. "What d'ya think, Matt, wouldn't Ryan be better off dating me?"

Matt stopped smiling. "Are you gay, too?"

"Who's gay? Lance is gay?" Alex clapped Lance on the shoulder. "It comes as no surprise, my friend. You're like a Greek god. An Adonis."

If only Ryan could fold himself into his locker and disappear.

"What d'ya mean, no surprise?" said Lance. "I'm not gay. Ry—" Lance clapped his hands over his mouth as he realized he was about to blow his best friend's secret.

Ryan blew out a breath. "It's fine, Lance." He turned to Alex. "I'm the one who's gay."

Alex squinted at Ryan. "Okay."

Alex Harrison was unflappable.

"I was saying," Lance said, his face pink, "wouldn't Ryan be better off dating me?"

"Better off?" Alex smirked at Ryan. "Who are you dating? Ryan Michael Sullivan, you little slut."

"He's dating that one-armed kid," supplied Matt.

"His name is Jacky Jennings," Ryan corrected.

"Yeah, but what I'm saying is you could have a boyfriend with two arms." Lance flexed, like Ryan wasn't aware that Lance had two arms.

Ryan slammed his locker shut. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't make fun of him," he snapped.

He pushed through the crowded hallways. This was why he hadn't told his friends. His "friends."

"Ryan, wait."

He recognized Lance's voice and kept walking.

"Ryan..." Ryan could hear Lance apologizing to everyone he bumped into in the halls. Ryan didn't even know where he was going until he saw Monica at the snowflake-covered table in the front lobby. He headed straight for her. Unfortunately, the crowd thinned out here, and that allowed Lance to catch up to him.

In one motion Lance grabbed Ryan by the arm and crushed him into a hug. His words came out in a rush against Ryan's ear. "Ryan, I'm sorry, please don't hate me."

Ryan tried shoving Lance off, but it was a losing battle. "Knock it off, jerk."

"I'm sorry!" Lance repeated. "I shouldn't have said that. You know how it is, sometimes you're joking around but you end up saying something really mean..."

"Not really," Ryan said into Lance's jacket, still pushing against Lance's brick wall of a chest.

"Of course not! You're Ryan Sullivan, the best guy I know. You'd never say anything like that. I am a total jerk for what I said. I'm a giant fucking asshole--"

"Language!" called Principal Novak from across the hall. "And less roughhousing, boys."

"Sorry, Mr. Novak," said Ryan and Lance automatically.

"Seriously, I'm sorry." Lance released Ryan. "I don't know why I'm jealous of Jacky... I guess I figure if you have a boyfriend you don't need a best friend, too."

Ryan had never seen Lance look so much like a kicked puppy. "Okay," said Ryan. "Apology accepted."

Now Lance was hugging him again, but this time Ryan endured it.

"Geez, Ryan, what's your deal?" asked Alex. He and Matt had finally caught up to them.

"No, guys," said Lance. "Ryan was right to be mad. We can't make fun of his boyfriend, okay?" Alex nodded his assent, and Matt hung his head and apologized.

Crisis averted. And oddly enough, Ryan felt good about the whole thing. He had come out to all of his close friends. The dance was going to be a piece of cake.

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So you get a double update today unless I actually did post the last part on Tuesday like I thought I did?? Mobile Wattpad is so weird... and I'm on mobile because I'm heading to NYC today to attend BookCon! I'm super excited!! Have any of you been or are you going?

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