In the bathroom mirror the next morning, I gave myself a quick scan. This was it. 11th grade at a new school. Not that I really cared about school anymore, but it felt like a fresh start. Maybe here, I could at least try to be normal. Then the worries struck like a tidal wave. Would I need to come out? Would staying in the closet only make things more uncomfortable? Maybe I needed to be brave and own it this time.
It was weird that a dream could inspire such courage in me. I'd had plenty of dreams where I was the hero of my own fairy tale, but when I closed my eyes and saw Hunter's cute little squinty eyes, his lips pressed tight into a smile, I felt invincible. But I also felt pain, a sting like a thorn nestling deep into my heart. It made my stomach queasy.
I wish he hadn't have been a dream.
But it made sense that such a perfect boy--perfect for me, at least--was only a dream.
Dad was already waiting for me in the car by the time I got downstairs. On the ride to school, dad kept glancing at me like a finicky meerkat. Watching me chew my thumbnail to bits with my eyes fixed outside the window, he must've thought I looked like a mess of nerves. He patted my shoulder and gave me a reassuring smile, so I quirked the corner of my lips at him.
"You worried, buddy?" dad asked me.
I wondered what to say: "Hey, dad, do you think I should come out my first day at this new school? You know, maybe show up on a big pride float shaped like a unicorn, covered in rainbow balloons, with guys in white thongs and angel wings dancing on it?"
I smiled to myself thinking of that.
"What's that smile for?" dad asked, cheering up at the sight of me temporarily rising from my pit of despair.
"Do you think I should tell everyone I'm gay?"
Dad got quiet. I knew me being gay was awkward for him to talk about because he couldn't relate. in high school, he had been a semi-jocky comic book nerd who spent his weekends with his straight guy friends plotting how to lose their virginity. Nothing like me. He shot me another easy smile, but I could tell he was faking it. "I think you need to do what's right for you, Ry. I can't tell you how to be you."
Shit answer. Thanks. Sometimes, I wished he'd just be honest. I pressed my lips together and went back to looking out the window.
This was going to fucking suck.
Out in front of Misthaven High, a traffic circle looped around an island with a few benches, an old sycamore, and a raised American flag. Across the street from the circle stood a gravel parking lot for students and faculty. Dad pulled up behind a Scion inching its way around the loop.
Once he had an opening, dad stopped the car near the curb around the circle. "Hey kiddo," he said, "I love you."
I didn't hear him at first because I was too busy watching other students get out of their parents' cars, climb up a short flight of steps, and head to a concourse in front of the school. Overhead, the clouds covered the sky like a slate-colored cotton roof, foretelling stormy weather. Nothing new for Misthaven. But how would I know? Theoretically, I'd never been here before.
It was all just so . . . strange.
When his words finally sunk in, I turned and said, "Love you, too, dad." I opened the car door and followed the students to the concourse. Walking through the entrance, I wasn't surprised when nearly every eye in the hallways homed in on me. Normally, my shyness would've had me cowering under all those scrutinizing eyes, but I didn't want to be like that anymore, so I marched forward up some rubber-treaded steps like all the nosy kids weren't even there.
YOU ARE READING
In The City of the Nightmare King [Formerly Wizards Are So Gay]Teen Fiction
WATTPAD ORIGINAL EDITION The nightmare continues when Ryan, the gay wizard, comes face to face with the most unexpected nemeses yet. He will have to figure out if love truly is the most powerful magic of all. ...