Chapter Two

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They know. He thinks. Oh shit they know. Ryan sits on the stairs outside waiting for Trey and Bri so they can walk to school together. Bri's not going to tell anyone, she said she wouldn't tell anyone. He sees the two of them turn the corner and jumps down from the stairs to walk towards them.
"I swear I won't tell anyone!" he hears Bri say. She's not going to tell anyone. He keeps repeating it until he is walking alongside Trey and Bri.
"Ryan, you know I won't tell anyone, right?" Bri asks. "I mean," she stops. It seems as if she's debating how to finish her sentence. She shakes her head like she is dismissing a thought and continues, "I swear I won't tell anyone, just be careful. I don't want anything to happen to you guys." She puts her arms around the two boys. "I don't know what I'd do." They walk through the doors to school and Bri sees Niccola at her locker. "I'll see you guys in history!" She says as she runs over to Niccola's locker.
"See, I told you we could trust her," Trey states.
"Ya, I guess you were right, but what about Tuck? He just ran off after he saw us and I haven't heard from him since." Ryan pauses and looks around to see if anyone is paying attention. He lowers his voice to a whisper, "Do you think he, ya know, told his dad or something? Isn't he one of the head rule mandators?"
"I don't know." Trey replies, "but everything seems fine so far, so I don't think he told anyone, including his dad. We can ask him in history though." The hallway starts to clear out as the bell rings for class to start. "See you next period." Trey says as he walks into the math classroom.
"See you next period" Ryan replies. He walks into the science classroom and over to his desk. He still doesn't know if he completely trusts Bri or Tuck, he just can't shake the feeling that something is going to go wrong.

Tuck stares at the clock waiting for first period to end. 5 more minutes. He lets himself zone out, he never really liked English anyway. His thoughts about yesterday overwhelm him as he mentally leaves the classroom. They think I told my dad. I have to tell them I didn't. He checks the time again. 4 minutes, 4 minutes until history and then I can tell them. He pauses for a second, knowing what thought would come next, but trying to suppress it. Trying to forget it. Maybe I can tell them how I feel. No, no, no, you don't feel any way. He fights back, trying to ignore it, trying to make it disappear. Maybe I can tell them I feel like this isn't really me, like I don't feel like myself. He is so deep in his thoughts that he doesn't realize he is shoving his fingers into his temples. You're faking it. Stop. The thoughts keep coming. They're going to come and take you. They're going to kill you. He rejects the thoughts over and over, but he knows deep down that he isn't faking it. Just tell them you want to be a girl, tell them you think you're supposed to be a girl. His head feels like it's exploding. NO! The bell rings and he jumps in his seat, his thoughts stop racing. Pain rushes to his head and he pulls away his hands, realizing how hard he was pushing down. He shoves his books in his backpack as his head pounds and runs into the hallway towards the history classroom.

Tuck walks into history class and looks around to see Bri, Trey, and Ryan whispering to each other. He runs over to them "I didn't tell my dad," he says. A small feeling of relief rushes over him like a piece of the bolder on his chest has been removed.
"Oh, well, ok. That's great," Ryan says, a little bit of the fear leaving him as well.
"Ya, thank you," Trey adds, "but I mean, why?" Tuck looks around. Almost everyone is in class, sitting at their desk or talking in small groups.
"There are too many people here." Tuck replies. "Are you guys free after school? We can meet at the skatepark and talk there."
"No, there are too many people there," Bri says, "let's meet on the lake shore near the bridge, there's never anyone there."
"Ok, ya that's better. Does that work for everyone?" Tuck asks.
"Ya," Trey and Ryan say at the same time.
"Ok, meet on the lake shore by the bridge at 4:00," says Tuck, his voice shaking a bit.
"Good morning, class," Mr. Laurens says as he walks into the classroom. The four of them split up, all moving to their desks. They don't talk again until they get to the lake, but throughout the class period they glance nervously at one another, having no idea what to expect or what secrets would soon be exposed.

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