Do not tell them anything. You never know who you can trust. Bri walks to her locker to get the rest of her books before she starts to walk to the lake. She turns to close her locker and sees Niccola walking over. Shoot, I forgot about the study group this afternoon. "Hey!" Niccola says, "I was talking to Niko and Elle and we think 3:45 is good for study hall, so we can be home for the government broadcast."
"I'm so sorry, something came up. I can't make it to study group today."
"Oh, ok. That's fine. Is everything ok?" Niccola asks, her voice a little less cheery.
"Ya, my mom just needs me to watch my sister." Great, now you've lied, which is against the law, and to your best friend of all people.
"Ok, I'll see you tomorrow." She starts to walk away and Bri feels the thought coming again. She's pretty. Bri hits herself on the forehead. No, stop thinking like that. She slams her locker and walks down the hallway, stepping outside and beginning to sprint towards the lake. Do not say anything. She keeps telling herself. You can't tell them. She feels her pulse racing as she runs through the trees. I can't deal with keeping it to myself though, I feel like it's eating me alive. She sees the lake up ahead and runs to the left side where the bridge is. She slows down at the bridge and sits down. It's covered in moss and has a few planks missing in the middle. The lake looks a greenish brown color, not even algae could survive in this water. No wonder there's never anyone here. She hears footsteps and sees Trey and Ryan. They sit next to her and stay silent until Tuck walks out from behind the trees and sits on the other side of her. Well, it's time to make a decision. Are you telling them or not?
"Ok... well, there's a reason I didn't tell my dad," Tuck says after everyone has been sitting for a few minutes. "I kinda, um. . .." He can't find the right words. "I want to be a girl," he blurts out. "I mean, I think I'm supposed to be a girl. I just feel like myself when I imagine myself as a girl. And I think that's, like, in the same category as liking the same gender, maybe." Everyone is quiet.
"I kinda feel the same," says Ryan quietly, breaking the silence. Everyone turns to him. "I mean, not exactly the same. It feels wrong when I think about myself as a boy, but it also feels strange when I think about myself as a girl. I don't know, it's weird."
"Well Tuck, if you feel more like yourself as a girl then that's great, and I'm so happy that you figured that out." Trey pauses. "And Ryan, it's ok that you feel like that, and we will figure it out, ok?"
"Ok," Tuck and Ryan say together partially relived.
"Tuck, do you want us to call you something different? You may not be able to use that name in public, but you can use it when you're with us."
"Ya, I think that would be great, I like the name... Tatum." Her face lights up as she finishes the sentence.
"Ok, Tatum. From now on, when you're with us, that's your name." Trey says, and Bri nods in agreement, lost in thought. Bri looks over at the four of them, speaking her first words since she got to the bridge. "Well," she says, "I guess it's my turn."
Elle walks out of the office, her wavy black hair sways side to side. Her hazel eyes match the color of the wooden door behind her. "We can't do it at my house either," she says, frowning.
Shoot, Niko thinks. "If we can't go to any of our houses, then where are we going to go?"
"Maybe we could go outside somewhere?" Niccola suggests.
"Ya," Elle agrees. "What about in the woods near the old lake? There might be a picnic bench or something."
"Why can't we just go to the park?" Nico adds. "It's so much nicer there, and we know there will actually be somewhere to do our work." They begin to walk out of the front doors and Niko sees his reflection in the glass of the trophy case. His black hair matches Elle's, but his eyes are a little darker.
"It's closed today because of the government broadcast, they're setting it up for the live audience," Elle replies, and Niko looks away from the glass.
"Ugh, I forgot that was today." Niko says, rolling his eyes.
"Don't say that here! What if someone heard you?" Niccola shot back, looking around to see if anyone is nearby.
"Fine, sorry. Let's just go," Niko replies with little regret. Trust me, I could say a lot more about how I feel, but then again, I would rather stay alive, he thinks as the three of them head into the forest towards the bridge.
They step deeper into the forest and walk along the barely visible path, which is covered in leaves and branches from abandonment over the years.
"Are you sure we're supposed to be here?" Niccola asks, looking around the deserted forest.
"Ya, it's fine, let's just keep going. I have a history test tomorrow that I really need to pass," Niko stresses as he leads the group along the path. The trees thicken around them as the sky disappears.
"How much longer do we have to walk?" Elle complains, switching her backpack from one shoulder to the other.
"Like, two more minutes." Niko replies. He hears something up ahead. Are those voices? he thinks. No, it can't be. He assures himself. No one ever comes out here. Elle groans in the back. They walk a few more feet before Niccola stops abruptly.
"Do you hear that?" She asks, her voice shaky. Elle and Niko stop moving and listen. Maybe it is voices, Niko worries.
"Could it be the government?" Elle questions and continues to walk cautiously. Niccola and Niko hesitantly follow.
"Wait," Niccola pauses, "that sounds like Bri." She picks up her pace, moving through the trees towards an opening in the clearing.
"And ya, so I think I like girls, but I also might like guys... I don't know, I'm confused." Bri confesses to Trey, Ryan, and Tatum as Niccola listens. Niko walks behind Niccola and Elle starts to follow. As she walks over she steps on a stick. Crack! The four on the bridge spin around.
"Oh shi-," Bri gasps.
YOU ARE READING
In a future world where the government is over powering and a strict religion is forced open everyone. Any crimes can get you arrested or even put to death, and to them being gay is a crime. The story follows a group of teenagers who slowly begin to...