Chapter 16 The Truth Told
I was in the parking lot, about to go home from school, when I ran into Nina.
“Hey, how are you? Did you manage to make it through after what happened this morning?” I asked.
Nina smiled at me, but it felt a bit off. It wasn’t a smile of joy, but more so one of satisfaction. “Sounds like you think that what Lars did was just as ridiculous as I do.”
I frowned, and protested: “Well I- I don’t think ‘ridiculous’ is the right word, I just hope that you’re okay-“
“I think Lars definitely has some behavioral issues,” Nina interrupted me, “do you know if he’s ever seen a therapist for it? He should.”
I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t like Nina talking about Lars like that. “I think that that’s up to him to decide if he wants to talk to someone or not.”
“Oh please Matt,” Nina giggled, and she leaned in a bit so she could drop her voice a little, “you can just drop the Mr. Nice Guy act already. I won’t judge you. It’s okay to be honest and just express your frustration with someone for once. I know that Lars must be a real bother to you sometimes, and you’re just too nice to say anything about it. I wouldn’t want a boyfriend who I needed to mother all the time either.”
“I really like Lars a lot, I don’t mind helping him out when he needs me to.”
“Do you really, though?” Nina leaned in even more so that she could whisper now, “or do you just want to fuck him because he looks like a girl? I bet that that’s it. It’s okay, you can admit it. He’s cute and all, I get it. You just needed something to stick your dick into, and that twink was desperate enough to-”
“Nina, you’re going too far now,” I said, hesitant, but also feeling good because I remembered the conversation I had with Lars about needing to be honest with Nina. “I don’t want you to interfere with my love life like this. Like I said, I like Lars a lot, and that is my business. He doesn’t look like a girl, and I don’t just want to get in his pants.” I took a deep breath, and then told her what I had rehearsed in the mirror about a thousand times now: “Nina, I think that you’re a great person, but we’re no longer together, and I don’t want that to change. I want to be friends with you, but I don’t want to be your boyfriend. I’m not in love with you anymore. And I don’t want you to insult my boyfriend like that.”
It sounded a lot more forced and awkward than I had rehearsed, but still, I had said it. I knew that Lars would be proud of me.
“I…” Nina stuttered, “this wasn’t about me! Whatever!” And then she stomped away.
I was hesitant to go home that afternoon, but I did so anyways. Even though I wasn’t happy with her at that moment, I didn’t want to worry my mom and make her imagine the worst when I didn’t show up for dinner.
I didn’t yell out any greetings when I got home, but just quietly closed the front door behind me and took off my shoes. Perhaps I could just make it to my room without having to talk to anymore.
“Hello, Lars.” There was a creepy kindness in the way Jason greeted me.
Keeping my head low, I hurried to go upstairs without any trouble, but Jason stopped me.
“Hey, I was talking to you. Where are you going? I wanted to spend some time together. I really am sorry about what happened yesterday. I didn’t mean to hurt you like that.”
“Yeah, whatever”, I tonelessly muttered. I was done being insincerely apologized to.
“Why don’t we watch a movie together?”
Now I was just plain confused. Yesterday he was yelling at me for being disgusting, and now he wanted to watch a movie? Hello, bipolar, is that you?
But somehow, I allowed myself to get dragged to the couch and put down on it. Jason already had the movie up, and only needed to press ‘play’.
About halfway into the movie, I understood Jason’s weird behavior. I first figured it could have been a coincidence, that there were a lot of pretty girls in bikinis in the movie. But as it progressed, it was turning more into some kind of soft-porn than a movie.
Was Jason… trying some weird DIY conversion therapy on me? Was this his attempt to get the gayness out of me?
“Jason…” I said, trying not to get angry but definitely feeling pissed off at the messed-up nature of the situation. “What are you trying to accomplish by watching this movie with me?”
Jason made a surprised sound. “What do you mean? Can’t we just spend some quality father-son time together?”
“I’m not enjoying myself”, I said curtly.
“Why not? Don’t teenage boys like this kind of stuff? Come on Lars, you don’t have to be shy. You can finish the movie by yourself if you don’t want me here.”
A deep frown creased my forehead. “No, I don’t like this kind of stuff. It feels like you’re trying to force something onto me here, you big asshole”, I said, still rather calmly in tone.
Jason groaned and threw his hands up into the air. “What in the world am I supposed to do, then? I’m goddamn trying to help you, but even when I’m being nice you need to act like an ungrateful brat?”
“And what are you trying to “help” me with here?” I said, a bit more pressingly.
Jason showed a sarcastic face in return, as if trying to say: ”Don’t act stupid, you already know the answer.”
“I asked you something”, I said, feeling great satisfaction in finally being able to be the one to say that.
“I’m helping you with those… weird urges of yours. Isn’t this nice?” he asked, weakly gesturing at the TV again.
I didn’t want to get angry, I really didn’t, I didn’t have the energy for it, but there was something boiling inside of me that wouldn’t just cool down.
“I don’t think mom would be happy to know that you’re watching these kinds of movies.”
Jason exploded and broke through his own quasi-innocent façade, grunting: “Do you think your mom is happy to know you’re sucking dick?”
I stood up. “You’re gross,” I sighed, “I don’t understand why you care so goddamn much about what I do with my life.”
“I don’t understand why you decided to become a faggot- no wait, I think I do.” Jason stepped closer, “you never had a stable father figure in your life, so instead you’re now following after your mother becoming a slut looking for guys to fuck you, in a way to still feel a dominant male presence in your life.”
That was it. He had crossed the line. “What the hell did you just call my mother?!”
My stepfather genuinely looked pale and shocked for a second when he realized that I had caught what he said.
“So that’s how you really see her? As just some kind of dumb whore? Does she know how lowly you really think of her?”
“No I- I didn’t mean that. I was talking about you, not about her. I just meant that you started falling for guys too just like your mom, n-not that she… Lars, you’re a smart boy, you know what I really meant. Don’t tell her-“ Jason stuttered.
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