You Don't Know Me

Chapter 10

By Dabeagle


I dreamed of Peggy and the kids. It was odd that I had spent so many years married to her and raising our kids and I to haven't thought more about them. I'd been busy, of course - Drake's life, now mine, was a wellspring of action. Yet, as I lay in the pre-dawn darkness, I felt a little guilty. Although I loved my kids, I wish they'd have known me as a happy man rather than the person I'd been while married to Peggy.

It wasn't that we'd had a poor home life. We got on as people, for the most part. Our marriage was more like roommates than husband and wife, though. We'd stopped having sex, to my relief, after our second was born. I wasn't interested and she didn't want to risk getting pregnant again. I felt a small pang at the passing of that life, perhaps the final cry of my previous existence. It was something like the last gasp of childhood as we transition to the adult world. With the morning light creeping through the windows the last wisps of regret burned away like fog under the sun's glare.

They were okay. And me? I was free.

I picked up my phone and looked at the conversation I'd had with Kyle the night before. It warmed me that he loved me. It encouraged me that the Kyle I knew, confident Kyle, was on the way back. I had no idea what would flip the switch for him to go from being uncertain about us to trusting. My eyes played over his face in the image and his bare shoulders. I closed my eyes and pictured him as he had been yesterday, in his underwear and essentially posing. With very little thought I recalled how his butt felt in my hand and the press of his body against mine.

It was a good thing there was a box of Kleenex on the nightstand.

Sunday turned into a busy day. I mowed the backyard, a task I'd never really minded. I spent the time thinking about the things I had to do and wondering about the best way to prepare for the week. I came up with ways to approach James and engage him in conversation. I wondered if Jeremy was truly done with me or if there would be more trouble. My bet was more trouble at some point, though I wasn't sure what the delay or his game was. Briefly I wondered how Stacy was doing. I made a note to myself to text Giles and see if he was trying out for the team as well.

When I finished in the back I went inside to get a drink. It would probably be one of the last mowings of the season, yet it was still enough work to make me thirsty. As I drank it occurred to me that there was another mower running very close by. I wandered to the front of the house out of idle curiosity and looked out the front window. Kyle was in the front yard, mowing the grass.

"Must be love," Mr. B said as he appeared beside me.

"Yeah, it just might," I agreed and smiled.

"Could have knocked me over with a feather when he showed up, but I guess you guys keep a balance. It's nice to see you guys so willing to help each other."

"I told you he's amazing," I said smugly and went outside to see my boyfriend. The front yard wasn't large and Kyle was just finishing. I smiled at him and handed him the half-glass of water I had left.

"Thanks," he said and downed the water.

"You missed a spot," I told him and he flipped me off.

Mr. B came out and thanked Kyle for helping and handed him a few dollars. Kyle protested but Mr. B told him he had a boyfriend to take care of now, so to take it. I think we both blushed a little.

"Hey, Drake," Kyle said, recovering from the teasing. "My birthday is two weeks from today. I'm going to have a party and sleepover Saturday. Can you come?"

"Two weeks? When were you going to tell me?" I asked.

He looked at me in confusion. "I'm telling you now. Why? You need a month to clear your calendar?"

"I have to save for a present, doofus!" I told him and tapped the back of his head. He punched me in the shoulder.

"Deal with it," he growled.

"Drake, we're going over to see the grandparents in two hours. They're hosting Sunday dinner, so if you want to walk Kyle home, make sure you're home in an hour to get ready, okay? Good job out back."

"Okay, thanks," I told him and fell in next to Kyle as he walked. "So, birthday, huh?"

"Yep. Sixteen, and my dad is taking me to motor vehicle Monday after school to get my permit," he said with excitement.

"Nice! Maybe you'll have a backseat we can go parking in, soon," I teased and he laughed at me.

"Hey, when is your birthday?" he asked.

"Um, you know...that's a good question."

We walked a few feet in silence before Kyle broke the quiet. His voice was subdued. "That must suck, not knowing things like that."

"Well, I kind of feel like August fourteenth is a good day. How about we go with that?"

"What's special about that day?" he asked, frowning.

I grinned at him affectionately. "You'll figure it out."

"Why won't you just tell me?" he said, frustration edging into this voice.

"You'll just accuse me of being cheesy, again," I replied, teasing him.

He thought for a second and then smiled, his face going red. "That was the day we met. Right?"

"Got it in one."

"You're right, cheesy." He smiled at me, though, so I knew he liked what I'd said anyway.

His parents skirted around the fact we'd broken their rules the day before. His mother did say she'd invite me over for spring cleaning, but that was the only reminder that we'd gotten one pass. We played out front for about thirty minutes, but not in any serious way. His grandmother peeked out the windows at us but didn't come out on the porch to watch. I asked what he wanted for his birthday but he just shrugged and said it didn't matter. When it was time for me to go I asked if we'd be exchanging pictures that night, and he told me I'd just have to wait and see. I told him I wasn't sure I had that kind of patience.

Fucker laughed at me.

Dinner was nice. Mrs. B's parents were very welcoming and warm people. They asked questions and doted on their grandchildren. They expressed interest when I told them I was trying out for basketball and the Benoits got embarrassed when old Mr. Genet told them they were doing God's work by taking me in. I'd imagine there were plenty of people that would agree with them. Not very many people would risk a happy home for a teen, and for good reason. They had to go in with their eyes open. The Benoits were big hearted people, though, and I knew I'd gotten stupidly lucky for them to have found me.


I was up at six on Monday, let Ramses out and took my shower. It was earlier than I had to be up, but I had woken early inexplicably and had been unable to go back to sleep. After saying goodbye to everyone I headed over to Kyle's house and met him for the walk to school.

"I should have worked on that English paper," he groaned as we walked. "Now I have to do it all tonight."

"Hey, I offered," I told him and he pushed me. "I can come over and help, if you want. But it's due Wednesday, not tomorrow."

"Yeah? That'd be cool. I can do English, though. Math is the one that gives me a hard time. And no, it's due tomorrow."

"You passed that last test," I pointed out. I decided not to argue about the English paper. I'd done it, but if it got him to finish it so much the better.

"I was so relieved!" he said with a laugh. "My parents are amazed. I think they want to hire you to tutor me."

"I know what I want in payment," I said and gave him an exaggerated leer which got me hit on the shoulder.

"God, you're such a pig," he said with a grin.

"I know. If you were dating you, you'd be a pig, too," I told him seriously and he rolled his eyes and blushed.

"So, first day at school as a couple," he said after a minute. "I'm sure some word will have spread since Friday. Sure you want to go through with this?" I laughed and took his hand as we approached the school. He looked down at our hands and then up at me. "People are going to be weird to you."

"Let them," I said with a shrug. "I'm in love and they don't matter."

We slowed to a stop and he looked at me with a shy smile. "I was half afraid you'd get cold feet once we got to school."

I raised an eyebrow. "Challenge accepted," I told him and pulled him close, kissing him in front of whoever was around to see.

We parted soon after, Kyle with a rosy glow to his cheeks and a smile on his face. I imagined I looked similar.


I slowed and turned toward the voice. Oh. Stacy. "Hey, Stacy."

She closed the distance between us and looked at me with confusion. "Drake, I don't understand. This isn't you."

"It is me," I said firmly. "Everyone seems to like me better than they did before. Well, except Jeremy, but fuck that guy. Right?"

"I don't understand, though," she said with some impatience. "You told me things would be different with us. You said you... well, I thought you loved me."

My expression softened. "Stacy...I don't remember anything like that. Unfortunately, it probably wasn't true. I was a complete douche and probably...took advantage because you're pretty."

Her face pinched and her eyes grew wet. "How can you say that? I saw you kiss...kissed Kyle Winters in front of the whole school."

"I don't think it was the whole school," I said reasonably.

"Drake," she snapped. "I don't understand! You're straight! We used to have sex all the time! I thought"

Again I softened toward her. "Stacy, you didn't deserve what I put you through. You don't deserve this, now." I felt badly as she sniffed and looked miserably confused. "I am gay, though. Ky is my boyfriend."

"But," she started to say and then crumpled. "I just don't understand. Was I not good? I thought you liked sex with me?"

Internally I sighed and felt bad for her. Realistically, she was going to have to come to terms with a lot of things. I only had another minute to spare before I had to get to class, so I placed my hands on her shoulders to make sure she was looking at me.

"Stacy, I'm only going to say this once. I know you're upset and I don't blame you. But listen," I told her seriously. She looked back, features impassive. "You're not measured by whether or not you have sex. You shouldn't measure yourself that way. You are worth more as a person than you ever will be by sleeping with someone. Find someone you like that makes you happy. You can't find happiness by sleeping with someone, and whoever tells you that is lying."

She looked off to one side and then down. "I feel stupid."

"You're not. You're just...not giving yourself enough respect. Demand it from anyone you're with," I told her. "I have to get to class. You okay?"

She lifted her gaze to mine. "Yeah. I think...yeah."

I pressed my lips together. "If you need to talk, let me know." I nodded at her before sprinting to class. One thing that hasn't changed is how teachers take it personally when you're late to their class.

Word had spread faster than I would have believed. People were giving me odd looks as if seeing me for the first time. In a way that was an excellent thing-I wanted to scream to the world I was in love. For at least one person, though, it certainly wasn't. I was standing in the lunch line when I saw James heading for the outdoor tables, but he had no food. I thought that was odd.

"James! Hey Murph! What's up?" I called to him. He didn't turn so I called a little louder. "Murphy! Hey!" I got out of the line as he turned and saw me. I closed the distance quickly.

"Hey, you all right? You hard of hearing or something?" I asked with a grin. He looked at me resentfully and shook his head. Without a word he turned and went outside. I sighed. I guess lunch could wait.

I found him sitting against a tree a good ten feet from the nearest table and probably a good twenty from the nearest person. I walked over and sat down beside him. He glanced at me and snorted but said nothing. I let that go on for a time, letting him come to me. Eventually he let out a sigh.

"It's not fair," he said.

"What isn't?" I asked.

"You. Kyle." He looked over at me. "I liked him. I tried to get his attention last year. It was hard, feeling like everyone looked at me weird because of what you said over the intercom. Assholes were always telling me to stop looking at them. People already gave me shit for being a sissy."

I leaned against the tree and tilted my head back against the rough bark. "I'm so sorry, Murph."

He scoffed and lifted his hands up and dropped them to his knees. "Why, Drake? How come you had everything before, and after you lose it all, somehow you still get the nicest guy in the school? How is that even fair?"

I pulled my head away from the tree and regarded him. "I know it might look that way to you, James, but that's simplifying things. I don't remember my parents. I lived in a group home. Everyone hated me-most still do, except for Jeremy fucking Burke, whose feelings seem to be beyond hate. Kyle didn't like me, either. I had to work hard to turn that corner with him. I had to work with Giles. I'm trying to work with you."

"Why? Why would you give a crap about me? You've got Kyle," he groused.

I sighed. "I care, Murph, because you seem like a nice guy. Yeah, I did a crappy thing and I'd like to make up for that, but I'm also trying because you gave me a way to try and make things better for you."

He shook his head and looked down. "Nobody likes me. I can't get a date. The guy I liked...I lost to a straight guy."

"Murph, can I say something you might not like?"

He looked at me with mistrust but nodded anyway.

"I know what I did sucked and it hurt. But let's think about it for a second, okay?" I said, looking at him steadily. "I said you were gay. Were you out yet?"

His brow furrowed. "Well, sort of. Everyone assumed because I'm so...feminine."

"Okay. And I said you were checking me out. I know that might be kind of embarrassing but, honestly, everyone checks other people out." I shrugged. "It was said to be mean, but really if you stood up right now and told everyone I was gay and that I'd told you I thought you were cute, how much would that really hurt me?"

His head jerked back. "You didn't say I was cute."

"You are," I said with a nod. "But Murph, honestly, your attitude is toxic. You're a good looking guy who should be dating but you have around you. If you'd just try to relax and be kind I think things would be different for you."

His lip trembled and he looked down, moving the mulch between his legs. He sniffed and looked away. "So you're saying I'm an asshole?"

"That's what I'm talking about, Murph. If I said 'Hey, cut back on the Pollack jokes,' you wouldn't get mad."

He frowned and looked at me. "What's a Pollack?"

I blinked. "Never mind, not important. But look, you had a choice just now. You could have asked what I meant, assuming you think I'm trying to be a friend. But instead you sneer and get defensive."

His face grew red and he bit his lower lip.

"Murph, I'm not saying this to be mean. I'm not walking away from you, here. I'm trying to help, and I'll be your friend if you let me."

He ran a hand over his eyes, rubbing each lightly. In a very small voice he said, "I don't know how to act."

I wasn't sure what to say, besides repeating my suggestion to try to be kind. He looked away and sniffled before turning his gaze back to the ground. "I can't date anyone, Drake. Not until I can get out of this place."

"The school, you mean?" I asked in confusion.

He shook his head. "This town. Get away to college or something."


He lifted his head and looked at me defiantly, tears standing in his eyes. "Because everyone here thinks I'm a pansy-ass sissy-boy. Just because of the way I talk or walk, they think they know me. They don't know me!" Tears broke out in earnest and he started to aggressively twist the mulch before grabbing a double fistful of his own hair and pulling as he rocked in place.

When I'd met him I thought he'd seemed stereotypical. People can be cruel, and to guys like James, doubly so. No wonder he was stand-offish. No wonder he was lonely and felt unloved.

"Murph. I'm here, man," I told him gently. I put an arm around his shoulder and he pulled away sharply. He looked at me with red rimmed eyes and wet cheeks.

"Don't. People will say shit," he said in a lost whisper.

"I'll risk it," I told him and put my arm back on his shoulders. He shook with silent tears and I sat beside him, trying to give him comfort.

"What do I do, huh? No one likes me."

"I do. And I'll stand up for you, James," I replied firmly.

His tears trailed off and he let out a defeated sigh. "I don't know. People might not have liked you, before. But you had a clique. I don't. Not even other gay kids like me."

"James, listen." I waited until he tilted his head toward me, waiting. "I'll always be honest with you. I know you might not believe that right now, but give me time to prove it. I understand people have been shitty to you. I promise if you try to bite back on that attitude, I know two pretty good guys that will be cool with you if you'll be cool to them."

He snorted. "If you mean Kyle, forget it. I asked him out last year and he broke up with me like lightning."

"Do you know why, James?" I asked gently.

"He obviously didn't like me," he stated.

"James," I said and waited once more for him to turn his head a little bit toward me, indicating he was listening. "You're cute. Kyle thought so, it's why he said yes, back then. But you're so used to people screwing with you that you have a hard time being nice and recognizing people who won't actively try to hurt you."

He remained quiet and a tear tracked down his cheek. "Doesn't that mean it's true? I'm just an asshole?"

"No. It means you're hurt and you need some people to accept you for you. I'm going to do that, but I'm also going to call you out when you get mean. Just remember, I'm doing it because you're my friend."

He snorted and shook his head. After a moment of silence he turned slightly toward me with a trembling lip. "You promise? For real?"

"I swear, Murph. I'm here for you."


I was a little peckish, having missed lunch. When I met Kyle in class later he had some Cheeze-its in his bag and I ate those to quiet some of my stomach's more colorful noises. He asked where I'd been and I explained as best I could without getting caught by the teacher. Later on, Stacy stopped me in the hallway as I headed to gym.

"What's up? You okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. Um, I just wanted to...." she licked her lips and glanced over her shoulder. "At lunch Jeremy convinced the rest of the table to kick your ass after school. I just...wanted to give you a heads up."

"Shit. Thanks, Stacy. Seriously."

She nodded slowly. "I don't know what set them off careful, okay?" With that she was gone in the crowd and I headed on to gym.

The big question on my mind was 'Why now?'. I knew I'd used to sit with Jeremy for lunch and I guessed that the people at that table were, more or less, my friends. Or had been. Jeremy had been quiet for a few weeks, though, so what had changed? Besides me and Kyle dating? Shit. Was that it? Was Kyle in danger, too?

"What's on your mind? Wait, forget I asked," Giles said with a laugh.

"Not that," I told him. "Hey, Giles. Before my accident...what sort of role did I have with Jeremy and those people at the lunch table? Was I friends, I'm guessing?"

"Hmm, no. At least, I never thought so," he replied. "I always thought of you as more like a ringleader, but you'd sacrifice any one of those douches if it suited you. Like Kevin Franklin? You moved on his girlfriend, totally ruined his relationship."

"Why did everyone let me get away with this crap?" I asked in amazement.

"Partly because Jeremy backed your plays. He's a sadist and you entertained him. But...I always thought you were kind of a sociopath. You never seemed to have any empathy for anyone, no matter what."

I thought on that. Had my, Drake's, parents been horrible or had it been inborn? Nature or nurture? And would any of that grow as an influence on me the longer I was in this body? Jesus, my head was spinning.

"Why do you ask?" Giles said, pulling me back to the present.

"Stacy warned me that Jeremy convinced the people at the table to kick my ass after school. I think she meant as a group."

He frowned. "Why? I mean, he never needed much of a reason, but why?"

"I'm guessing that it's because Kyle and I are together. It's the only thing that's changed in the last few weeks."

"Oh. Shit."

"Right. Listen, G-man, I need a favor."

He swallowed visibly and nodded. "Okay. I don't know what difference I could make, but I'll be there."

"What? Oh, no!" I said with a chuckle as I realized he'd thought I was asking him to fight on my side. "G-man, I'm totally impressed you'd do that for me, though. Seriously, you rock."

He smiled lightly and asked, "Well, what then?"

"I'm thinking...I'm going to go out the back. There are cameras back there, the ones outside the cafeteria exit, you know the ones?"

"Sure. They can see if kids go outside for lunch," he said with a nod.

"Okay, well, I need you to delay Kyle. I don't care how, keep him inside."

"What about you?"

"I have a plan."

"What is it?"

"Still working on it," I told him.

"Speaking's so weird to see you guys together," Giles said and wiggled his eyebrows. "I never expected to walk in on you guys kissing."

"Ugh. Do you know what a good kiss you interrupted, too? Man," I said with a big smile. "Ky can flat out kiss. You missed your chance, Giles, don't go getting jealous now!"

He blushed and laughed. "Kyle's my friend, I don't think I could ever go there with him. Besides, I got my hands full right now."

"Are we being literal here?" I asked and raised an eyebrow.

"Uh, not...quite yet. But I have dreams, Drake. Big ones." Giles smiled unrepentantly and I laughed at him.

I spent the rest of the class thinking, planning and discarding ideas. My thought process was based on the idea that my dating had sparked this aggression, but on reflection I think it went deeper. I think that, if I'd been a ringleader as Giles had thought, maybe there was some sort of power vacuum. Jeremy was trying to cement his position as top asshole. Yeah, that made some sense. But how do I use that?

After gym I went to my locker and grabbed my stuff. I could have gone to the nurse's office, but that would only delay this to a time when I didn't know the attack would be coming. I really owed Stacy for that. I headed down the hallway, hoping that Giles had come up with a way to delay Kyle. I turned the corner and headed down the stairs. As I did I felt a stab of fear as someone I didn't know called my name in a falsetto.

I didn't like to fight, in general. But I would stand to a bully because it's what you had to do. It still made me afraid. I'd gotten my ass handed to me a few times in school fights. This had the potential to be a pretty huge beat down, though. Behind me I heard more catcalls and feet pounding down the steps after me. I exited the building and almost tore off in a run, but two things stopped me. First, Kyle was still here, with loyal little Giles. Second, as I'd noted, I might not know when the next attack would come. And if I didn't kill this now, they'd just keep coming.

And in a flash, I thought I had an answer. I slowed and turned to face the rear doors, the dome of the camera in view. I sure hope that thing records stuff and isn't just a real time monitor. My heart sank and my nerves flared as the door opened and several kids came out. I recognized a few from Jeremy's table, though I hadn't really paid much attention. They flashed cruel smiles, made shitty comments and slowly encircled me. Jeremy was enjoying this moment of theater and, I hated to admit, it was working. I was nervous. When they started to push me from side to side and someone kicked me in the back, I felt powerless and an old hatred for bullies washed over me.

"Finally," Jeremy said, grinning. "You got me last time, you fucking pussy. You had to hit me from behind."

"Yeah. Well, you were hitting a kid a third your weight, tubby. Seemed the thing to do." I hoped my voice wasn't shaking too much. I was jostled again and my emotions flickered between fear, helplessness and anger. It made for a combustible mixture.

"Well, you can't get behind me, now, fucker," he said, still aiming for the theater. I took a breath.

"Too bad you need all this help to face me. Do I scare you that much?" I asked and tried to sneer.

He laughed. "They all need to see me put you in the hospital, Mathews." He smirked and said, "I'm looking forward to it, too."

I was pushed forward, and Jeremy drew back to swing. I dodged to the right, but not fast enough, and he clipped the side of my shoulder. I stepped forward and put my foot behind him and shoved, trying to knock him down. He stumbled, bounced into one of his 'friends' and came back swinging and missing. So far my plan had stunk. I thought I could make the others see him as weak for needing them to be around for him to fight. Instead, they just seemed to be out for blood.

I jabbed quickly and he turned, my punch landing on his ear. He cried out and swung madly and I dodged as much as I could, but was rewarded with him hitting one of his observers on the head.

"Hey! Fucking stop!"

Many heads, mine included, turned to see Kyle standing in the doorway. He stepped out with Giles behind him to the right. Interestingly, Stacy was flanked to his left.

"Fuck off," Jeremy sneered and turned back toward me.

"Hey, moron. You're fighting on camera." Kyle's voice was iron, calm and certain. Jeremy took a step toward me and then the words clicked in his brain. He looked back at Kyle who grimly pointed up at the camera. "Please. Run like the pussies you are. You're all on film."

The doors opened behind him and Mrs. Barker emerged with the principal and two teachers. One broke and ran, the others looked like they wanted to, but it was over. People were separated and led to the office, where parents would be called and, perhaps, the police as well. They'd have beaten me to a pulp if they could have.

I walked over to Kyle, whose face was unreadable. He pulled me off to the side, turned to face me and slugged me on the shoulder.

"Ow!" I looked at Kyle in anger and hurt which turned to confusion when he wrapped his arms around me.

"Don't you ever fucking do that again!" he said in my ear. "Don't you lock me out! We're supposed to be in this together!"

"I was just trying-"

He leaned back. "Yeah, I know. Noble and stupid. Don't you ever," he grabbed my shirt and pulled me close where I could see the dampness in his eyes. "Ever do that to me again. Are we clear?"

I nodded, still annoyed he'd punched me. I kind of felt better, though, when he kissed me. Of course, we all had to visit Mrs. Barker and I had the additional joy of Mrs. Benoit. Fortunately the camera out back not only worked, but hallelujah it recorded as well. The county was being called and charges would be laid, though I wasn't listening anymore. The upshot seemed to be that Jeremy was toast.

As we walked out of the school some thirty minutes later, I saw Stacy waiting in front. I walked up to her and hugged her, and whispered thanks in her ear.

"You're welcome," she said quietly. "If it had been the old you, I don't think I'd have said anything. But..." she shook her head. "You're not him. Not anymore. You were right and...I'm pulling myself back together. I'm just not sure what to do next."

"Well, you'll need new friends to sit with at lunch," I said.

"We have space," Kyle said. "Thank you for helping my hardheaded, softhearted boyfriend. Or do I have that backward?"

"Shut it, Ky."

"You don't get to talk," he said firmly.

"Hey, you punched me! Isn't that enough?" I snorted.

"Not for what you put me through, no it's not. You date me, you respect me. I don't get sidelined when you're in trouble. Do I have to explain that again, you thickheaded...."

I looked down. "I'm sorry, Ky. I thought I was protecting you."

"I know," he said and hugged me again. "I love you for thinking of me. But you're not alone."

Stacy shook her head and a nervous smile broke out on her face. "There really isn't anything left of the old Drake, is there?"

I sobered and shook my head. "No. That's kind of a good thing though, right?"

She looked at me, thinking. She glanced at Kyle and then back to me before speaking. "Before we dated I thought I was too smart to fall for you. Then you dumped whoever you'd been dating and turned your charm on me. I went from a good girl with good grades to...someone I didn't know. But somehow I thought it would work." She flushed red and looked away. "My parents would be so angry if they knew everything."

"Stacy," I said tentatively and placed my fingertips on her arm, just to get her attention. "Everyone makes mistakes. I was a mistake for you. But it's not fatal. You can learn from it and you won't have jackass me telling people things about you or making it harder for you to move on and up. Because let's face it, everyone deserves to be respected in their relationship. Do you feel like I respected you?"

It took a moment but she shook her head from side to side. "I'm just realizing how little I respected myself."

"Like I said, it's not fatal. You can learn and get into a healthy relationship next time. If whoever you date isn't respectful, you let me know. I'm here for you."

"I will be, too." Kyle nodded at her. "I know how weird this is, believe me. You were always nice before Draco, you can be again. I got your back."

She shook her head. "I have to go home. I'll talk to you later," she said and walked away.

"Think she'll be okay?" Kyle asked.

I sighed. "Yeah, eventually. I think I really must have mind-fucked her."

Kyle snorted. "If half of what I heard was true....fuck. I hate even thinking about that."

"Or hate that the stories aren't about you?" I asked, teasing.

"Don't be so sure I'm going to just bend over for you, Drake Mathews," he said with a little fire in his voice.

"Ky, you know me better than that," I said as we turned to walk home. "I want you looking at me when we do that."

"Dick," he muttered and we sparred playfully all the way home.

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