Teaser Thursday- Shoulder Pads and Flannel

Shoulder Pads and Flannel-200

I made it through the rest of the day without having to answer any questions and without talking to Evan. When I tried to talk to him, he avoided me. I tried to tell myself he just didn’t want to deal with anything or anyone else, but it felt a whole lot like he was trying to stay away from me on purpose.

When the last bell rang, I hurried to my locker. Evan was already at his. He had circles under his eyes that had nothing to do with makeup, and his face was kind of crumpled, as though all the stress of the day had crushed him. He glanced at me and immediately turned back to his locker.

I should have grabbed my stuff and gone to the locker room, but football wasn’t as important as Evan. “What happened?” I asked.

“You don’t want to know.” He gulped. “They’re saying you’re my boyfriend. I mean, flat-out saying it.”

“So what? People have said stuff before.” I managed to sound pretty casual about it, even though my gut twisted. People in the locker room called me—and each other—”fag” all the time. They didn’t mean anything by it. It was just guys being guys.

Except it wasn’t cool with me, and saying I was Evan’s boyfriend was way different from calling me a fag because I was one of them.

“You’re going to probably hear it at practice,” he said. “This isn’t ‘oh, Guillermo’s sticking up for Evan, they must be lovey-dovey.’ This is someone saying they’ve seen us together and know we’re dating.”

My chest tightened and I wanted to puke. If someone actually outed me at school, there would be no way to hide it. I wasn’t good enough at lying for that.

“Who said it?” I asked, trying to keep the same casual tone.

“I don’t know who started it.” He looked at me. “Chastaine told me, but she says she doesn’t know who started it.”

“Great.” I sagged against my locker.

Someone had seen me and Evan together. It shouldn’t have worried me. We were always careful when we went anywhere someone else might see us. In private, all we did was hold hands and kiss. I’d decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to screw up my life by doing anything stupid, and for me, having sex too soon was on the list. Obviously I couldn’t get pregnant or get a guy pregnant, but pregnancy wasn’t the only thing sex could cause. So I wanted to wait, and since I was Evan’s first boyfriend, he didn’t mind waiting either.

Lots of people had seen us talking or walking around town together, so anyone might have started the talk. Right then, it was only a rumor. Unless someone had peeked through Evan’s windows when I was at his place, they didn’t know anything for sure.

But I couldn’t help worrying. Gossip didn’t even have to be true to mess things up for someone, and this rumor was true.