Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 5229
Summary: David Desrosiers isn't your typical sixteen year old boy living in Juneau, Alaska. Bullied relentlessly by Pierre Bouvier, a boy he's known since elementary school, David and his best friend Jenny come up with a back-handed plan to seek revenge on the boy who makes their lives a living Hell.
Disclaimer: Don't know, don't own, didn't happen!
Author's Note: Alrighty, here's chapter 15! If you follow me on twitter (@shmorgenheigen) you already know that my schedule has been shifted around, but in case you didn't see that, I'm going to be posting chapters on Thursdays now! I've also been switched to a graveyard schedule (yuck!) so my chapters will be coming later in the afternoon/evening on Thursdays (PST). Thanks for reading!
Perhaps the scariest part of going back to school and facing his classmates was that David didn't know what to expect. Part of him showed him an image of himself being attacked the moment he walked through the school's front doors, but the more rational part of his brain reminded him that his teachers wouldn't let something like that happen. He also reminded himself that with the way he had been working out so rigorously, it was more than likely that he would be able to defend himself if it did come down to a fight, even if defending himself meant nothing further than being the fastest runner. When it really came down to it, however, David knew that Pierre would never let anything bad happen to him. He could see it in Pierre's eyes just how much he meant to the senior, as strange as that still felt to him.
Still, David couldn't help how nervous he was as he made the drive to school the morning after the picture-incident. There were a few times when he almost allowed himself to turn back and go hide in his house for the rest of his life, but images of Pierre kept him true to his course. This was, after all, his mess. David had created this problem with a little help from the girl who had always been his best friend; they had planned it all out, even. How could he leave Pierre to deal with the aftermath of their publicly displayed make-out session when he had been partially responsible for the events that followed? He knew he couldn't leave Pierre alone in this, just like he knew Pierre wouldn't do so to him. He just needed to be strong.
When he got to the parking lot, David turned off his car and simply sat in it for a long moment. He closed his eyes and gripped his steering wheel, doing his best to prep himself for whatever it was he was about to face. “I can do this. I'm not going to get hurt. I'm not going to let what anyone says get to me. I'm going to be strong for Pierre and face this like a man.” Even after the words had left his mouth, David couldn't make himself move or even open his eyes. He was frozen in place, petrified in fear, afraid of the unknown more than anything else. He didn't know what he was about to walk into, and though he reminded himself that it couldn't possibly be that bad, it still made him feel as if he was in a horror movie and was about to check out a strange noise he heard outside. Was he walking into a trap? If anyone was watching his life's story, would they be throwing popcorn at the screen while yelling at him to run the other way? There was only one way to find out.
With a deep breath, David opened his eyes, grabbed his messenger bag from the front passenger seat and got out of his car. The early spring air was chilly on his face but it felt refreshing rather than unpleasant. He was painfully aware of all of the eyes that were on him as he walked past group after group of his peers, not stopping to look at a single one of them. It wasn't until he saw Pierre that he gave any sort of recognition whatsoever. Immediately, his expression softened and he actually found himself smiling, to his utter disbelief. The simple fact that the senior was standing there at the edge of the parking lot with his bag slung off one shoulder and a carefree smile on his lips meant more to David than he could have possibly described. Pierre felt like a beacon of hope, like a shining light that would help see him through whatever darkness they might face together. In spite of everything he stood to lose, David just didn't understand how Pierre did it.
When he approached the older boy, his feet slowed to a stop until he was standing slightly farther from him than he might normally. He was nervous to be seen with him in front of all their classmates, worried that it would start some terrible attack, but Pierre seemed perfectly at ease about everything. Whether he was putting on a brave face or he really didn't care, David couldn't be sure, though from the way he had reacted the day before when the pictures had first been seen, he thought Pierre might have just been playing it tough. Either way, David appreciated him for it. How would he have ever survived this without the boy?
“You ready?” Pierre asked with a smile, as if they were doing nothing more than going for a test or starting a hockey game.
“Not really,” David replied quietly, offering his own smile, though his was much more subdued than Pierre's.
“It'll be fine. Just keep your head up and don't back down. Nothing can hurt you unless you let it,” Pierre offered sweetly.
“Except for maybe a brick...” David mused, a look of nervous contemplation wiping the smile from his lips.
Pierre rolled his eyes and gave a soft chuckle. “No one's gonna throw anything at you,” he comforted the younger boy. Then, to David's complete shock, Pierre grabbed him by the shoulders, pulled him closer, and planted a firm kiss on his forehead. David's cheeks instantly flushed crimson and his eyes darted around, noticing that everyone in the vicinity was staring at them. Pierre pulled back and smiled down at him, waiting a few long seconds before adding, “See? Nothing. The worst they can do is be dicks about it and if that's how they're gonna be, they were never our friends anyway. I thought a lot about this last night... and I'm not gonna let a bunch of assholes stop me from doing something that makes me happy. I'm done being what everyone wants me to be. It's time to be me.”
David gave a dreamy sigh and smiled, shaking his head slowly in stunned disbelief. “You are so much more than you lead everyone to believe, Pierre,” he said softly, his voice brimming with admiration. A crooked smirk lifted one corner of Pierre's mouth and he looked off to the side, looking awkward in the most endearing of ways. “I'm really proud of you. You've come a long way from the guy who shoved me in a locker at the beginning of the year...”
“Yeahhhh... Sorry about that...” Pierre muttered, only looking that much more adorably awkward.
David reached a hand up and cupped Pierre's cheek, pulling his face back to look down at him with a gentle smile. “Just the fact that you're truly sorry about it makes it feel like it never happened.”
The two shared a sweet smile for a few seconds longer before they pulled away from each other and made their way to their first class of the day. The moment that David had to move more than a few steps away from his boyfriend to take his seat in the back of the classroom, he felt his secure little bubble start to shake around the edges, a feeling that only got worse when they had to part ways entirely for separate classes. There were a few instances of classmates trying to pick on him, but David did what he had always done in the face of bullies: he ignored them. He knew that Pierre would handle the situation differently than he did, but David just didn't have the kind of courage that Pierre did, he thought. Pierre seemed so fearless, and he was tackling the situation with a kind of nonchalance and pride that David wished he possessed.
During lunch, a few boys attempted to get under Pierre's skin. They taunted and name called but nothing they said seemed to get through to the senior. He countered every word they spoke with a kind of valiant swagger that David just didn't know anything about, something which made David look at the older boy with a renewed sense of amazement and wonder. In the face of everything he had been through and all of the twists and turns life had thrown at him in the past few months, Pierre still managed to be strong. He could still wear a brave face and let the world know that he was Pierre Fucking Bouvier and that nothing was ever going to get him down. This was why David knew that his boyfriend would face less ribbing than he would; he simply wouldn't let it shake him, and after a while, people would stop trying. Oh, what David would have given to have even a quarter of the senior's confidence.
And, sure enough, by the end of the following week, the shock that had rocked the school just tens of days previously was already old news. It couldn't be said that things were exactly the same, however. While practically nobody was bothering either one of them about their newly founded relationship, at the same time, no one was really talking to either one of them anymore about anything. The friends who had always crowded around Pierre were no where to be seen. He had once been the center of attention, the one that the other students had looked to for advice on what was cool and what was to be avoided; now, it was as if he was a ghost that only the teachers paid attention to. This was not how he had expected things to go, and David could see how it ate at him.
When there was a mandatory meeting for all of the boys who had played on the hockey team, nearly a month had gone by since those life-altering pictures had been posted all over the school. The school administration's desperation to catch the student who had been responsible were becoming more desperate, going so far at one point as to offer a cash reward for information leading to the discovery of who had done it. David and Pierre had both been questioned multiple times by multiple teachers and each time had never been able to give any answers. Every meeting he sat through only increased David's sense of unease. What would he do if the truth came out, that he knew who had done it and had actually helped plan it out? He was sure that he would be in just as much trouble as Jenny, even if he had backed out before Jenny had seen it through. What would happen to him? What would happen to Jenny? And more frightening yet, what would happen to his relationship with Pierre?
After the countless meetings he had been called to over the issue, David had no doubt in his mind that this mandatory meeting with the hockey team was about his and Pierre's public outing. He felt his stomach work itself into knots the closer he got, a feeling which only intensified when Pierre stepped up next to him and took his hand. He glanced at his boyfriend, who gave him a warm, reassuring smile, and David only felt worse, though he did his best to smile in return. Pierre knew just as well as David did what this meeting was about, David could see it in his face, but he was braver than David was, or maybe he was just better at hiding his fear. Sometimes, it was hard to tell with the senior, who was so determined to be the strong shoulder to cry on.
When they got into the locker room and took seats on the benches as they had done so many times before, David took a moment to look around at his teammates. Nobody looked particularly hostile toward him and Pierre but at the same time, nobody looked friendly, either. The soft hum of quiet conversations filled the room, but neither David nor Pierre said anything. It was obvious in the air of the room that this meeting was about them; everybody could feel it and nobody seemed to be very pleased about it. When the coach walked into the room and the door swung shut behind him, however, everything stopped and all attention was immediately on him.
“I'm sure you're all wondering why you got called here,” the coach started. His voice held a professional air to it, completely devoid of any of the affection he usually held for his players. It felt ominous to everyone present. “The school board is up-in-arms about this picture,” he continued, and as he did, he pulled a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and held it up for everyone to see. David's heart throbbed in his chest and his lungs squeezed when he saw the image of himself tangled in Pierre's embrace. Pierre reached over and squeezed David's hand for a few seconds before returning to his own lap in a sign of solidarity; it only made David feel worse. “The way they see it, someone in this room is responsible and I hate to say it, but I think they're right.”
Silence followed those words and for a moment, eyes darted around the room. David could see the searching on his teammate's faces, each one of those boys looking around in a sincere attempt to discover who was actually behind it all. They were all innocent and he knew it for a fact, but he felt stuck in his own body, unable to tell the truth for fear of everything he could lose. He didn't want to be expelled. He didn't want Jenny to be expelled either, no matter what she had done to him. Most of all, though, he didn't want to lose Pierre.
“Since no one is coming forward about this, the school board has decided that... until someone is caught, this hockey team is disbanded.”
An uproar so loud shocked the room that a gunshot could have rang in the hall outside the doors and no one would have heard it. Where before all of the students had been quiet and respectful, now they were standing, yelling, shouting that it was unfair.
“But we didn't do anything!” a student complained.
“How can they do this?!” came another boy's voice.
“This isn't our fault!”
Complaints were flying in so heatedly that David could barely make one out from the other as he sat and stared around at his classmates, his eyes wide and his mouth agape in horror. He heard the words “careers” and “scholarships” thrown around left and right, words that made him want to sink into the floor and quit existing.
“THAT'S ENOUGH!” the coach's voice cut through the rest and he banged his fist on a locker door. Immediately the room fell silent once more, no one daring to speak another word. “Obviously this isn't what anyone wants but the school is out of options! It looks bad that they haven't had any results in this matter and calls from parents demanding action are flooding in faster than ever! I'm sorry but until someone comes forward and admits fault to this, there's no more team!”
David was staring at the coach's face, too terrified to look around the room at his teammates. He knew that not a single person in that room aside from himself had any part in what had happened and yet they were all being punished because of it. If they hadn't hated him and Pierre before, they would most definitely hate them now, he was sure of it.
The coach looked around the room, searching every face for a hint of guilt. When he got to David, he had a different kind of look, however, a look of pity that David knew he didn't deserve. The coach was looking at David's expression and reading the wrong meaning behind it. He saw fear and assumed that David was strictly the victim in this instance; David knew that he was just as much culprit as he was victim.
With a sigh, the coach looked back to the room at large and shook his head slowly. “So be it,” he said in a tired, defeated voice, and without saying another word he left the room the way he came, leaving a wake of devastation behind him. Even more than before, David wished he could melt into the concrete beneath his feet.
“This is all your fault,” a voice came, and David knew immediately that the boy was talking to him. He looked up, sad and afraid, unable to speak.
“Yeah, because we asked for this to happen,” Pierre snapped back without hesitation. David tensed next to him.
“Don't even!” the boy argued back fiercely, gaining a chorus of approval from the other boys in the room. “It's your fault we're in this mess! But I guess you don't care 'cause you already have your college scholarship and the world is fucking perfect for you! It doesn't matter that we're suffering because you can't keep your tongue in your girlfriend's mouth!”
Pierre stood faster than David had ever seen him move off the ice and started to move toward the boy in a menacing fashion, but he only got halfway across the room before other boys had moved and come to stand face to face with him. Most of their teammates were left sitting but there were five boys surrounding Pierre, all glaring hard with fists clenched at their sides. “I'm sorry it came out like this but it's NOT my fault and it's NOT David's fault. It's obvious someone in this room took the picture so whoever did it just needs to come forward and admit it.” His voice was level and cool but there was a level of anger in his words that no one wanted to challenge, even if Pierre was vastly out-numbered. He had a quality that left him unchallenged in life, almost like an alpha-dog, the biggest and baddest of the pack. Even now, it was clear that he was still in charge.
David swallowed a lump in his throat and stood, moving to stand shakily behind his boyfriend. “Come on... Let's just go...” David said softly. The last thing he wanted was for Pierre to get his ass kicked defending him over something that was most definitely his fault.
The boys stared at each other for a couple seconds longer before Pierre stepped back and grabbed David's hand. Together, they turned and made their way back toward the door that would lead them to the hallway, Pierre's hard expression unchanging and David's heart pounding wildly in fear. No one made a sound as they left, something which David was grateful for; he really hadn't wanted it to end in a fight that the two of them would have most definitely lost. Strong and fit or not, there was no way the two of them could have stood up against the whole boy's hockey team on their own.
“Well I'm done with school for today,” Pierre said out of nowhere, pulling David out of his thoughts. He looked up at Pierre, who looked down at him and offered a forced smile. “Wanna skip the rest?”
David nodded, replying with a softly spoken, “Please,” and together they made their way out to the student parking lot, which was full of cars but completely devoid of other students. When they got to Pierre's car, the two stopped and looked at each other. David could see the discomfort on Pierre's face, no matter how hard he was working to pretend that he wasn't bothered by what had just happened and David knew that it was just as obvious on his own features, even if Pierre wasn't saying anything about it.
“Well... someone has to come forward now, right?” Pierre said quietly. David just shrugged and looked away, feeling nausea twisting its way into his stomach. “Even if no one does, I guess they're getting what they deserve... Fucking traitors,” he added bitterly.
David looked back at his boyfriend with surprise and sadness. Now more than ever, he could see how much it hurt Pierre to think that one of his closest friends had done something this treacherous to him. He wanted to take the pain away, to tell Pierre the truth of who had done it, but how could he throw Jenny under the bus like that, and how would their relationship stand up against what he had done? Still, he couldn't help his need to try and make Pierre feel better about it.
“I dunno... I don't really think any of them did it...” David started awkwardly.
Pierre's eyebrows pulled together and he pulled his hand out of David's grasp, something which shot pangs of pain through the younger boy's chest. “It had to be one of them. They're the only ones that would have been in the room to do it,” he reasoned slowly.
“But I looked at their faces and they all seemed innocent. Their shock seemed sincere to me... I really don't think it was any of them,” David reasoned back, though he was cautious in his approach. He couldn't let Pierre continue to be broken hearted by this but he was terrified of the truth coming out at the same time.
“Okay, who did it then?” Pierre asked bluntly, and the question caught David completely off guard.
He blushed hard and looked away, stuttering out a response of, “I-I d-don't know... I-it could have been a-anybody...”
The seconds ticked by in which Pierre didn't speak, and David felt himself getting redder in the face with everyone one of them. Why had Pierre asked him so boldly? Withholding information had been hard enough, but actually lying right to his boyfriend's face?
“Do you know something you're not telling me?” Pierre asked, his voice calm and quiet, but there again was that edge of anger that David had found so terrifying not even ten minutes previously.
“What? No!” David replied too quickly, his voice raising in pitch drastically.
Pierre's mouth slowly dropped open and he stared at David in disbelief, not moving an inch otherwise. “You know something...” was all that he said, and instantly tears were flooding David's eyes.
“No! Pierre, I—”
“Oh my god, you do!” Pierre accused, and suddenly he was yelling.
“No!” David cried, but he could see on Pierre's face that there was no more hiding the truth.
“You know who did this!” Pierre continued angrily, and just as he promised would never happen again, he grabbed David's shoulders hard and shook him. “Who are you protecting?!” he yelled harshly.
David sunk into himself, his tears flowing freely down his cheeks now. “Pierre, I-I'm not—”
“Quit lying to me!” Pierre screamed, shaking David again hard. He stared at David hard for a long moment, his eyes moving furiously around all the aspects of David's face for any trace of information, and then it appeared that something suddenly occurred to him and all traces of anger slipped away, leaving instead a look of dumbfounded realization. “It was Jenny, wasn't it?” Pierre's voice was low and dangerous, shaking slightly in his extreme anger. “Wasn't it?!” he yelled, gripping David's shoulders hard and shaking him again.
“I'm sorry!” was all David could manage out, but it was too late.
“How long have you known about this?!” Pierre demanded quickly. “How long have you been lying to me?! Did you think I wasn't gonna find out?! That I'm too stupid and trusting to put it all together?!” David shook his head, unable to do anything else in that moment. “Next you're gonna tell me that you knew she was gonna do this!”
This accusation was unlike anything else Pierre had said to David. Out of pure reaction, David's head snapped up and he stared wide-eyed at Pierre, fear and regret soaking his features and making him look even smaller than usual. Pierre was too quick to pick up on this.
He released his hold on David and took a staggering step back, momentarily stunned speechless. “You...” he breathed, taking another step back.
“Pierre...” David breathed back, his face rife with pleading.
“You knew this was gonna happen?” he whispered, though David still heard every word.
“Let me e-explain...” David begged desperately, but Pierre shook his head.
“Was all of this just some sick game to you?” Pierre continued, his voice still in a desperate, choked whisper.
“No! I swear! Just let me explain!” David pleaded, his voice stronger now in the face of losing the one thing he was most terrified of losing.
“NO!” Pierre screamed at him, causing David to flinch back from him. “We're done! Don't EVER fucking talk to me AGAIN!” And with that, he grabbed his car keys from his pocket, got into his sedan and peeled out of the parking lot.
David stood in his wake for a long time, staring down the road after him and wishing he could have changed literally everything about how that conversation had gone. But he knew that changing the conversation alone wouldn't have done anything. He needed to go back in time and change the stupid decisions he had made. How could he have been so dumb? He sunk to his knees and cried, not caring about his surroundings or if someone came up on him. Everything he had once held dear was gone from him now. What did it matter if people saw him losing it?
“...David?” a cautious voice came from behind him, and immediately David knew who it was, though he didn't bother to turn to look at her.
“What do you want, Jenny?” he asked, his voice thick and nasally with crying. “Come to rub it in? Congratulations, I ruined my own life with a little help from you. Just... Go away and leave me alone.” He kept his head bent and his eyes down on the ground, not caring in the slightest for his oldest friend in that moment; he didn't think he would ever care again, though maybe it was unwise for him to turn her away now that he had no one else.
“I... I'm sorry,” she apologized timidly.
David gave a bitter chuckle as she stepped around to stand in front of him, but he didn't look up at her. “You're sorry,” he whispered. “Great. That really helps me now. Thanks so much for your apology, I don't know how I would go on without it,” he continued sarcastically.
“Please, David,” Jenny replied, and she sunk down on the ground in front of him, sitting on her knees just as he was. He glanced up at her as if he couldn't help it, his expression cold and hostile. “I was really messed up to you. What I did was so wrong and I know it... I was just angry and hurt. I didn't feel important to you anymore and it made me crazy jealous. I was impulsive and stupid and... a-and I was a... a b-bitch.”
David straightened up a little bit more and looked at Jenny, the anger fading from his features and leaving his face blank. Cursing wasn't something that Jenny did ever and the fact that she had just done it about herself meant something to David that he couldn't quite explain. “You were a bitch,” he replied, getting a small sense of satisfaction at the way she flinched at the word, but she didn't try to defend herself and that spoke volumes to him, as well.
Then he started to think of the way he would have felt had the situation been reversed. He had left her in the dark, not explained the things he had come to learn of Pierre and he knew she had every right to be angry with him for backing out on her. Would he have posted the picture all over the school the way she had done had it been her and Pierre kissing? He didn't honestly know the answer to that, and immediately he started to feel a bubble of sympathy and forgiveness welling inside of him. The whole time he hadn't been able to find it in himself to blame her for what she had done, not until his relationship with Pierre had been ruined in the process, but again, he knew he could only blame himself for that. She didn't make him lie to Pierre, he had done that on his own. Again, by not trusting someone he cared about, he had pushed them away. He had done it first to Jenny, and now to Pierre. David's expression shifted to sadness and he reached out and grabbed her hand.
“But so was I,” he continued softly. “I should have been honest with you about what I was feeling for Pierre... I should have told you the truth about him when I figured it out and I didn't. I thought you were going to hate me and you wouldn't understand so I hid it from you but... that just made you crazy jealous. We were both wrong... I can't blame you for what happened.”
“So...” Jenny started nervously, her already pink cheeks flushing and her eyes clouding with tears. “Do you think... we could be friends again?”
David nodded and simultaneously the two hugged tightly. “But we have to be more honest with each other. Sometimes I feel like... like you kind of use me to get what you want...” he admitted quietly.
Jenny hugged David tighter. “I'm sorry. I know I can be really selfish and conceited. I don't mean to be and I promise I'm gonna work on it. Just tell me when I'm doing it and I promise I'll stop.”
David nodded and he pulled back, giving a watery smile to the girl who had always been there for him, despite her flaws. He had flaws too, after all. He had been just as much at fault in this situation as she had. “Wanna go back to my house, eat brownies and talk about boys?” he asked, trying to lighten the mood, even if only temporarily. Jenny nodded and smiled back at him. “I have a lot I need to tell you about Pierre.”
Together, the two stood and made their way to David's car. From that moment until the night ended, there wasn't another quiet spell between the two. They talked all night, David explaining all of Pierre's behaviors and why he acted the way he had in the past, and for the moment, not everything was falling down around him. Pierre was another problem he could worry about another day. For that night, he was catching up with an old friend and making the world feel a little bit more normal again. He owed it to himself to start to set things right, he thought.