Chapter: Seventeen, FINAL
Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 11,037
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: Oh boy. Well, it's been two years and I honestly can't believe it's been that long already. I'm sorry it took so long and thank you to anyone who is still around wanting to read the end of this story! I say this every time after a long absence, but I imagine that I will always write, even if it's not always P/D or even if it's not even every year. I truly love to do it and it means so much to me to get comments asking if I'm going to continue, even though it's been LITERAL YEARS since I posted last. Really, thanks. <3
What was it about doing the right thing—especially when considering how horrible the consequences would be—that made time seem to fly? David tossed and turned throughout the night, unable to keep his mind clear of images that disturbed him to his core. He saw the Principal telling him he was a horrible person and expelling him from school. He saw Jenny telling him that he was an awful friend, a traitor and that she would never forgive him for turning them in, but worse than anything else that he could think of to torture himself with, he saw Pierre. The images he saw of Pierre weren't ones that his mind had created to make him feel horrible. No, the only scenes of Pierre he saw in his head were real, the things that he had already experienced with the senior. He saw the hurt in the older boy's eyes when he realized that David had been lying to him; he saw the anger and the hatred that Pierre had felt toward him when the truth had finally come out and God, it hurt more than anything had hurt him since the death of his mother. Had anyone told him that he would experience a type of pain that would make him forget—even if only momentarily—the pain of losing his own mother, he would have thought that they were crazy. But there he was, laying in bed, unable to sleep because all he could think of was how much he had hurt Pierre and how much he hated himself for it.
When had he started to feel so much for the senior? David rolled on his side, not seeing his nightstand or the light that sat atop it, though they were clearly within view, even through the darkness of his room. He lay with his eyes open, tears welling up in them as he thought of Pierre and all that he had done to him. He knew that he should have come clean to Pierre from the beginning, before Jenny had had the opportunity to take those pictures and post them all over the school. He knew after kissing the older boy for the first time that he should have come clean; he should have told him about the ridiculous plan he and Jenny had come up with to ruin his chances at getting recruited to an NHL team. He should have been as upfront with Pierre about how the boy had hurt him as Pierre had been with him about all of the things he went through in his daily life. Wouldn't he have understood? In the past, David would have thought Pierre incapable of understanding much more than “one plus one equals two,” but he knew the boy better now; he knew that Pierre would have forgiven him.
David bit down on his lip to keep his tears from spilling and rolled onto his back again, trying to stare at his ceiling to distract himself but unable to see anything but Pierre's deep chocolate eyes, shining with unshed tears when he had realized what David had done. A sudden wetness in his ears told David that he had lost the battle with him self to keep from crying and he gave a gentle sniff and began to blink rapidly, shaking his head at himself in irritation. What right did he have to cry after everything he had done? As much as he knew that Pierre had no reason to ever forgive him, he knew that all of the pain he was feeling in that moment had been brought on entirely by himself. He could have told Jenny that he didn't want to hurt Pierre. He could have been honest with her about what he was feeling for the older boy as soon as he had started to feel it. Maybe if he had trusted that Jenny would still accept him and that Pierre would forgive him, things might have turned out differently. Then again, all of that would have required for David to have been honest with himself, and that was the last thing he had been prepared to do.
If there was one thing that David was the most angry at himself for, it would have been that. Hadn't it been there from the beginning of this whole fiasco, staring him in the face? As he lay there, staring at his ceiling and blinking away tears, his mind replayed the entirety of his journey with Pierre, from the first time he felt pity for the boy, to the last conversation they had ever—and probably would ever—have and everything in between. He rolled to his side again and pulled the blankets over his head, curling into a ball and willing it all away. All he wanted was to forget everything and fall asleep but no matter how hard he tried, his mind wouldn't stop playing the scenes of his time with Pierre over and over again. He thought of the first time he had stepped on the ice and the way Pierre had helped him along; the way Pierre had held onto his arms and kept him upright, when he so easily could have let the other boy fall; how he had freaked out and called David a fag when he had accidentally grabbed his hand for stability. After everything he had come to know of the boy and the few weeks they had spent together as boyfriends, David saw it all differently now. Had Pierre felt something, too? Had he been frightened by what he had felt? Was that why he had shoved David away so harshly and stormed off? A heavy sigh left his chest and lips and he curled tighter into himself, shaking his head at the memory.
And even though he was exhausted and all he wanted was to sleep, the memories wouldn't stop. Perhaps it was the deep longing he felt for the senior's presence that kept the images fresh in his mind. He felt his heart begin to pound in his chest and his eyes slid open again as his mind replayed the night in Pierre's car when the two had gotten stuck in the snow. It hadn't been the first time that Pierre had let his guard down and David had gotten to see a softer side of the older boy, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. The image was so burned into his mind that he could still see the glimmer in the older boy's eyes as he gazed into them; he could still feel Pierre's fingers on his skin and his breath on his face. The way Pierre's eyes had flicked down to his lips and back to his eyes more than once had been enough to tell David, even in the moment, that Pierre had been very near to kissing him. There was a huge part of him that wished he had let Pierre kiss him in that moment, that he could have just admitted to himself what Pierre had come to mean to him, even so soon after getting closer to him. If only he hadn't been such a coward.
As he thought of all of the times Pierre had opened up to him and all of the truly awe-inspiring things he had ever said to him, David found himself wondering if he had ever met anyone as brave as the older boy was. To risk everything that Pierre had risked, to find a way to accept the fact that he had developed feelings for a guy and to not let anything that his family or his friends might think stop him from exploring those feelings told David that Pierre was quite possibly the most courageous person he had ever known. Yes, he had wanted to wait until high school was over to be out together, but after that he promised that the world would know who they were to each other and though David had been with someone who had made similar promises once before, he couldn't help but believe that Pierre was telling him the truth. And with all of that in mind, it absolutely killed him to think that he had lost out on his one chance to be with him because he had been too cowardly to just admit that he had made a mistake. The more he thought about it, the more he knew that Pierre would have forgiven him had he just been honest with him about everything; Pierre had done more than enough to tell David that it was true. He shook his head at himself once more at the thought, reminding himself that all of those thoughts were too late. What was the point in tormenting himself with what could have been, when any chance for it to ever be had gone so far out the window that there was no chance of ever getting it back?
But then... Why hadn't Pierre gone forward with the truth about David and Jenny? Why did he continue to let the hockey team suffer when he knew who had been responsible for the betrayal? His father's words rang through his mind, fresh and raw. ”I would do the same thing for someone I loved.” Love. Did Pierre really love him? As the thought crossed his mind, he forced himself to recall images of the other boy, trying to find a loving glimmer in his eyes, or adoration in his smile. Certainly, there had been times when Pierre had looked at David and his whole face had lit up with affection but... love? David shoved the thought away, shaking his head once more and attempting to hide his face in his pillow. The thought was too much to bear. It had been bad enough losing Pierre over doing something so stupid and being too afraid to own up to it, but when he thought that he had lost the boy's love? It ached through his core in a way that he had never experienced before. No, Pierre couldn't have loved him; David couldn't stand to think it might be true.
Before he knew what had happened, his alarm was going off and it was time to start the day. David groaned as he pulled himself out of bed, unsure if he had ever actually fallen asleep or not. That morning went like every morning went; he woke up, he showered, he got dressed, did his hair, had his breakfast and coffee and was out the door. Even though the morning itself was relatively normal, it was with a sense of dread that he got into his car and started the engine. For a moment, he paused and simply stared out of the windshield, his hands gripping his steering wheel a little bit tighter than was strictly necessary as his mind replayed all of those images from the night before. Would any of them come true? Would he once again lose his friendship with Jenny? Was he going to get expelled before he even had a chance to step foot into his first class of the morning? And if he did get kicked out of school, would Pierre notice his absence? Would he care? David took a deep breath and let it out slowly, relaxing his hands on his steering wheel. “It's the right thing to do. Just... do it,” he told himself, his voice soft. With a firm nod to himself, he pulled out of the driveway and started on his morning drive toward Jenny's house.
He texted when he got there, though, like every other day, he knew it would be a few minutes before her curly, red head would poke out of her front door. Under most circumstances, David didn't mind that she was always running behind; he arrived early enough in the morning to make up for it, so she never made them late for class. That morning, however, he felt some strange combination of irritation and gratitude at her perpetual tardiness. The longer she took, the more time he had to be alone with his thoughts and with the reality of what he was about to do, which only made him feel even more anxious than he already was but at the same time, he couldn't think of another time when he had been more terrified to proceed and part of him was grateful that walking into the Principal's office and coming clean was being prolonged, even if only for another five minutes. The mixture of intense emotions was extremely unnerving.
When the door opened, David gave a small jump and turned to face his friend, who had startled him in the middle of his mental rant. Jenny gave him a skeptical smile, her eyebrow raised. “I'm usually the one still sleeping in the morning,” she commented lightly.
When David gave a distracted, “...yeah,” and said nothing else, her brow furrowed and she turned her head to face him more fully.
“Are you okay?” she asked, concern ringing through her question.
David was silent for several long seconds, his eyes staring at the road ahead and both hands once again gripping at the steering wheel as if doing so might save him from what he was about to say. “I don't know,” he muttered in response. His heart was pounding in his chest and he was terrified to look at his friend, afraid of what expression she might be wearing.
Had he looked, he would have seen true worry. “David... what's wrong?” she asked gently, though she had a feeling that whatever was bothering him, it was going to be something to do with Pierre.
He took a moment to respond, terrified of how she was going to react. “Jenny... We have to tell the truth.” David waited a few seconds, wondering if she was going to say anything to him or not. He glanced at her for the first time since she got in the car and instantly he felt as if his heart sank into his stomach. She was staring at him as if he had just spoken a desire to cut off one of her limbs and sell it on the black market. He gave a sigh and looked ahead again, shaking his head slowly. “Don't look at me like that. Can you really live with taking hockey away from all those guys over something we know none of them did?”
“So what?” she responded incredulously. “All they've ever done is bully us! Why should we care if they can't play hockey?”
David shook his head again, feeling irritated. “Because it's wrong. We're taking away careers! Scholarships! Futures! How does that not bother you?”
“Sorry if I don't care about the well being of a bunch of jerks who have done nothing but go out of their way to make us feel horrible about ourselves,” she responded waspishly, and David could see that he was getting nowhere with her.
“Then... do it for me. I've never hated myself as much as I have these past few weeks. We shouldn't have tried to mess with Pierre in the first place and now...” he trailed off softly, wanting to express just how much he felt for the senior but unsure of how much worse it would make the situation.
Jenny didn't respond for a long time and David didn't say anything else on the matter. It wasn't until they pulled into the school parking lot and he had turned off the car that he broke the silence. He pulled the key out of the ignition and held it in his hand, turning it over and over between his fingers as he stared down at it. “Then I'll do it. I'll take full responsibility for it. I'll say that I set up a camera to take the picture and that I posted it all over the school.”
“David...” Jenny responded, shaking her head slowly.
“I have to make this right, Jenny,” David told her, looking at her. His hazel eyes were swimming with tears that he desperately wished weren't there. The two stared at each other, Jenny looking sad and uncomfortable, David looking desperate for her understanding. “...I have to.”
With that, David got out of his car, grabbing his messenger bag from the backseat and walking toward the school, not bothering to see if Jenny was following him or not.
“You're in love with him, aren't you?” her voice came suddenly, and David stopped. It wasn't the first time she had accused him of such but her tone this time was much different than it had been on the previous occasion. Where before she had sounded angry and disgusted, now she sounded contemplative and there was a touch of pity in her question.
David stopped walking and turned to face her again, his hand grabbing onto the strap of his messenger bag for something to do. “It doesn't matter if I do or don't,” he responded sadly. “I messed up every chance I had with him. What's the point of dwelling on what I might or might not feel?”
“It matters, David,” Jenny tried to reason. David shook his head and looked off to the side, his eyes finding a patch of ground to stare at while he tried to keep his emotions at bay.
“No... it doesn't,” he responded finally, before turning back toward the school and starting to walk again.
“Just!” she called, stopping him once more in his tracks. He turned to look at her again, completely defeated. “Just... wait until the end of the day. Can you do that?” she asked quietly. David contemplated her for a moment before he gave a nod and turned back around. Jenny caught up to him and began to talk about other things. David thought that she might have been trying to make things feel normal again, even if just for the rest of the day. Despite his father's anecdotal story, he had a hard time imagining that he wasn't going to get expelled on the spot when he walked into the office and told the Principal that he had been the one to take the picture and spread it through the school. Would anyone believe him? He supposed that it wouldn't matter so long as he took full responsibility and stood behind it. As he and Jenny parted and he stepped into his first class of the day, his mind wandered inevitably to Pierre. The news would obviously be spread when the hockey team was reinstated and how hard would it be to figure out which student was missing? Would Pierre care? He shook his head lightly at himself, reminding himself that Pierre's emotions were none of his business anymore. He wasn't taking the blame for the whole fiasco in a selfish attempt to try to get the senior back; he was simply doing what he felt was right.
David kept his head down as he passed Pierre, taking his seat in the back of the classroom and absolutely refusing to look up. David hadn't looked at the older boy since the last time they spoke and his fragile heart begged him to keep it that way, especially in light of how his day was set to end. In all honesty, he didn't feel that he deserved to look at the other boy, but there was also a part of him that didn't want to risk seeing so much pain and hatred on his face again. He had seen Pierre get angry; he had seen him laugh; he had seen him get deeply emotional... but none of it compared to the way he had looked at David the day that the truth had come out. David didn't think he would ever forget the way Pierre's brown eyes had stared into his own hazel ones, nor did he think that he would be able to handle seeing it directed his way again. No, since that day, David had kept his eyes resolutely down whenever he was anywhere near his ex—the boy that he may or may not have been in love with, would he allow himself to think of it. Some things were just better off untested, he thought.
David got through the rest of his morning classes in much the same way, though there was a voice in the back of his mind asking him why he was bothering. He was going to throw it all away at the end of the day over something that he definitely didn't do but had definitely inspired to happen. His mind was heavy as he made his way into the cafeteria, his eyes trained on the ground as he walked, his hand gripping yet again on the strap of his messenger bag. As he turned a corner, however, he felt his body collide with something. His eyes shut tight and his hands flew out in front of him as his body was bounced backward. It took his dazed mind a few seconds to realize that the fall that should have happened never came, and slowly he opened his eyes, blinking ahead of him. He saw a chest of a familiar shape and size and instantly it was as if all of the air had left the room. He felt goosebumps erupt down his neck and along his arms at the impossibility of it, and rather than looking up to see if the face that went with that body was the one he thought it might be, he looked from side to side, seeing large hands holding onto his arms. He felt the grip on his arms loosen though the hands didn't drop; instead, the touch became gentle—tender, almost.
Suddenly David regained the ability to breathe. His chest rose and fell heavily and his eyes clouded with tears, the tears that had been threatening to make an appearance all day; he had finally reached the breaking point, the thing that he could no longer hold back from. Slowly, he tilted his head up, his eyes traveling up a toned, muscular body, to a perfectly shaped pair of lips, and finally onto deep brown eyes, the eyes that he told himself he could never look into again. Pierre. David stared up at him desperately, breathing in an almost frantic manner, trying to dissect the look in Pierre's eyes and wishing that the taller boy would just say something. After what felt like an eternity, Pierre dropped his hands and stepped past him, his eyes going hard as he walked off, his hands clenched into fists by his side. David turned and watched him as he left, a soft, “P-Pierre...” leaving his lips. When Pierre turned another corner and was gone from sight, David glanced down and realized that he had reached out of him without meaning to. Slowly he dropped his arm back to his side and he turned around, walking in the opposite direction the other boy had disappeared.
He walked through halls, turning corners and continuing on until he was sure that no one was anywhere near. Turning toward a wall, he pressed his forehead and his fists against it, squeezing his eyes shut and holding his breath in an attempt to keep himself from crying, though moment his lungs gave way and he was forced to take a deep, ragged breath, he lost it. He slid to the ground, his knees hitting the floor as he hunched against the wall, his body shaking with the sobs that he just couldn't hold back anymore. This was precisely why he hadn't allowed himself to look at Pierre—why he had been avoiding his gaze like he would turn to stone if he caught even the slightest glimpse at him, though, had he been able to think clearly, he would have reminded himself that turning to stone would have been less painful. His mind wasn't capable of stringing together conscious thought in that moment, however. All he could do was cry and recall with perfect detail the way it felt to be held by Pierre—to be touched by him, to be kissed, to be protected and... loved? A spike of anger at himself brought David's fist roughly against the wall at the mere thought of the word. What was the point of any of it? He had lost Pierre and that was all there was to it. No... he hadn't lost him. He had thrown him away.
It took some time before David was able to pull himself together and turn to sit with his back against the wall, staring unseeingly ahead of himself but at least not crying anymore. At one point he had been vaguely aware that the bell had rung signaling the end of lunch, and yet another telling him that his next class had started. In that moment, he really didn't care that he was missing class, even more so when he reminded himself that if he walked into that classroom he would have to walk by Pierre. Perhaps he was lucky that he would be getting kicked out of school at the end of the day. Wouldn't it be easier that way? He would never have to run the risk of running into Pierre again, and wouldn't that make both of their lives more comfortable, if not better? They were destined to be exes, after all; perhaps taking himself completely out of the picture was the right thing to do.
When the next bell rang, David took a deep breath and made himself stand. His face felt stiff with tears but it had been long enough since he had broken down that he was confident that his face wouldn't still be red and puffy. It was with a somber expression that he went to his next class, keeping his eyes down so as to not make eye contact with anyone whatsoever. David just wanted to get through the rest of his day in peace. Exhaustion hit him during his last class of the day and more than once he found himself leaning his head against his desk, wishing very much that the bell would ring and put an end to his horrible day.
“Head up, David,” his teacher called firmly, and David gave a sigh. He knew by the squeaking of chairs that the whole class had turned to look at him and he sat up straight but turned to look out the window with an air of defiance, his face emotionless and pale. He couldn't tell if Pierre was looking at him or not but he stared as hard as he could at a tree just outside the window. There was a cynical voice in his head pointing out how unfortunate it was that almost all of his classes were with the senior. Why did he have to be smart? Sure, he wasn't Jenny smart, but most of his classes were taken with seniors, pretty much all of them with Pierre. He swallowed hard as his mind wandered back to the encounter they had just shared in the hall. Now that his mind was clear, he could recall the look on Pierre's face. As puzzling as it was, he didn't think that Pierre had looked angry, and the way he held him was gentle and sweet. If anything, David thought that he had seemed sad. He bit his lips together and forced himself to think of other things, knowing that if he allowed himself to continue on his current thought process, he would start to cry again and that was the last thing he wanted.
Instead, David started thinking about what he was going to say to the Principal, rehearsing the exact words he would use to take the blame for the picture. Again, he wondered if he would be believed. After all, why would he do such a thing to himself? But then he reminded himself that the plan had originally been to do it to himself, and he knew he could make it believable. All he had to say was that he didn't like Pierre so he had tricked him into it to ruin his reputation. Was it really so farfetched? It was the idea behind the whole scheme to begin with. The only difference was that when they first came up with the idea, the only person it was supposed to hurt was Pierre. Had anyone told David at the beginning of the year that he would fall for the senior in his attempt to destroy his life, he would have called them crazy. When he really stopped to think about it, he was a little bit amazed at how differently the year had gone than any of the previous. He had discovered so much about himself, from his innate goal keeping skills to just how truly petty he could be. Shame flooded his chest and once again David was visited by the feeling that the end of class couldn't come quickly enough.
When the bell rang, however, David was slow to gather his things. He didn't want to have to walk past Pierre, to risk running into him again. Truth be told, he was hoping for as few people as possible to be around when he walked into the Principal's office and did what he knew he had to do. After a few minutes, David knew that he couldn't stall any longer and he stood, slinging his bag over his shoulder and walking slowly out of the classroom and down the hall. He looked around as he walked, taking in the color of the walls and lockers and glancing in classrooms for what was most likely going to be the last time. He felt a strange sense of nostalgia as he walked through, even though he really hadn't had any good memories of the school until he had joined the hockey team and made some friends... until he had become close with Pierre. It felt strange to think that he would probably never walk those halls again, though when compared to the absolute knowledge that Pierre would never talk to him again, his departure from the school didn't seem nearly as bad.
He took a deep breath and held it for a moment when he finally got to the door of the Principal's office. He stared inside, trying to pluck up the courage to walk inside. As he raised his hand to grab the door knob, his eyes caught something that stopped him dead in his tracks. Jenny walked out into the sitting area, her eyes red and teary, wiping her cheeks as he headed for the door that David had been two seconds from walking though. He took a step back and let her come through, staring at her with concern and confusion. “Jenny... wha...” he mumbled out incoherently.
She turned to look at him, giving him a watery smile. “You were right. It was the right thing to do,” she told him simply.
“Did you really just...?” David asked, unable to finish the question.
She nodded in response and reached the back of her hand up to wipe away another tear as it left her eye. “I didn't say anything about you. I took full responsibility for it,” she explained in a hushed tone.
David was floored at that, words escaping him for a few seconds. When he did find the ability to speak again, the only word he could manage was, “Why?”
“I didn't do it for him,” she started, sounding defiant. Then her gaze softened and she gave a weak smile, adding quietly, “I did it for you.”
“Jen...” David whispered, looking at her sadly.
She shook her head, the weak smile dropping from her lips as he did. “No, it wasn't your mistake to make right. I took the picture, I printed off a billion copies, I taped them up everywhere. I wasn't thinking about you when I did it or how it would affect you. I wasn't thinking about how Pierre was obviously really into you or how happy that must have made you... I couldn't just let you be happy with him. I didn't really get it until I saw you together,” she explained, her cheeks flushing gently. David looked at her quizzically so she continued, sounding reluctant as she did. “I didn't mean to but... I saw you today...” The way that her voice sounded as she spoke told David exactly when she had seen him and what she had seen him doing. “You were ahead of me and I was trying to catch up and then I saw you bump into him... and the way he looked at you... and the way you looked when he walked away, and the way he looked... and then I... I followed you because I wanted to make sure you were okay and...” her voice trailed off and David's mouth fell slightly open, visited by the sudden reality that she had seen him completely break down. He didn't know whether to be embarrassed about it or not, though he supposed he shouldn't have felt ashamed of his own feelings. “I didn't know what to do... I didn't know if I should hug you or try to comfort you or just leave you alone... and I just...” her voice shook gently and David could tell that she was sincere in what she was saying. “I really saw for the first time how much I hurt you both when I did what I did. It's obvious that he still has feelings for you... but he doesn't trust you and that's my fault. I don't think I'll ever feel okay about that,” she admitted, looking down as she did.
“You may have put up all those pictures,” David started, drawing her attention back. “But I knew about it and I didn't tell him. That's what I'm most upset about. I ruined everything with him because I was too scared to tell him the truth and that's no one's fault but mine. I didn't trust him to forgive me after everything he'd done to prove that I could trust him with my life. I mean, he stayed with me for weeks after the whole picture thing. He dealt with everyone being dicks to us and he protected me a lot more than he let on... and all I had to do was tell him the truth and I couldn't even do that. It's not your fault that he doesn't trust me, it's mine.”
For a few seconds, neither one of them said anything. As the finality of her decision sank in, something occurred to David. “So... are you expelled?” he asked, trying to sound delicate but finding it difficult; there was something so harsh about the word expelled. Perhaps it was simply the implications of the word, but David thought there was just something generally unpleasant about the way it rolled off the tongue.
“Well, that sort of depends. I'm indefinitely suspended. We're going to have a meeting with Pierre and his parents and...” she trailed off, grimacing in a way that told David what she was going to say before she said it. He groaned and covered his face with his hands, shaking his head and wishing it could have been any other way. “...a-and you and your dad,” she finished her sentence, and even though he had known she was going to say it, it still made him cringe. “I'm sorry!” she exclaimed suddenly. David dropped his hands and looked at her, defeated and miserable. “It's really up to you guys if you want me kicked out or not. Sort of a 'pressing charges' kind of thing.”
David nodded, understanding. “No, it's good. I really don't think Pierre's going to push to have you expelled...” He didn't know how he knew it, but he did. Maybe it was the look that had been in Pierre's eyes when he had been staring down at him.
“And you?” she joked, though there was a tone to her voice that made David wonder if she she really questioned him.
He laughed and flicked her on the nose, bringing a watery laugh from her, as well. Together they walked to her locker and they talked, David leaning against the locker next to hers while she got some things out of it that she didn't want to leave for the next few weeks. He was in the middle of asking her if she would be allowed to keep working on homework while the decision was pending when Jenny suddenly went blank. David saw her eyes looking at something behind him and instantly he froze. Was Pierre behind them? Was that what she was looking at. Morbid curiosity made him turn, though when he did he saw nothing but an abandoned hall and he gave a sigh of relief. “Hello? Are you still with me?” he asked as he turned back around, and Jenny gave a slight jump.
“Oh! Sorry! I guess I spaced out there for a second,” she admitted and David smiled and shook his head at her. Then her eyes widened and she stood up straight, as if she had just thought of something. “Oh! Oh! I forgot!” she exclaimed. David's eyes widened and he stared at her like she had just sprouted tentacles for hands, waiting for her to elaborate. “Your hockey coach wants to see you! After I started explaining what I did, the Principal called him to the office and he said he wanted to see you! I'm sorry, I was so upset and all that I totally forgot to tell you. I think he said he'll be in his office, wherever that is...”
“It's in the locker room...” David replied, not excited about it in the slightest. He knew what the coach would want to talk to him about and he was dreading it. “Oh well, I guess I'd better go get this over with,” he said with a sigh. “Wait for me by the car? It shouldn't take long.” She nodded in response and David turned on the spot, letting his feet take him to that oh so familiar room. How many times had he been there now? He couldn't forget his last time there, the day that Pierre had found out the truth and their relationship had died. He stood outside the door when he got to it, feeling a flurry of nerves as he thought of all the times he and Pierre had been in there together, of the few times they had kissed inside of it. He pulled the door open and stepped inside, walking past rows of lockers to where the coach's office was, nestled in the back corner near the doors to the rink. His eyebrows pulled together when he realized the coach wasn't actually in his office, nor had he been anywhere in the locker room. He pushed on the door to the rink to open it but it was locked. “Hmm...” With a shrug of his shoulders he turned back around and sat on a bench near the door to the hall, deciding to sit and wait for the coach to show up. If he didn't get there within ten minutes, he would leave.
It wasn't long before he heard the door opening, though he wasn't close enough to see anyone walk in. “Coach?” he called, standing and beginning to walk toward the door. When he rounded a row of lockers and came face to face yet again with the very boy he was trying to avoid, he stopped dead in his tracks. At least this time he hadn't run into him, right?
“What are you doing here?” Pierre asked, his voice sounding hard and forceful, though unnaturally so, as if he was working very hard to make it sound that way.
David swallowed hard, unable to keep the hopelessly sad look off of his face as he replied, “Coach said he wanted to see me.”
“Me too. I wonder what he wants to see us for,” he pondered, temporarily confused enough to drop the touch act.
“Jenny turned herself in,” David explained, unable to think of a better way to put it simply. Pierre looked back at him, his face a mixture of anger and confusion. “So... it's probably about that...”
Pierre gave a nod and turned away from him, walking to sit on the very bench that David had just been sitting on. David followed after, sitting down next to him, though he sat on the opposite end as far away as he possibly could. His stomach was tied in knots as he sat there, wanting to break the silence, to ask Pierre how he was, if he had missed him... but he couldn't. So instead, they sat, waiting for the coach to show up, though the longer they sat there, the less likely his appearance became. Pierre turned to look at David, a look on his face like something had just occurred to him.
“Who told you Coach was looking for you?” he asked, his voice chock-full of suspicion.
“Jenny...” David responded, not understanding what his tone was about. Suddenly Pierre rolled his eyes and gave a sigh, standing up and walking away. “Pierre, what's wrong? Who told you coach was looking for you?” he questioned, standing up and following quickly after Pierre, wanting desperately to be on the same page as he was.
When Pierre got to the door and pushed on it and it wouldn't open, he growled under his breath and turned to face David again, glaring at him hard. “I'll give you three guesses,” he replied, his voice low and monotone.
David's jaw dropped and he stepped past him, pushing on the door for himself, finding it just as unyielding as Pierre had. “She didn't...” he muttered, staring at his hands on the door.
“Yeah, I'd say she did,” Pierre responded, sounding nothing short of livid, and he turned and walked away, leaving David standing alone at the door and feeling as if the floor had just dropped out from under his feet.
He began to pound on the door, leaning close to it and yelling, “Jenny! This isn't funny! Let us out!”
“Not until you talk!” he heard her voice come through the door, though it was greatly muffled and he knew his banging and yelling wouldn't go much further than someone standing right at the door.
“Are you serious?!” he yelled at her, continuing to pound on the door.
“I'm walking away now!” she replied, her voice sing-songy and amused.
“Jenny! Don't fucking walk away from me!” he yelled, though no response ever came. “Jenny! God damn it!” he continued. He stopped slamming his fist against the door and sighed, shaking his head. Oh, that girl. He understood what she was trying to do but didn't she realize that it wouldn't work? Admitting to defeat, David turned and walked back to where Pierre was sitting, though he didn't move to sit on the bench with him, nor did he move to sit anywhere further from him. Instead he stood in front of him, looking at him, his eyes once more filled with that sad desperation that he couldn't seem to help when he was around his ex.
Pierre looked up, his eyes hostile. “What?” he asked harshly.
Almost as if he couldn't help himself, David took a step closer, his eyes tearing up. “Will you please just... let me explain?” he begged softly.
“I don't wanna hear it, David,” Pierre replied, looking off to the side and glaring hard at nothing in particular.
“Pierre, please...” David pleaded. Pierre didn't say another word, nor did he turn to look at him again. As if he couldn't stop the words from leaving his mouth, David took another step toward him and began to talk, totally out of control of himself. “I need you to understand... and then you can go on hating me and never talk to me again, but I need you to know...” He waited a moment for Pierre to respond, to reject his request, but the older boy never said anything and David took that as his cue to continue.
“When this whole thing started it was... well, it was to hurt you. I hated you,” he breathed, his voice shaking with tears. “You went out of your way to make us miserable. You called me a faggot. You called her fat. You took the things that we were most sensitive about and you used it against us. Every day you made me wish that the ground would open up and swallow me whole, because surely nothing could feel as bad as the way you made me feel. And I just... I wanted you to know what it was like. I wanted you to lose for once. So we came up with this stupid plan that I would get on the hockey team and throw the game... the one that that scout was supposed to come to. But then he didn't come and I had to keep the whole thing up. He would come eventually, right? I figured I would just wait it out...” he trailed off, feeling his stomach knotting itself. Pierre had yet to look at him, though occasionally he saw his eyes shift and he knew that the older boy was listening.
“And then something happened that I didn't plan on... I got to know you and you weren't actually a bad guy. You were funny and smart... and sometimes you were really nice. And there were times that I found myself thinking about you when I wasn't near you, and wondering what you were doing or thinking about. I started to really feel comfortable with you, I wanted to be around you, to hang out with you, to talk to you... Suddenly it was impossible to hate you and I started to wonder what I was doing and why I was trying to hurt you. It was Jenny that kept reminding me that you had tortured us and that I couldn't lose sight of that, no matter how nice you were being to me. But... I struggled with it and I couldn't figure out why. Or... I didn't want to believe why.”
“But it all became really clear to me over winter break... in the car...?” David said quietly, his tone nervous and unsure. “I know we've never actually talked about it... what happened... But everything just felt so right that night. The way you were holding me... the way you were looking at me...” He saw Pierre's jaw clench and unclench several times, like he was fighting something back and he took another step toward him, unable to curb his desire to be near the boy. “You were going to kiss me... right? I've relived that night a million times in my mind and every time I make the same conclusion... And every time I get so angry at myself for not letting it happen. I wanted it so much but it terrified me and I moved away so you couldn't do it and I have regretted it every second since. In that moment, I suddenly understood why I couldn't hate you anymore...”
“I started to think that you were really different, that I had been wrong about you. I accepted that night that I had feelings for you and I started to imagine what it would be like to be with you. And I wanted it. I wanted more than anything I had wanted for as long as I could remember. I felt excited when I thought about the possibility of us becoming a couple and for a moment I really thought that things were going to work out, that you liked me and I liked you and that we could be happy together. I was completely comfortable with the idea that I had been wrong about you from the start.”
“But then the next morning hit, and you turned back into the Pierre I had always known. You called me a fag, and it was like the world fell out from under my feet. It hurt in a way that you've never hurt me before. I felt tricked. I felt stupid. I hated myself for trusting you and believing you could ever be a good person, and I hated you for tricking me into liking you. But... more than anything... I hated you for making me not hate you. I wanted, so badly, to go back to detesting you the way I used to and I just... couldn't find it in myself to feel anything about you but heart ache. I felt cheated, like I had gotten a taste of what it might be like to be with you and it was ripped away from me. I honestly can't tell you if I was more angry with you or with me in that moment. I just wanted to go back and take it all back, to never let this stupid plan happen because it obviously wasn't going to work anyway. There's nothing I could ever do to make you a bad hockey player, you're really incredible. I was so... spiteful, something I've never really been before, and it was because I felt so much for you and I didn't want to.”
David sighed and turned his eyes down to the floor, unable to look at Pierre any longer. He shook his head as he thought about that night and how awful he had felt. He didn't think he would ever forget the way that it had felt.
“You dropped me off at home and I didn't know what to do. All I knew was I didn't want to be home and I didn't want to have no one in my life so I went to Jenny. We had just had this huge fight because she was jealous of all the time I was spending with you and she could see that I was getting caught up in everything with you and the hockey team. So I went to her house and apologized for it, because even though she was getting jealous over it, I knew she was right about me. I had lost track of what we were trying to do, I let it all get in my head and I forgot that the whole reason I was on the team was to hurt you. I didn't tell her that I had been feeling so much for you. I was too ashamed of myself to admit it, and I didn't want her to hate me for it. So I told her part of the truth... I told her that you had tried to kiss me and that I stopped it... And when she assumed that I was horrified about it, I just let her believe it. That's when she got the idea to get you to kiss me and take a picture of it. She thought that if we won a big enough game, you might be emotional enough to kiss me, and she would be there waiting to take the picture and spread it around.”
“And everything was going back to normal and I thought it was going to be fine... until you came to my house and opened up to me. That changed everything. Finally I understood why you were the way you were, why you said the things you said... And more than anything else, I saw how sorry you were. I saw that you were a good person with a huge heart who had too much on your plate. I haven't felt a single negative thing about you since that day,” David explained quietly, afraid to look up at Pierre now that he had looked away. Pierre hadn't made a single sound the entire time David had been talking and he supposed that it was a good thing. If Pierre really hadn't wanted to listen to David, he would have stopped him. David closed his eyes as he worked toward the hard part, determined to say everything he needed to now that he had started.
“I knew that Jenny wouldn't understand if I tried to explain it to her. I knew she would be mad and we would fight again so I tried to hide it. I figured if I never got you to kiss me, nothing would ever come if it and it would all be fine. But... there was the problem of how hard I was falling for you. I wanted to be near you. I wanted to kiss you. And there was a big part of me that wanted to be honest with you, to tell you why I had joined the team and why I had gotten close to you, but I was so afraid that you would hate me, too... I felt like I was stuck between you and Jenny and I didn't want to hurt either one of you or... to lose either one of you.”
“But she caught me,” he admitted, shaking his head at himself. “She realized what had happened and she called me on it... and when she asked me if I had feelings for you, that was it. I couldn't hide it from her anymore. I just felt so much for you, all I wanted was to be with you, to make you happy, to relieve some of the stress that you had to deal with. I wanted to be the one to make you smile... and she knew it. So we had our big fight... I told you it was because she was jealous of our friendship but... it was because I had fallen for you and she couldn't stand it. And of course, you were worried about me. I was terrified when I went to your house. I was afraid you would see it, that you would know what she and I had fought about and you would be repulsed. But then... I reminded myself that you had tried to kiss me once. Although I had this way of convincing myself that I had been wrong because I was too scared of it being true and I didn't want to get my hopes up. What if you hadn't been about to kiss me that night? Then that would change everything and I would really be an idiot then.”
“But then... it happened. We kissed... and it was... amazing. Being with you was the happiest I've been since my mom died. I feel like I've been living in this rigid routine, an empty shell, totally removed from real life and emotion to protect myself since her death... and I got to know you and you upended my entire world. Touching you, kissing you, talking to you... It was the most wonderful thing I've ever experienced. I knew that I needed to tell you everything, about what Jenny and I had planned... and I was going to do it before the game the next day, but... you said all those wonderful things to me about wanting to be together, about being out and public once you were in college and I just... couldn't. I was so afraid of losing you that I couldn't bring myself to tell you the truth. And when we kissed... I didn't know it but Jenny had followed me in. She had planned on talking to me about our fight and instead... Well...”
David let his words die, knowing that neither one of them needed further explanation about the pictures. He knew it was something that neither of them would ever forget. David looked up at Pierre as he continued to speak, sounding desperate once more for Pierre to believe him. “When you asked if I knew who had done it that day, I swear I really didn't know. I was so upset that it didn't even occur to me that it could have been Jenny. And then as you were leaving my house to go back to school, you said something about her... about how it was good we weren't friends anymore or something, and it just... clicked. I never asked her about it but I knew it was her in that moment. And then I was even more afraid to tell you about it because then I would have to explain that I had helped her come up with the idea for it. It didn't matter that I didn't want to do it anymore or that I didn't want to hurt you anymore because it still happened, and you still got hurt and that was all that mattered. I didn't know how to tell you that I was just as responsible for what had happened... I was so afraid of losing you that that's exactly what happened... Because I didn't give you my trust, even though you had already proved that you deserved it.”
David shook his head again and groaned in irritation. “This whole stupid thing started because I hated you so much and now—” David cut off suddenly, his shoulders dropping and his head turning to look back at Pierre. “Now... I think I love you.” He chewed on his lip while he waited for Pierre to respond, though the senior's head was still turned away and he continued to clench his jaw. David's eyebrows fell, his lip began to quiver and his eyes filled with tears as he waited for a response. When Pierre still sat there silently, David turned and walked away, back to the door, shaking his head at himself and trying to get a hold of his emotion again. “Jenny!” he called again, banging once more on the door. “Come on, I'm serious! Let us out!” When no response came, he leaned his head forward and rested his forehead against the door, his fist still pressed against it as he fought against his sudden urge to break down and cry. He didn't want Pierre to see him lose it again; Pierre didn't deserve that kind of guilt. What had he been thinking, that he would explain himself and that magically Pierre would forgive him? He had never felt so stupid.
The sound of slow footsteps behind him caught his attention and he turned around quickly, truly surprised to see Pierre standing there, staring sadly into his eyes for the first time since he had started talking. They stood and stared at each other for a long moment, the silence between them thick and intense. And then Pierre broke the silence, speaking a sentence that made David's heart squeeze and tears drip down his cheeks.
“...I think... I love you, too.”
Pierre took a few cautious steps forward, stopping so close that David could have reached out and touched him but he resisted. He stared up at Pierre, searching his chocolate eyes for any sign of what he was thinking. Pierre's eyes were shining with emotion and slowly, he reached up and ran the tips of his fingers against David's cheek. David's eyes fell closed and a shaky breath escaped him. When he felt Pierre's hand turn and cup his cheek, he leaned his face into the older boy's hand and reached up and grabbed it, holding it tight against his skin as if he was dying and Pierre's touch was the cure. Without being able to help it, he placed a gentle kiss against the senior's palm and as he did, more tears slipped from his eyes.
“Don't ever lie to me again... okay?” Pierre asked, and though he could have very easily sounded angry and stern, instead his question was more of a plea, his voice shaking and cracking toward the end as he asked it.
David opened his eyes and looked up at him, chewing on his lip as he nodded his response. “I swear,” he breathed desperately. His hand snaked up Pierre's chest, against the side of his neck and into the hair on the back of his head. Every touch made David feel like his skin was on fire in the best kind of way. Then, as if he had waited as long as he could possibly wait for it, Pierre's other hand grabbed onto David's face and he pulled him into a passionate kiss. David wrapped his arms up around Pierre's neck and pulled himself closer, tears continuing to spill as he kissed him back with everything he had in him and holding himself so close that his feet left the ground. Pierre pressed David against the door, earning a surprised moan from the back of the younger boy's throat. They pulled apart slowly, their chests heaving and their breathing coming out ragged and heavy. Then, unable to keep it in anymore, a smile spread across David's lips and he found himself laughing, though tears continued to slip from his eyes, making his laugh watery and weak. Pierre dropped him back to the ground and smiled down at him, reaching up a hand to wipe away his tears.
“No more of that,” he said softly and David nodded up at him in response. “You wanna get out of here?” he asked, flashing David a charming smile. David bit down on his lip and gave another soft laugh, too love struck to form words. Pierre pulled David away from the door and began to bang on it just as the younger boy had done earlier. “Hey! We made up, made out, now let us out!” he yelled, clearly not shy in the slightest. “That's what you wanted, right?!”
David blushed and hid his face, though he continued to laugh, completely at a loss for how the day had turned out; it was the exact opposite of what he had been expecting.
“Pics or it didn't happen!” Jenny's voice came through the door.
“Jenny!” David yelled at her, blushing harder.
Pierre shrugged and held his hand out to David, staring at him with determination in his eyes. “They've already seen it once, what's the worst that can happen? Phone,” he demanded and between the tone of his voice and the look on his face, David didn't think to question him. He stopped laughing completely, shocked that Pierre was actually going to give in to her demand so easily. He pulled his phone from his pocket and handed it to Pierre, who opened the camera application and leaned down toward him. As he moved closer, David completely forgot that the camera was even there. His eyes took in Pierre's features, studying them as if he were looking over a great piece of art. Pierre smiled warmly at him, his free hand finding David's cheek once more. A fluttering feeling rose in David's chest and his eyes fell closed as Pierre moved toward him, pressing his lips to David's in what was possibly the sweetest kiss he had ever given him. He pulled away too soon for David's liking and began to mess with the phone. Once he was done, he handed it back to David and smiled, crossing his arms over his chest while he waited. David looked past him, waiting for the door to open; he didn't have to wait long. It was a matter of thirty seconds or so before Jenny was pulling open the door, smiling in pure happiness at them, something which surprised David considering her dislike of Pierre. What had changed?
“You bitch!” David called, though he ran forward and hugged her, and she hugged him back just as whole-heartedly, laughing as she did and closing her eyes. As they pulled apart, David took a step back and Jenny looked at Pierre, giving him an awkward half smile.
“I'm sorry,” she told him, and though he knew how she felt about Pierre, David could tell that she really meant it.
Pierre nodded a few times and the two left it at that. David knew it would take the two some time to really start to like each other but something told him that eventually they would. He smiled between them, before turning back to Jenny, his face suddenly inquisitive and irritated. “How the hell did you lock us in there?!” he yelled suddenly.
Jenny gave him a guilty look and pulled the scarf from around her neck, pointing at the two door handles. “And you thought scarves were just for fashion,” she said with a grin.
David's jaw dropped and she laughed. “You're an evil mastermind!” he accused, though as he did she turned her back and began to walk away, wanting to leave the two alone.
“You're welcome!” she called as she continued to walk away. David didn't chase after her.
Instead he turned and faced Pierre, flashing him a shy smile. “So... what now?” he asked cautiously.
Pierre smiled at him for a moment before reaching forward, grabbing onto his hand and pulling him back into the locker room. David opened his mouth to protest but before he could get out a sound, Pierre had pulled him into another fiery kiss and all thought was lost. He entangled himself in Pierre's embrace once more, letting all other thoughts fall away; for the moment, he wanted nothing more than to be right where he was, standing in Pierre's arms and enjoying the taste of his lips and the warmth of his skin once more. They could figure out the details later; for that moment, they were completely lost in each other, two boys who had gone through an incredible journey together and who were pretty sure they were in love.
Life couldn't have gotten any sweeter.