Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own Even Stevens or any of its characters, locations, etc.
These Things We Do
"It has nothing to do with how I feel about you…" She insisted. Sometimes I believe her, sometimes I'm not so sure. I mean something to her, just not enough maybe.
It's kind of strange how it all came about really. She came to me, a close friend, and former girlfriend, to her younger brother Louis. We didn't know each other that well, but she chose me to confide in. Maybe Louis said something, gave me a good word if he knew Ren needed someone to talk to. He didn't know what about, at least as far as we knew. He didn't know about either of us. But perhaps he did. Maybe that's why he sent Ren to me…
Regardless, she came to me and outted herself, and in having someone else initiate the confession, I confessed that I was in the same boat. That was the basis for our friendship. I wasn't entirely in the closet, but no one close to me knew. At least not by my admission. Anyway, when Ren told me that she thought she might be into girls, I was glad. Not because I was interested in her, but because she was a step closer to people close to me. If she knew about me that was progress, and her being able to relate made it easy for me to tell her. My family has always been pretty liberal so I don't know why I was so hesitant to tell my parents. As for not telling Twitty or Tom, that was because I didn't want either of them to tell Louis. I hadn't figured out how to tell him yet. We'd been on-again, off-again since early 8th grade, and to suddenly tell him the end of sophomore year that I was pretty sure I was gay seemed like the last thing a guy would want to hear. However, Louis has always been a good friend. He might not take it well at first, but he wouldn't blow me off or anything. My family, and close friends not in the know, but me feeling like I had to tell someone led me to meeting Amy Johnson. I had drama with her and she was very openly gay. She introduced me to lots of girls and opened the doors for experimentation. I spent the whole summer with her and with too many other girls to keep track of… certainly not a monogamous world I'd gotten sucked into. But it was fun, and I had a great time.
Then Ren came to me at the beginning of school. She was terribly upset. It was her senior year, she'd maintained her spotless reputation, her perfect grades, everything for years. But she wasn't happy. She told me that it was a romantic problem, and my first thought was, 'how is this out of Ruby's sphere of expertise? She told me about all the guys she'd dated and how she always felt the need to be with a guy so people wouldn't "doubt her". But none of the guys she met had anything on common with her… not Bobby, Gil, or Jason. And it wouldn't have mattered if they did, she said, cause she wasn't attracted to them. I told her she just hadn't met the right guy yet. She said she knew that wasn't the problem. I said, 'If you know what isn't the problem, you must have a hunch as to what is…' she nodded. I'm not attracted to guys.
I was shocked at first, but the more I thought about the more it made sense-- the guys she dated, her attitude toward boys in general… it always seemed like she was behaving the way a girl was expected to around boys… and her incessant striving for perfection a likely effort to hide one bold imperfection. So I said, hypocritically enough, 'I'm sure you're family will be ok with it. You should tell them.'
She shook her head, horrified at the thought. 'My dad wouldn't be. My mom sure, but my dad… you should hear the way he talks about…them…those people. All that gay marriage stuff has led to lots of arguments between him and my mother. She even asked him what he'd do if one of us…one of his children, were…gay. He said that wouldn't happen. If it didn't they wouldn't be his children. He had taken no part in the creation of such an abomination…Think, all the things I've done right. And Louis getting in trouble right and left. But I would be the ultimate failure to him.'
I didn't know what to say to that so I just offered to introduce her to some of my friends, and said I'd be there if she ever needed to talk about anything. She took me up on the offer, and the next weekend I introduced her to Amy and the girls. It wasn't the same for her as it was for me. She was more conservative I guess. She was nervous about messing around with people she didn't know. I said it was weird at first but it's really not a big deal. Amy liked her a lot, said she had a sort of wide-eyed innocence about her. I agreed, but I couldn't decide whether or not I was helping her by bringing her to these places. She started coming with me all the time and sometimes we would just end up talking all night about everything. We became really good friends. I'd never had a good friend that was a girl before, so it was a little strange, but nice. There were so many things I couldn't confide in Louis. Too many things he wouldn't get.
Anyway, Amy liked Ren a lot but Ren didn't feel the same way. She tried, I'll give her that. She got further with Amy than anyone. She would go into a room and make out or whatever, but whenever it got too intense, Ren would suddenly get up, claim she couldn't do it, and leave. Every time she went into a room, with Amy or someone else, I would wait outside… not right outside, but close… I wasn't jealous or anything. It's just I became very protective of Ren. She was more innocent than the rest of us. She was sheltered, she was a good girl, and she was lost. I didn't want her to get hurt, especially on my account. So I was always relieved when she came out, usually in tears and humiliated, wanting to leave.
We were inseparable, but separated most of the time. Out of the eyes of our family and close friends, we spent every moment together. I truly think if Louis hadn't have been my ex and her brother we would've hooked up pretty quickly. I know it didn't take long for my feelings to escalate from protective of her to completely enamored with her. I didn't tell her though. But I used every opportunity to be close to her, to brush against her, touch her somehow. She let me get away with a lot so, assuming she wasn't completely oblivious, I think she liked me too.
"I know," I said. "I've hear the story, Ren." I replied, looking over at her.
"But you don't listen to me." Her hands tightly gripped the steering wheel. "I told you this when I first told you…everything. My dad is extremely…"
"Your dad's a homophobe, Ren, I know." I started to open the car door.
"If you knew, you wouldn't be pushing me." She glowered in my direction.
I sighed. "I just don't see why you want to bother staying together if we've never even gone on a real date."
"Because…" She started, but stopped. She had a reason, but she didn't want to tell me.
"I'll see you later, Ren."
"Tomorrow night?" She asked.
I could tell by her voice that she was crying but I didn't want to look at her, didn't want her to know that I knew she was hurting and opted to bail rather than try and comfort her. "Sure, tomorrow. My parents will both be out of town."
"See ya, Tawny." She mumbled, turning the key in the ignition.
"Later." I said, shutting the car door and heading around the corner to my house.