"Dinner's ready! Anyone who's hungry, come and get it!"
Hearing that, Logan jumped, hiding the magazine that he was reading under his pillow. In that exact moment he felt like any other seventeen year old. This feeling quickly faded though, as he wasn't. While most seventeen year olds guys could relate to hiding their porn magazines underneath pillows and mattresses, they usually weren't magazines featuring other guys. This was especially true for those who were captains of the varsity baseball team. Even more true for guys who were dating one of the most popular girls in school, in his case, Cokie Mason, who had been nominated for prom court.
He couldn't stand Cokie. He just needed her for his cover. No family from Kentucky was going to accept an out of the closet son. Hell, he didn't know if he would be able to accept it himself. He had been single for awhile, after breaking up with his first girlfriend, Mary Anne Spier, but when he didn't start dating any one right away, people began to ask questions. They just couldn't see any reason why the local Cam Geary look-alike was unattached. So he turned to Cokie, who had been pursuing him since eighth grade.
The relationship worked out well for both of them, despite the fact that thinking about it too long made his stomach turn. She had him to parade around and to brag about. He had her to prevent questions and scrawlings on the walls in the locker room. Really, he didn't have anything to complain about. This way, no one knew the truth.
Well, except for one person.
He had had these inklings his whole life. Back in junior high, he had always been closer to girls. Hell, he had been the only male member of a babysitting club. But he had dated Mary Anne, hoping that she would help the feelings go away. She didn't, though it wasn't her fault. She had tried as hard as she could to make the relationship work.
He cared about her so much, just not the way that would make a relationship work. In fact, he could honestly say that she had broken his heart. At the end of tenth grade, he had confessed to her that he was confused about his sexuality. And though Mary Anne had always been the best listener, she had a habit of completely blocking out the things that she couldn't understand, which now included him.
She had broken up with him then and there, which he supposed had been for the best. It wasn't fair for her to waste her time in a relationship that wasn't ever going to be real. She deserved more than that, even if he didn't.
They hadn't ever talked about it. They actually didn't talk to each other anymore at all, unless forced to converse awkwardly in class, or at the Babysitter's Club reunions that Kristy held without fail every summer.
To her credit, she hadn't told anyone, as far as he knew. He didn't think that she would. Maybe she didn't want to admit it to herself, or maybe she just didn't want other people to know. Either way, he was grateful. She could have ruined the entire façade that he had worked so hard to construct, but for some reason, she held back. Maybe she still cared about him as well.
So he went on about his life, never admitting the truth to anyone. He dutifully went on dates with Cokie. These dates too often ended up with the two of them making out in the backseat of a car. When this happened, he tried as hard as he could to imagine that it was Pete Black that he was making out with. It didn't really work.
And when Cokie moved his hands to grope certain parts of her body, he obeyed, but only half-heartedly, and always backed away shortly. She wanted more, and he knew it. But he didn't know if he could bring himself to go that far, even for the sake of their fake relationship. Everyone already thought that they were sleeping together, wasn't that enough?
There were times when he couldn't take it anymore, and seriously thought of breaking up with Cokie, and telling everyone the truth. Despite the hell that would undoubtedly break loose, he didn't know if it would be possible to feel worse about himself. What did he have to lose?
As quickly as these thoughts came to him, he forced them away. Everything. He had everything to lose. His parents wouldn't accept him, he knew that. Maybe it was just the age and environment that they group up in, but they were against everything that had to do with homosexuality. His father had even gone so far to write letters to the editor when some students had tried to form a Gay/Straight Alliance at Stoneybrook High. Because of his parents, and others with the same limited mindset, this club had never formed. There was no safe haven for the queers of SHS. Except that, according to the administration, there were no queers at SHS. He found it comical that the school had recently opened up a day care to accommodate the growing number of high school students with children. Apparently, actual heterosexual sex wasn't as big of a problem as figurative homosexual relations.
Small towns went hand in hand with small minds- he knew that. Maybe when he went away to college he could finally be himself. Unless he went on the baseball scholarship that he was hoping for to Stoneybrook University, which would basically ensure another four years of the same environment.
He sometimes dreamt of moving away to New York City after graduating from college, and living the life he desired without fear of discrimination. He would do it too, in a heartbeat, if he thought that anyone would support him. He tried to push away this dream with what would likely be his future, with thoughts that if he envisioned it enough, he might eventually start to accept it.
He would graduate from Stoneybrook U with a business degree, and end up getting a job either in Stoneybrook or Stamford. He would get married, be it to Cokie or some other girl that he hadn't even met yet. He never failed to feel sorry for his future wife. They would have children, whom he would love dearly, but they would never really know the kind of man that their father was. Maybe one day they would find out, and hate him for it. Alternate versions of this daydream had them accepting him. He had no idea which of these versions would end up eventually being his life.
Or maybe he could bypass all of that, and just come clean now, and stand strong despite the fear of repercussion.
Would a life of rejection be better than a life of pretending? That was the question.