I know this isn't the first story with Bo in this type of situation, but with the way he was it shows that somebody close to him in his life had to be homophobic. Sure, any teen having to deal with being homosexual would have a hard time, but up until he came out to Jimmy, Bo seemed afraid of being gay, and he had to call others gay, as though he was worried someone would figure him out, so he had to divert the attention. To go as far as bullying, that shows just how much he was in denial and how much he didn't want to be gay. To go to that extreme, he had to have been close to a homophobe, and it makes since he'd have spent his entire life with that person, taught that gay is wrong, so it had to have been a parent.

Portrait of a Friend

There was something up with Bo, what it was, Jimmy had no idea. Both he and Brooke had tried questioning him on it, but the black haired teen would only snap at them. So, they'd taken it upon themselves to pay closer attention to their usually cocky friend.

To the causal onlooker nothing seemed up. He was still captain of the wrestling team, he was sometimes late to class in the morning, but that was nothing unusual. He looked more tied, but that could be put down the exam stress. Only Jimmy and Brooke seemed to notice any change. Bo was loud, loved being the centre of attention, and always had some bizarre reason for not doing his homework ("My pen ran out of ink, so I went to buy another pen, but I got lost on my way back and eventually got taken home by a tourist who luckily had a map with him. By that time it was late, and I tried my pen but I found it was a dud, and I couldn't go back again or I would never find my way home" or a simpler "I'm afraid I simply had better things to do"). Now, he'd sit threw class and lunch hardly saying a word. He wasn't socialising much, and when the teacher asked why his homework hadn't been handed in, he'd merely shrug his shoulders.

So, when Bo swaggered into the classroom that morning, smirk on his face and took his usual seat, ignoring the teachers questions as to why he was late, Jimmy thought maybe he'd been over analysing the situation, maybe Bo had just been a little stressed. He watched as the other teen rocked on the back legs of his chair, feet up on the desk and chewing on a pencil.

"Feet down and concentrate, Bo." Mr Townrowe snapped.

"Can't sir, I've just gotten comfy."

Mr Townrowe strode over to Bo's desk, and knocked his feet to the floor, causing the chair to fall back onto all four legs. "And your essay? Did you bother to do it?"

Bo pulled an innocent face. "Well, the thing is sir, I really wanted to, but I had a late night, you see, I was up all night demanding better pay and conditions for our fine, hardworking teachers." He was met with a scowl. Bo tugged on his ear. "Er, the aliens took it back to Betelgeuse as an example of fine Earth literature."

"You can see me after school, you will write it up then." With that, he turned and strode back to the front of the room.

Jimmy was also about to face the front from watching the sceptical, but he saw an odd look on his friends face, he seemed… relieved. That was certainly odd. What part of staying at school longer would appeal to him? Perhaps he was trying to avoid something.

Reminding himself to ask Bo about it at lunch, Jimmy turned back to the class.


"So." Jimmy said, putting his tray down next to his friend and taking a seat. "What was all that about this morning?"

Bo raised his eyebrows as Brooke joined them. "All what about?"

"This morning when you got detention, you looked almost pleased with the fact." Jimmy elaborated.

"Oh, that, I'm simply setting a new record for most detentions received." Bo shrugged with a light grin.

"Be serious for once." Brooke said, rolling her eyes. "What's troubling you?"

Bo swallowed, his eyes momentarily scanning the cafeteria, as though searching for an answer. "It's nothing. My aunt's visiting for a few days, and I'd do anything to avoid her, she still talks to me like I'm five."

Brooke frowned. "You're good at sarcasm Bo, but you're a rubbish liar. Come on, what's really bothering you? We just want to help."

Bo scowled, anger welling up with the questioning. They just couldn't let it go! They'd been badgering him for weeks now, and quite frankly, he was pissed off. At least, that's what he liked to tell himself. It was easier to be angry than scared.

"I've told you before, it's nothing!" The dark haired teen snapped.

Jimmy sighed. "Bo, please? We know something's up."

"Well maybe it's just you two idiots constantly annoying me!" With that, Bo stood from his seat and strode off, leaving his meal untouched.

"Well that went well." Jimmy said as the door swung shut behind the other boy.


That evening, Bo walked as slowly as possible back home, thankful he hadn't taken his car that morning. Still, when his house came into view, he wished he lived further away. He licked his lips worriedly as he slid the key into the door and slipped inside. For a few moments, he stayed still, listening for any sounds. The place was silent. With a relieved sigh, he dashed up to his room, depositing his school bag on the floor by his bed. He fell onto his back and stared up at the plain ceiling. He was tired, he'd hardly spelt in days. Maybe he could get some sleep until his dad returned…

Bo's eyes snapped open, and he spent a moment trying to work out what was going on, then he heard a door bang downstairs. Seemed his dad was back. Bo wasn't sure how long he'd slept, or if he even had. His head felt light and foggy with sleep, so some time must have passed.

He stayed perfectly still, straining to here the noises downstairs. It sounded like his dad had gone into the living room, as he was pretty sure he could hear the TV.

If he just stayed in his room, out of his dad's way, he'd be fine.

Bo turned onto his side, facing away from the door, and pulled the covers up over his shoulder. He closed his eyes, but knew he'd be unable to fall back to sleep. Not the with threat of his father only downstairs.

Time ticked by as he just lay there, willing his dad to go to bed early. Alas, little seemed to work in his favour lately, and so he wasn't surprised by the shout of "BOY! Get down here now!"

Bo begrudgingly kicked away the covers and got out of bed, slowly making his way downstairs, wanting more and more to turn and run with each steady step.

He stood in the doorway of the living room, reluctant to go in. His father was sat in the armchair, watching football on the telly. He had a beer in his hand, but it didn't seem like he'd had much; not that he needed alcohol to be a basted, he did fine by himself.

"What?" He asked when his dad didn't look away from the screen.

"Make me some dinner, that's what you fuckin' queer's do ain't it. Can't be real men, only good for cookin' an' cleanin' shit."

Bo scowled, but didn't reply, he was getting off easy here. Most likely his dad just couldn't be bothered to do anything while the game was on. Bo glanced at the telly to see the score, he'd always been a football fan since he was little, but after he'd admitted to his father that he was gay, he no longer let him watch. Apparently he was a sissy-girl and football was only for real men.

Seeing that the team he'd always supported was winning, Bo turned and headed into the kitchen. He wasn't the greatest cook, but he wasn't that bad, and before he new it he was handing his dad a plate full of hot food.

He was about to scurry out of the room, when his dad told him to stay where he was. Bo stopped, and shifted from one foot to another anxiously. His dad said nothing more, just continued to watch the game and eat silently. Bo was nervous, he tired distracting himself with the telly, but he couldn't focus on it, his mind kept on running away with ideas of what his dad wanted with him, each one worse than the last. Subconsciously, his hand rubbed at his side, where a huge, ugly bruise was hidden behind his t-shirt.

After what seemed like forever, yet still much to short a time, his dad had finished, and placed the now empty plate on the floor by the side of the armchair. He turned from the telly to look at his son. "At work today, I over heard a co-worker telling another the daughter of his wife's friend turned out to be a lesbian. Her parents sent her to a rehabilitation camp were she learned the proper heteronormativity way of life. I believe you would greatly befit from this."

Bo looked at him a mixture of shock and disgust. "A 'rehabilitation camp'? I'm not a junkie! There's nothing to fix! To Hell with heteronormativity, people are different, and you can't change that, there's nothing wrong with me!"

That apparently was a bad thing to say, Bo had never seen his dad looking so furious. "A man's place is head of the family! Not prancing around like some fuckin' fairy!"

He wasn't giving up though. "Well tough shit, coz guess what? I am a damn 'fairy'!"

Before he quite knew what had happened, his dad had picked up the plate and thrown it at him, hard, which hit the side of his face. At the surprise impact, he stumbled backwards and tripped, landing on his back with a thump and cracking his head on the floor. Momentarily dazed, he had no time to get away from the harsh kick to his chest. All of the air was pushed from his lungs, causing him to gasp, and his father wasted no time raining in a few more blows.

Pain erupted all over his upper body, the blood vessels under his skin burst, creating vicious bruising. He could hardly breathe; each kick robbing him of the precious little air he had. Each one connecting with his ribs, threatening to break every single one. His eyes stung with tears and his head was throbbing. He tried to curl up into himself, but the agonizing blows to his chest stopped him. He tried to get out of the way, but he could hardly breathe, much less move. He was trapped, unable to defend himself as ever part of his chest and head screamed at him in pain. He tried telling his father to stop, but no words would form due to lack of oxygen.

"No son of mine will be some fuckin' cock-suckin' fag!" His father sounded estranged, he spit the words hatefully and his dark eyes shone with fury.

Hot tears of both anger and pain streamed down Bo's face. In a way, the words stung worse than the physical pain, to know that his own father hated him enough to treat him this way.

Another kick and a horrendous crack ran out across the room. Two more kicks, and another crack. He wanted to scream, it hurt so much, but he was completely helpless. His father continued his assault and Bo could do nothing. Pain had taken over, he couldn't think, he had to force himself to gasp in air, but each breath felt like his ribs were piercing his lungs, ripping them apart and burying deep inside them.

Finally, after two more broken ribs, his father just walked away without a word, stepping over his son as though he were merely an unconventially placed object and shut the door behind him.

Bo was left on the floor. He wanted to curl into himself, to protect himself, but he couldn't move from the pain, he couldn't even breathe.

He lay there, alone, broken, gasping and shivering for the entire night.


TBC