A friend reveals something about Cole to Calvin. Can Calvin really believe what she says?
“Exam!” Cole exclaimed loudly.
After a huge thump, which I assumed was him falling out of bed, and some rustling around, his door finally opened. We awkwardly smiled at each other. This was so abnormal for us. I never wanted it to be this way. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. I didn’t want to ask either, afraid of the question. He took a deep breath and stood up straight, somewhat like a soldier. I lifted my eyebrow as I looked at him. “What are you doing?” I questioned.
Cole relaxed a little more, obviously feeling a little silly. He rubbed the back of his neck for a second and finally spoke. “Look,” he started, “I don’t care that you’re bisexual. You know, I’m in to all that love wins shit and stuff.”
“Shit?” I cornered.
“N-not that I t-think it’s shit,” he stammered. “I wasn’t saying it like—“
“Calm down bro,” I laughed. “I’m just messing with you.”
Cole put a hand to his chest and breathed a sigh of relief. Then his face got serious as he faced me. “I don’t care about you’re sexuality,” he said. “And I am flattered that you like me. But, I’m sorry, I’m not gay, and I already have a girlfriend.”
Though it hurt to hear, I knew it was going to happen. I was prepared for this talk right after I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. “I know that Cole. I’m sorry about yesterday. I don’t know what came over me. But it’s kind of your fault.”
He scoffed out a laugh. “My fault? How the hell is it my fault?”
Suddenly, the awkwardness and tension that once filled the air was gone. We were joking around again. “Well,” I started, “you walk around half naked all the time. You always get real close to my face. And, oh yeah, you grabbed my wrists and pushed me up against a wall!”
“Oh,” he embarrassingly. “Yeah, sorry about that, but I didn’t know.”
I couldn’t have been happier. Everything was okay. Now Cole knew everything, and we are even able to joke about it. As happy as I was that we were still best friend, that fact also hurt more than anything else. Maybe I was clinging for a little bit of hope. I just didn’t realize. Even though I was telling myself it wouldn’t happen, a little piece of me had some hope. What was this feeling? Was this heartbreak? Is this what that feels like? It hurt a lot. I didn’t like it at all. I smiled and joked with Cole, while internally I was battling to fight off my emotions and the dark shadow that was clouding my heart.
A couple of weeks went by after that fateful day. Cole and I were still best friends. Cole and Angela were still together. Absolutely nothing has changed. I sighed heavily sitting in study hall, not reading my open textbook. I felt so depressed and unaccomplished. How messed up is this world? If a girl likes another girl’s boyfriend, she might have a chance if the boy likes her back. But when it’s guy, he doesn’t stand a chance unless he goes that way. I felt so angry and frustrated. I also felt sad and filled with sorrow. I wanted to crawl in a ditch and die there.
I turned around to look out the windows of the library, and it must’ve been my lucky day. I saw Cole and Angela kissing. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch her in the face. I had never felt like this before. It was the most irritating thing ever. Cole didn’t seem to really notice, so I guess I’ve been hiding it well. I turned my head in disgust and saw Cynthia – a classmate of mine, and friend of Cole – looking at me. “What?” I asked when she didn’t say anything.
“Can I talk to you?” She asked whispering. “You know, like, in private?”
Confusingly, I followed her out the classroom and down the hall. She led me to the space under the stairwell. Naturally, she wanted to make out with me. Girls did this all the time. I’ve even had some guys, even though they didn’t know I was bi. However, I was definitely not in the mood for this girl’s antics. “Okay, look,” I said. “Cynthia, you’re gorgeous. But I’m really not in the mood to—“
“Are you in love with Cole?” She interrupted.
I stood there frozen in shock. That was not what I expected to hear. Unable to get over the surprise of her question, I couldn’t answer her. “I, uh, I,” I stuttered.
“If you're not sure, I think it’s safe to say you are,” she said when she realized I wasn’t going to answer.
Finally able to compose myself better, I asked, “What makes you think anything like that?”
She crossed her arms looking quite offended. “You know you usually put on a pretty good act, but every time Cole and Angela are together, you look like you want to vomit,” she explained.
I shoved my hands in my pockets. This was nerve-racking. “How do you know it’s not Angela I like?” I asked.
“I’ve seen you look at them both,” she stated. “Angela came up and asked you a question in English. You acted polite but you seemed genuinely annoyed, and then when she walked away you rolled your eyes.”
“What the hell are you? A stalker?”
“But when you talk to Cole, you can’t help it. You’re eyes light up like freaking stars and you can’t stop smiling. It’s actually really cute!”
I had nothing to say. This girl was either really good at observing, and just plain nuts. But whichever it was, she wasn’t wrong about anything that she said. Everything was very true. So true in fact, that I felt a pang in my chest as I thought about it. She gave me a sympathetic look and patted me on the back comfortingly. “I was just asking because…I don’t want you to give up,” she whispered very honestly.
I gave her a look and shook my head. That didn’t make any sense to me. This wasn’t some regular romance or unrequited love. I couldn’t just win him over. If he’s not into guys, then that’s that. There is nothing more I can do. You can’t turn someone gay. That’s not how these things work. “Why not?” I asked. “There’s no point. He’s not gay or bi. It’s game over for me.”
Cynthia cocked her head. “Hm, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
I gave her a questioning gaze. “What are you talking about?”
“The way you look at Cole,” she paused, “is the same way he looks at you.”
I shrugged not following where she was going with this. She hooked my arm with hers. “Stop being so difficult, Calvin. He totally likes you.”
All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, Cole came up with a sour look on his face. “Hey Cole,” Cynthia greeted.
“Why are you holding on to him like that?” Cole said sounding irritated.
Cynthia gave me a knowing smile, and then looked back at Cole. “I just professed my undying love for him,” she lied. “And now we’re dating.”
“What!” Cole shouted in surprise. “You’re dating? Why? Calvin I thought you…” He stopped himself not wanting to out me, even though Cynthia already knew.
“Thought, he what?” She asked innocently. No wonder she was in drama. She was really good at acting.
“I just thought he liked someone else,” Cole said a little more quietly.
He looked…hurt and angry. Why? He couldn’t be jealous could he? Was it smart of me to think that way? Cynthia apparently noticed how Cole looked too. I could tell she regretted it. “We’re not dating Cole,” she confessed. “I was just joking. What were you so mad about anyway?”
“Nothing,” he mumbled and marched down the hall with his back turned to us.
Cynthia gave me the same smile as before. “Yeah, you’re right, Calvin,” she said sarcastically. “He doesn’t seem to like you at all.”