'I can't believe you lost your virginity to him.'
'So you've said.'
'He's a wanker. Everyone knows that. How drunk were you? Come on, you're gay, and all guys are horndogs, so why did you settle for him?'
'Jeez Romie, will you have sex with me?' I inquired sarcastically.
'What does that have to do with anything? I'm not a poof. Mind you, if I had to have sex with a guy, I'd definitely be top. That's far less gay than letting someone fuck you.'
I sighed and rocked my chair backwards, so it was resting against the back wall of the classroom. There was never enough room for my legs underneath the table. When you're not quite seventeen and already six foot two, you face these kinds of problems.
'Will? Are you trying to tell me you let him fuck you? Is that how this momentous occasion in your life transpired? With him so far up your rectum he was almost touching your large intestine?'
I rolled my eyes. 'Your rectum is part of your large intestine, Einstein.'
'My bad. Being heterosexual, I don't have an especially close relationship with my bum.'
'No, but you do biology, don't you?'
'What's that got to do with anything?'
There are some of us that are at Brisbane State High School through academic merit, and some of us who are here because they live in the local area. My friend falls into the latter category.
Roman sighed. 'Spill it, Will. Did you fuck him, or did you reach over and grab your ankles for him?'
The information wasn't exactly the sort that I wanted to disclose to Roman Kelly. The guy may be my best mate, but that didn't stop him from being annoying. What business was it of his, anyway? Big shit, I'd had drunken sex with a stupid rich boy from Brisbane Boys Grammar. It was no big deal. Sure, the guy had been a bit of a tosser, but it was sex. Sex, sex, sex. And when you're gay and sixteen, there isn't a lot in the way of options. I know exactly four other queer guys my own age, and given that two of them are dating, it's obvious that I don't have quite the range of choices that straight boys have.
'If I tell you, will you drop the subject?' I asked resignedly.
Roman pulled an unsavoury face 'That is feral,' he exclaimed loudly. 'He's a short-ass. It would have been like a Chihuahua humping a Great Dane.'
'Would you shut-up please?' I leant forward, tipping my chair back into its intended position, and leant over the desk, burying my head in my arms. Ugh. I should never have trusted him. Of course he now wanted to discuss what I'd done, whereas I didn't even want to look at him.
The two girls sitting in front of us turned around and loudly whispered my name.
I peeked up at them miserably. 'What?'
'I'm amazed,' Breanna remarked. 'I didn't know you really were gay. I thought it was just a rumour.'
'It isn't.' Roman replied on my behalf.
Breanna's friend Caroline stared at me thoughtfully. 'I knew,' she informed me. 'It's obvious. I don't know how everyone can't pick it.'
I was hoping Romie might be able to offer some assistance but his eyes, unfortunately, were now focused on Caroline's boobs. In their current positions, the girls' uniforms were pulled tight against their breasts, which meant that my perverted friend was currently getting a damn good look at their assets.
'Whatever,' I muttered. 'I, uh, need to get back to my work.'
The girls sighed and turned back around. They started whispering to one another, and they didn't bother to hide the fact that I was the one they were talking about. I tried not to care. They're girls; I'm not interested in them sexually, and nor are Breanna and Caroline friends of mine. It doesn't matter what they think of me.
Romie nudged my elbow.
'What?' I hissed. 'I'm trying to do my work.'
'Fine,' he sighed. 'I'll ask you after school, okay? You rode here, right? So that means we can go to your house.'
We met up after school at the bicycle racks. Roman gave me a big cheesy grin and strutted around, mimicking a stereotypically gay walk. He smirked at me from beneath his sun-bleached curls, and kept his blue eyes focused on me as he waited for my reaction.
I threw my helmet at him. All five hundred grams of Styrofoam smacked him on his lycra-clad hip, and he fell to the ground and rolled around with laughter.
'Wanker,' I muttered, picking up my helmet. 'Are you still coming home with me?'
'Yeah. I emailed Mum from the library and she said as long as Michael drops me off home before nine, it's sweet.'
Michael's one of my foster parents. Roman's Mum thinks he's good-looking, and flirts with him like crazy. Actually, she flirts with most men, but Michael seems to be her favourite. She's always asking him in for a drink, and molesting the poor guy. Both Roman and I are thankful that Michael seems to be pretty oblivious to her attentions.
'We'll try and prevent Mum from getting her claws into Mike,' he added with a blush.
'Or we'll set Brett on her,' I added, thinking of my second foster father, as I unchained my bicycle. When it comes to strangers touching him Brett isn't exactly what you'd call welcoming.
Romie grinned. 'She reckons he has a nice chest.'
'Really?' I strapped on my helmet, put on my backpack, and hopped on my bike. 'That's weird. Your Mum's strange.'
'Don't I know it,' he agreed ruefully. 'Now let's get going. I'm freezing my nuts off, and the worst part is, everyone can see my ever-shrinking package.'
We slowly cycled out of the school and onto the main road. Winter isn't the greatest time of the year to be riding through the streets. As Roman has so eloquently pointed out, everything is visible through lycra. Your reaction to the cold weather is obvious to everyone whose gaze wanders down to your crotch, which is embarrassing to say the least. Then there's the problem of evening coming early. Once it's dark, the amount of incidences we have with cars tends to increase dramatically.
Thankfully, we make it come without incident. Incident free, that is, if you exclude the usual idiots trying to run us over, throwing their cigarette butts out of the car window – believe me, you do not want to have one of those land on you – and the assorted abuse we get for daring to be on the road.
'How are the little triathletes of the future?' Lee inquired from the sofa as Roman and I tramped inside. Lee's my eighteen year old foster brother. We're not friends, but we're not exactly enemies, either. We accept each other's presence, you could say.
'Sexy as ever,' Roman replied cheerfully. 'Although my legs are a little hairy.'
'Your legs are meant to be hairy,' Lee snorted disdainfully. 'You're a guy. Remember?'
Roman gave up trying to be nice to my foster brother, and rolled his eyes at me. I grinned back sympathetically, and handed him a blue Powerade. Roman, bless him, actually tries to be friendly with my foster brother, but Lee's forever rejecting his advances. It's not entirely surprising; Lee's generally not too communicative with other teenage males. The only teenage guy Lee likes is Hamish, an old friend of his who he was recently reacquainted with.
'Let's go outside,' I suggested.
'Sure,' Roman agreed.
We sat at the outdoor table together, watching the chickens stalk around the backyard. They're bossy, noisy birds, and they shit absolutely everywhere, but I kind of like them. It amuses me when Ella – Lee's two year old daughter, who lives here along with her mother, Claire – chases them, and they make indignant squawks and run back to their pen.
The whole house is a nice place. Brett and Michael don't have as much money as my biological parents, but life with them is so simple, so easy. We live in a blue collar, suburban neighbourhood, in a forty year old Queenslander. I use the sleep-out as a bedroom, but it's private and cosy, and I appreciate the fact that no one can go into my room unless I invite them in.
The meals provided can be rather…original…as Claire is a vegetarian, and Brett is a believer in the mighty frying pan, whilst Michael works under the assumption that ninety percent of a family's meals can originate from a crock-pot, but I can live with the odd dishes that are frequently served up at dinner time. Oh, and the fact that we eat a damn lot of egg dishes. Although our neighbours help themselves to the eggs in the chook pen, we still have a fairly large surplus. Lee finds the ongoing egg drama hilarious, and if he asks you if you want a drink and you reply in the affirmative, he always adds 'do you want eggs with that?'
It's not a white picket fence lifestyle, but it's good. It's safe. I don't have to worry about having to drop out of high school, and Brett and Michael have already made it clear I'm welcome to continue living here next year, when I'm at university. I have a part-time job, enough money at my disposal to pay for at least some of the things I want, and I can make my own decisions about my life. There are rules, sure, and some of them I don't particularly like, but on the whole I'm extremely grateful I ended up here. I wouldn't swap it for the world.
'I still can't get over you had sex with Connor,' Roman remarks. 'But then I think 'you're not a virgin'. How cool is that? You're not a virgin anymore. Me, I'm going to be like fifty-five before I finally pop my cherry, and I'm straight. It should be easier for me.'
'Yeah, as you've said guys are horndogs. We'll hump anything.'
'Even Connor,' Romie smiled wryly. 'What a loser. But the only way now is up. You'll probably get screwed stupid at Uni.'
'Umm,' I mumbled. 'Maybe. You'll probably have sex more.'
Romie went to say something, but stopped himself. Instead, he sighed and buried his head in his arms.
'No, I bet neither of us will have sex,' he groaned. 'We'll be nerds. We won't be fashionable geeks, we'll be nerdy nerds. You'll continue to take it up the ass from short gay idiots, and I'll continue to jerk off to the rapidly ageing Pamela Anderson. Nothing will change. Nothing will ever, every change.'
I laughed at what he said, but didn't comment.
The sad part? He'd just hit the nail on the head.
If you are also a reader of Esquirella's work, you may have sussed out who Will is. This is actually set AFTER the return to Australia, but Esquirella writes faster than me, so I needed a headstart!