A Penny For Your Thoughts

A/N:This is my first attempt at a romance story, so this might not be to great. I do, however, have a warning for all reading this. This is a slash, and as such it's only fair to tell you this so you don't get surprised later on. The rating's for future chapters, as this one is a bit lack-luster in the cursing/drugs/alcohol/sex departments. Don't worry though, cursing (and sex, maybe) will show up later.

Sometimes, life really sucks. I mean really sucks. The kind of sucking that just makes you want to bring a metal bat everywhere you go and hit people when they start breathing. Especially friends.

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Chris and I'm a senior in high school. I wouldn't say I'm handsome, but I look a lot better than most other people. I have brown hair an inch or two past my shoulders I keep in a ponytail and glasses. I enjoy playing video games, reading, watching cartoons, and writing. I'm average weight and height, I'm smart, and I have the horrible duty of juggling three different personalities. That's right, one for my friends (#1), one for my family (#2), and one for myself (#3). No one has really seen the third 'me', because I'm afraid of how people will react to it. I'll just say that 'me' is just a bit paranoid…okay, a lot paranoid. If you knew my circumstances, you might be just as paranoid.

You see, I have a secret that I've been hiding for, oh, five years now. I would've sworn it would've been discovered by now, but somehow it hasn't and I'm both grateful and frustrated about that. The secret? I prefer men and I'm tired of hiding it. Before any of you dare ask why I hide it, I should give you an idea of the people I know.

My family is a faithful Christian family. Ain't irony a hoot? Ya, I said ain't. I'm Texan and proud of it. Anyway, faithful Christian family, clichéd I know, but deal with it. My dad's an overprotective, controlling person who cares for nothing less than perfection. My mom's a caring, strong woman (not a Christian, oddly) who I feel horrible for keeping this secret from, but do anyway. Brother's a pain in the ass, most likely homophobic (yippee), and is the most annoying thing ever. Sister's a college student, recently moved out, and the one person I feel comfortable around, but I have yet to tell her. I know…I'm a wuss.

Friends aren't much better. There's Ryan, a senior sketch artist who is Mormon and a homophobe; Erin, a sophomore photographer who's also a homophobe; Justin, a senior anime junkie who dresses up as Link; Blake, a junior wanna-be goth who's just a tad overweight; Sara, a senior photographer/artist who's constantly preaching the word of God; and finally Terry, a senior…something…who is constantly jumping from my list of attention-whores and insane.

That's right. I know three homophobes, two uber-Christians, and a goth. I have odd choices in friends. This is by no means all of the people I know, just the ones that I think might be important to this story. Other people very well might show up and I'll introduce them as I see fit.

I seem to have lost track of my line of thought. Life sucking, metal bats, hitting people, so on and so forth. Today is one of those days. You see, I am (or was, really) trying to get out of the closet, but I just can't find anyone to confide in and it's driving me nuts. Justin was my first choice, but he's best friends with Ryan and can't keep his mouth shut. Ryan, Erin, and Sara were my second/third/fourth choice(s), but you can probably tell why I would change my mind. That leaves Blake and Terry. I don't know Blake well enough to trust him with this kind of thing and Terry is…well…Terry. I can never understand what's going through his head and thus I don't know how he would react. Confused? Good.

Now, you might be asking why I want out of the closet. That has to do with the fact that it's getting awfully depressing in there with only myself to confide in. The only thing keeping me in there is that I'm too afraid that stepping out and letting people know will just make me more depressed than if I just stay in there.

Inner monologue aside, I should probably say why today made life suck. Well, it wouldn't make much sense without a bit of backtracking, so that's what I'm gonna do. Let's go back about…three months ago, back to September. It was the day we got back from Labor Day and school had already been going on for about three weeks. It was like any other day: waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, and dealing with thick-headed morons in most of my classes. I honestly like school, mostly because I'm the quiet guy in the corner that people know is smart. The book normally gives that part of way, in which I always have one. Most people gape at that, since apparently no one else in our school of 3000 plus students read. Amazing, no?

School is split into two days: 'A days' consist of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 8th period while 'B days' consist of 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th period. 1st and 8th are thirty minutes shorter than the others since its everyday. Now, things were fairly normal until 2nd period, English. I normally sit in the middle and the desk next to mine is empty and I prefer it that way. No one in that class bothers me until they need help with the assignment (which is about…oh…every question!) and I finish most things before everyone else does. I'm only in regular English because I prefer not to apply myself to things that don't interest me, like Shakespeare. Odd, considering I always read and continually type stories, but that's beside the point.

Things were normal up until the class actually started. Like I said, the seat next to me is normally empty and, since there's a seating chart, stays empty. Today it wasn't. I looked up from my book and see a rather good-looking guy sitting in the empty seat. He looked to be half a head taller than me, tanned, muscular, and messy, bright red hair that you just want to pull at during a passionate moment. Yeah, my mind was quick to go take a swim in that gutter. He looked at me and smiled.

"Hey, my name's Jason. What's yours?" he said in the sexiest voice I've heard all year. Deep, strong, confident, proud; my Achilles' heel. I'm a sucker for a good voice, because I hold the philosophy that a person's voice is a key factor in determining someone's personality. It also doesn't help that Jason is a name I happen to like.

"Chris," I respond, no hint of #3 slipping into #1. #3 is normally the one in control of my thoughts, just as a heads up. #1 and #2 are just outward appearances that I prefer to keep up. Jason sticks out his hand and I give it a firm shake before returning to my book. Or at least try to.

"Nice to meet ya," he said, ignoring the fact I'm trying to ignore him so #3 doesn't let my poor mind slide into the sewer. "I'm new here."

"I noticed." Yeah, I think I'd recognize a face (and voice and body and smile) like his.

"Do you think you could help me figure out my schedule? The last guy only told me where this class was." He pulls it out of the binder he had on his desk. I set my book down and lean over to look at it. I scan through his classes, getting an idea of his personality. Let's see…crud. Four of the five classes are same as mine. That means I get to try and hide awkwardness for three and a half hours a day from this guy.

"You have Calculus with me after this, Economics and Physics with me tomorrow and…" Did I read that right? "Drawing IV everyday. I can show you where all your classes are, it'll be easier than telling you." Why did I say that? Because I wanted an excuse to see him everyday, that's why. I look up at him and see a grin on his face.

"That's a relief, I was afraid I might not get to all my classes on time." He puts his schedule up as the teacher, Mrs. Diam, walks in.

As usual, I finish faster than everyone else and return to my book as everyone else struggles with finding the words at the bottom of the page to copy onto our vocab sheet. It's not that hard to find a word that she told us was on the bottom of the page, is it? Jason finishes a little after I do and turns to face me.

"What book are you reading?" he asks, trying oh-so-obviously to strike up a conversation. I look up at him and give him a look. The look that says 'you can see the cover, can't you?'.

"The Novice," I say, hoping that's enough to shut him up. Not even close.

"What's it about?" I give him another look, this time saying 'it wouldn't interest you'.

"Basically, a girl is discovered with magic stronger than everyone else except for the High Lord of the Magician's Guild. She finds out that said High Lord is practicing black magic and is forced to stay at the guild to help the Administrator to stop him from overthrowing the king." Clichés abound in this book, namely with characters. I left out the part that one guy in the book falls in love with another, but that's not the main focus.

"That's cool. Have you ever read The Keep of Fire before?" Did he just start talking about books? Someone else in this school can actually read?

"Yeah." Let's see if he actually knows about it.

"Did you get the feeling that Travis was starting to fall for Beltan?" I look at his oh-so-deep green eyes and I see a spark in his eyes. Time for #1 to respond and hide #3.

"You read the next book in the series?"

"I've read all six." Okay, he obviously wants to know if I'm gay, since that's the only way this conversation could head with a question like that.

"Then you should know the answer to that." I'm proud of myself, didn't even put my own book down, even after I stopped actually reading it. I look at him again from my book and I can see the disappointment in his eyes for not getting a satisfactory answer. One point for the secret-keeper, none for the hot guy across from me. He wasn't giving up though.

"Well, who was your favorite character in the series?" Oh, I just can't help but dangle a bit of bait in front of him now. I feel bad for doing this, but damn, he's hot and the answer won't hurt my disguise.

"It was Travis for the first three books, Aryn for the fourth and fifth, and Beltan and Anders in the sixth. What about you?" Time to set my own trap for the fellow.

"I liked Beltan and Falken for the whole series, and Melia was pretty good every now and then." The bell rings before I could form another question, but I can tell that this is going to be an interesting game of cat and mouse.

Time for 3rd period and I show Jason to our Calculus class, no more than two doors down. As I take a seat in the corner, he sits next to me. Curse you lack of seating charts, curse you! Before class starts, I decide to get something out of the way. Besides, let's see how he reacts to this.

"So, do you know about the easy way to remember the order of hallways?" I ask. I couldn't help but let that smirk through, his face was priceless. His eyebrow was raised in curiosity and I couldn't help but think of him as a cat. A big cat that likes to prowl, at least.

"No, I haven't. Care to tell me?" Oh, I will.

"There's six halls plus the gym. If you start at the gym and go down, the hallways spell B-A-FAG. H hall is just there, but none of your classes go all the way down there." He hid his face behind his hand as he covers his snort. "I knew you'd enjoy that."

"Did you think of that or is that known by everyone?"

"Everyone knows it. Heck, that's how it's been known since the place was built." He was still cracking up as the teacher walked in a few seconds later. As the teacher takes roll, Jason finally stops laughing long enough for the teacher to notice him.

"I don't think I've seen you before. New student?" he said in a matter-of-fact tone. I've always liked this teacher, mostly because he actually kept most kids in line. Not that hard to do for the advanced calculus class.

"Yeah, I just moved here from Florida." So that's where that tan came from. Thank god it's natural and not tanning booth like half the people at this school. Everyone here's a faker, including me.

"Well, if you need any help catching up to where we are, just ask Chris for help. He knows what he's doing if his scores are any indication." I kinda roll my eyes at this and turn a tad pink. I've never really been a fan of having the limelight on me. As the teacher, Mr. Reid, started the lesson, Jason turned his head at me and smiled before turning back to the lesson. I managed to hide the blush until he turned away. I really do hate hiding #3, but at the same time I'm so used to it I do it out of habit.

The lunch bell rings for the fourth (and final) lunch. I laughed on the inside when he thought the bell for second lunch was ours until I told him we had the last lunch. He groaned at that, and I started to wonder how his groans would sound somewhere else. Damn it, my mind's found the gutter again! I lead him to the table I sit at with Sara and Terry.

"Hey Chris, who's he?" Sara asks. She's a tad shorter than I am and has dark brown hair halfway down her back. Terry has his hand on the blue umbrella he keeps stashed in his blue jacket, his eyes following Jason's every move. Terry has a habit of taking out his umbrella and uses it as a sword against people. That and he always wears his blue jacket, no matter the weather. He has brown hair to his shoulders and glasses, which just seems to his look of craziness.

"This is Jason and if you attempt to attack him with the umbrella he'll hurt ya," I said. Terry lets out an 'hmph' and takes his hand out of his jacket and starts to eat. The four of us talk about the day and such, things that friends normally do. It's gotten to be so easy to fake interest in some things they bring up. It's too easy, in my opinion.

At the end of lunch, we all file out and I start to head for the parking lot. Jason follows me and we talk about small things.

"Hey, do you think you could come over for a bit? I don't think I really understood the math homework Mr. Reid gave us." I push down the gutter-thoughts that my mind splashes around.

"Sure, just let me call my dad so he knows where I'm going." Jason nods and I pull out my cell phone. It took a lot of effort to get this as a gift, but I enjoyed having it. My dad picks up, which isn't a surprise. Usually he just reads instead of actually working like he's supposed to.

"Hey dad, I was wondering if I could go to a friend's house for a while. Yeah, I'll be done in time to pick up Eddy. Okay, bye." I hang up and Jason is looking at me expectantly. "He said I could, but I've got to be gone in time to pick up my little brother."

"Oh, okay. How old's your bro?" We continue to walk, aiming for his car.

"Fifteen, he's a freshman here." He goes 'ah' as we reach his car, a small, beat up thing that looks like it recently got repaired. I climb in the passenger side after throwing my backpack in the back with his binder and he drives off to his house.

A/N: Well, there's the first chapter. I'm not sure why I decided to write this, but it felt good to do it. Please review!