Luke is still on cloud nine after what happened in the park with Cameron. He has a boyfriend and is in shock. At the same time he is completely and utterly head over heels in love.
Cameron wants to announce the two of them as a couple at school. He is adamant that together Luke and Cam can make changes in the way being gay is perceived at school.
Luke knows just what real life can be like. His heart wants to believe that Cameron is right but his head tells him differently.
When everyone starts to accuse Luke of changing Cameron he wonders if he can ever be happy in a relationship. Not just at school.
“Are you seeing him tonight?” Mitchell changed the direction of the conversation. Luke analyzed the question for accusation or judgment. He couldn’t see either; in fact, there appeared to be a level of hope in his friend's tone.
“In the park. At eight.”
“Call your mom, stay here to eat, and I'll walk you to meet him.”
“You don't need to—”
“Luke, I wasn’t joking about keeping your head down. You need to have your wits about you. The rest of the team is looking to blame someone for their captain’s sudden one-eighty.”
“So it didn’t matter then.” Disappointment and anger at himself for letting Cam walk in alone today knifed through him. Squeezing his eyes shut, he realized his throat was tight with emotion.
“What do you mean?” Playing for time, Luke took a deep swallow of water and then fiddled with the cap to the bottle. “Luke?”
He wasn’t sure how much he needed to explain to Mitchell. Mitchell probably understood his life better than anyone, but still… there were things Mitchell could probably never understand.
Being clumsy and a math brain and gay… well, that was three strikes right there. He was different, and kids had picked on him, nothing he could change. But after a while they had just become bored, and he’d basked in the glow of having no attention at all.
“They'd given up on me, you know. I was no fun anymore to all the people that used to go out of their way to brighten their day by beating down on mine. I liked it that way.” He took another gulp of water. “I'm out of here in a few months, and I’m going to build something for myself, be someone different.” He stopped talking and rolled onto his stomach, closing his eyes and resting his chin on his hands mirror to Mitchell.
“I kind of like the you that you are,” Mitchell murmured, then added, “but if it makes you happy then I know you will.”
“It’s not long until the end of school. I could have done that, made it to the end. Then Cam decides he wants a real ‘us’, and he wants it now.” Agitation shot through Luke, and he couldn’t open his eyes. He had to make someone else see that he was making sense. “This isn’t some TV show, Mitch; this is actual life, and I'm scared.”