"Excellent job," Professor Smith said as he handed me my graded assignment. There was a big A written in red at the top of the paper.
It always felt great to get good grades, but especially when it was for my sports management class. I noticed he didn't tell anyone else 'excellent job' as he passed back the papers. He probably would have given me an A+ if that had been a possible grade to receive.
The professor left when he was done and the rest of us gathered our things and shuffled out of the room. Robert stopped me in the hall. I didn't think very highly of him. He was on the soccer team with me and Mateo, but he was one of the ones who whispered mean things behind our backs. I hadn't realized he was studying sports management as well. He hadn't been in my class during the fall semester and neither had the football player at his side. Robert was on the defensive line so I didn't really have to interact with him much in soccer. He was a junior so I was going to have to see him around for one more year.
I didn't speak to him or greet him. I waited for him to speak first.
He looked around to make sure no one was in hearing distance of us before he spoke. "You should leave the team. You and Mateo."
"I'm not going to do that," I said.
"You're being selfish," he said. "Everyone is uncomfortable with gay people in the locker room."
"No one is uncomfortable with me and Mateo except for you and your small group. You are not the majority and you can't force us off the team. They need me. It's why they gave me a full scholarship. You don't have a full scholarship do you?" He squirmed, but I already knew the answer to that. There weren't many of us on the soccer team with a full scholarship and I knew exactly who the others were. "If you're so uncomfortable with it, you can leave the team, but if the reason you are uncomfortable is because you think Mateo and I are secretly checking you out in the locker room, I can promise you that you don't have anything to hold our interest."
He did not like that. His face contorted with his anger while the football player beside him tried to hold in his laughter.
"Selfish fag," he said.
I rolled my eyes and began to walk away. He wasn't worth it.
"You and your boyfriend are disgusting. You're all going to hell. And when you get there, I hope you both burn and are raped..."
Boiling rage filled my entire being. I moved before I realized what I was doing. In a moment, I had him pinned against the wall with my forearm up against his throat. It wasn't enough to choke him, just enough to apply pressure. His football friend tried to pull me off him, but I pushed the much bigger man off me and then continued to put pressure on Robert's throat.
"I don't care what you say about me," I said, "but if you say anything like that again about my boyfriend or my friends I will make sure you are not on the team. You are not irreplaceable." He wasn't even a starter on the defensive line. I was sure if I talked with the coaches and explained that Robert was willfully stirring up trouble, they would kick him off the team or at the very least reprimand him. Not to mention the other players would not be on his side.
I pushed him into the wall one last time for emphasis and then left him and the football player.
There was snow on the ground, but the soccer team had planned to get together on the indoor track after school. I had no desire to play soccer today. I just wanted to see Vincent. I sent him a text.
Me: I'll meet you at the bus stop. Let's go home together.
My Love: I thought you were going to practice.
Me: I want to see you.
My Love: Okay. I'll meet you there.
He was waiting for me at the bus stop. He stood out among the other waiting students. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. I hugged him immediately. My arms squeezed tight around him.
"Everything okay?" he asked me as he hugged me back. A few of the students watched us. Some of them smiled, some went back to their phones or watching for the bus. None of them seemed disgusted.
"One of the players on my soccer team insulted our relationship," I said.
"Oh," he said with understanding. "Should I go talk to him?" He said it as if he could scare the guy away. Vincent wasn't scary.
I smiled that he would defend our relationship. "No," I said. "I already did."
"Okay," he smiled down at me.
We were the only ones there when we got home. Vincent tried to go to the desk to work on his homework, but I pulled him onto the bed with me.
"What is it?" he asked. "Are you bothered by what that guy said?"
"No," I said. I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him close. "I just want to hold you for a bit. Homework can wait a few minutes."
His arms came around me. This always felt right no matter how many times we held each other. We were silent for awhile, just enjoying the moment.
"I'm thinking about texting my grandma and asking for my biological dad's number," Vincent finally said. He pulled back slightly and watched me carefully for my reaction.
"Then maybe you should," I said.
"But what if it hurts her feelings?"
"I think under the circumstances, she'll understand," I said. "It's not like you are still living at home and they will kick you out if they find out. Her son is not a good dad to you. She admitted that herself."
"Yeah," he said hesitantly. "And I don't suddenly want to call my biological dad 'dad' or anything. I'm just curious. I don't expect him to offer me a place to live and I don't really want that either. But maybe if I can have some sort of relationship with one of my dads..." He didn't finish the sentence. "I mean, he reached out to me first so I know he at least wants to meet me."
"Then I think you should ask her. Or is there another way you could find out his number?"
"I don't think so," he said. "I don't even know what his name is. Even if I were on speaking terms with my mom, she wouldn't tell me and I highly doubt Aiden knows. I think she is the only one to ask."
"I'll support you with whatever you decide to do," I said.
He traced his fingers along my face, along my lips. His eyes darted to my lips. I thought I would get used to the lack of physical affection between us as more time went by, but instead my desire and want grew greater and greater. I didn't understand why he was so against us borrowing Alex's and Mateo's apartment. I knew why Mateo was, but I didn't care about that so much. I was sure Alex could convince him in the end if Vincent wasn't being so stubborn as well. And there had been a few times I had suggested we rent a hotel room for the night, but that was harder to do now that school had started again and Vincent was busy looking for a job. Vincent also said we shouldn't waste our money, but instead save for our own apartment. I had the money ready though, we were just waiting for someone to hire him. I still couldn't understand why he wasn't hired yet.
There had been several nights when I had woken in the middle of the night only to feel Vincent's hard on poking me. He would shift away from me until he fell asleep again and then inevitably he would move in his sleep until he was next to me again.
There had been times when I woke from erotic dreams too, of the two of us embraced naked in each others arms. I would move out from under his arms, turn away from him so I wouldn't see his handsome face and concentrate on the puppies we would get when we were out on our own and could afford one.
I leaned in and kissed him. It was a desperate kiss, desperate for the love, desire, want, determination. He was on his back. I hovered over him. Our tongues entwined with each other. His hands were on my hips. Then he rolled me over so I was on my back and he was over me, kissing me.
"Ack!" Kannika screamed. "My eyes." Her footsteps retreated from our bedroom door to the front door. I hadn't heard the front door open.
Vincent rolled off me as I rolled my eyes. Heavier footsteps walked to our door and then my dad peered in. His expression turned into confusion as Vincent and I sprawled out on the bed.
"I don't understand, Kanni," my dad said. He looked back towards the front door. "Why are you screaming 'my eyes'?"
"They were kissing," she said.
My dad looked back at us. I shrugged innocently.
"Kissing is allowed, Kannika," my dad said. "They are fully clothed. I don't understand what the problem is."
"That wasn't innocent kissing," she said.
My dad stepped away from the door and back towards Kannika. "If they are fully clothed, it's okay," my dad said.
I heard her sigh and then she stepped passed my bedroom to go to her bedroom.
My dad stepped into the doorframe. "Don't forget the rule though," he said pointedly to us.
"We were just kissing, dad."
"I know," my dad said, "but you were kissing alone in the house and that can lead to other things."
"Don't worry, dad. We aren't going to break the rule." My conviction to uphold that rule waned daily. I hadn't told anyone that though.
"Okay," my dad said, but he gave us one last stern look before he went on his way.
Vincent rolled off the bed.
"Where are you going?" I asked even though he was already pulling out the chair at the desk.
"We still need to do homework," he said.
"We can kiss some more," I said. I patted the bed beside me.
"No!" Kannika yelled from her bedroom.
Vincent shook his head as he opened his laptop. "Stop tormenting Kanni and do your homework," he said. He sounded like a parent.
"Fine," I sighed.
I got off the bed and went to the desk. Vincent looked at me questioningly until I bumped him with my hip to indicate he should share the chair with me. He shook his head, but slid to the side so I could sit next to him on the chair. We were both hanging half off the seat, but I didn't care because it gave me an excuse to touch my boyfriend.
I opened my laptop next to his and began to work on an assignment. It didn't take long for his hand to rest on my thigh. Then he began to squeeze my muscles. His warm hand slowly traveled up my thigh and I could no longer think about anything else. I could only think of all those nights in his apartment, on his bed, naked together, touching each other. His hand rested over my crotch and I realized the bedroom door was still open. I quickly removed his hand before I could get hard.
"I'd better go see if your dad needs help cooking dinner," Vincent said. He stood up abruptly and left the room.
I sighed with frustration, but at least I was able to get all my homework done. Vincent came back in just as I was finishing my last problem. He handed me his phone. On it was an open text from his grandma.
Grandma: I can meet you for lunch tomorrow. It might be the only time I'm able to. Bring Chet and meet me at the Japanese place by the university.
"Tell her we'll be there," I said and handed him back the phone. He nodded and typed in a response. "Did you text her first?" I asked.
"Yes," he said. "I told her I loved her and wanted to see her if it was possible. I also said if it wouldn't hurt her, I wanted my biological dad's number."
"What did she say to that?"
"Nothing specifically about the phone number. The only response from her was what you just read."
"I guess we'll meet her tomorrow and find out then," I said.