Youwant to know how it happened for me? Well, it's a bit of a longstory...
I awoke in a coldsweat, jerking up to a sitting position. The abrupt movement wasenough to cause Teri, the tiger I'm not quite dating, but more than'just friends' with, to stir. Yawning, he looked up at me, eyes halfopen. My eyes glanced towards the green numbers on my digital clock.5:26 am. Teri snorted. 'Go bak t'sleep..." he slurred, closinghis eyes and rolling over away from me. I sat there in the dark,listening to him breathe. My name is Kristoph. Today is Family Day,an event at the college I go to. My family is coming to visit.
And today is the day Itell them I'm gay.
I pushed myself out ofbed and pulled some pants up over my butt. Maybe it was the deadsilence of morning, or the particular day that it was, but somethingmade me think about how it had come to this. Even though it had onlybeen a few weeks since I accepted that I liked other men, it feltlike something I should have done years ago. I'd been repressingmyself for years, unable to express my desires save throughpornographic websites and magazines. I silently padded across theolive green carpet of my bedroom floor and carefully shut the doorbehind me. Exercise always helped me focus, and I wanted to think. SoI walked across the cold linoleum of the kitchen and into the livingroom, where I laid down in front of the couch and used it as a braceto begin doing situps. When I had started first going to high school,I wondered why it seemed like every other guy chased girl after girl.I never saw the point to it. The only girl I attempted to court brokeup with me after two dates because I wasn't interested in kissing.Looking back, that was probably a sign. At first I had told myself Ijust needed the right woman. Later, I told myself I could just livethe rest of my life celibate. I resigned myself to loneliness.
Then he showed up in mylife.. A glittering, fabulous walking stereotype, the embodiment ofeverything I feared I'd become if I acknowledged my appetite for myown gender. How could I not stop and stare at him? I grunted andpanted a bit. I was up to fifty sit-ups and I was still a bit sorefrom the night before. Teri caught my eye and then I caught his inturn. At the time, I thought of him as nothing more than my ownantithesis. Yet perversely I wanted to understand him and why he wasthe way he was. Teri used my interest to strong arm his way into mylife. At a hundred sit-ups I stopped, putting my hands back along theliving room's teal carpet and breathing deeply. Teri pushed mefarther than I thought I was ready to go, and that scared me. I drovehim off, but he came back, this time meekly and seeking to makeamends.
That was the momentwhen he stopped being a stereotype, and I started to truly understandhim.
I had believed Teri tobe a hedonist, a superficial pervert only interested in physicalpleasure. Our first encounter didn't do much to dissuade me of thatopinion. When I chased him off I never expected to see him again. Buthe came back. Not to try to seduce me, but because he wanted toapologize. He took an interest in me. The more time I spent with him,the more proof I found. Teri is studying psychology to become atherapist. He goes out of his way to listen to people's problems.I've yet to see him say no to someone who came to him for help. Hewasn't the self-interested party boy I thought he was.
Which left me wonderingwhere that conclusion I had drawn before I even spoke with him evencame from. If that perception I drew was wrong, what else might Ihave been wrong about? Where did my conclusions about homosexualscome from? And what other beliefs did I carry that were erroneous? Istopped at the peak of my one hundred and twenty third situp andthought about that. I had never mused on why I had carried a biasagainst homosexuality before Teri waltzed into my life. It had justbeen this monster that I had fled from without ever considering itssource. I began to wonder if my parents also carried beliefs andbiases without knowing where they came from.
Once I came out, howwould they see me?
I felt a paw on myshoulder. When I turned my head and looked up, the tiger was there,clad in nothing more than a pair of sky blue woman's panties andrubbing his left eye. “I told you to go back to sleep, pup.”He grumbled as he tossed his hair, trying to get it to lay flat. Itdidn't work. After fussing with the curling tips of his pelt, hesighed and gave up. “You know, you don't have to do this.”
“That stillconfuses me.” I raised an eyebrow. “I can't believe thatyou of all people would be advocating hiding what I am from myparents.” I bent back down, pushing away from his paw, andresumed my third set of fifty sit-ups.
His arm snaked its wayback over to his side, paw resting on his hips as he swayed them.“Only because it's none of your parents’ dang businesswho you want to cuddle.” He growled a bit, tail twitching.
I pulled my chest up tomeet with my legs. “They raised me and they took care of me.And they're important to me. They deserve to be involved in my life.I don't want to hide who I am from them.” I bit my lip. “Isn'tthat how you felt when you came out to your parents?”
Teri's response, if youcould really call it that, was to lean in and nibble at my ear. Andthen put his paws on my shoulders and rub them. I'll mention now thatI've noticed Teri doesn't discuss his family. At the time I meant topress him on it further, but before I began to speak his paw hadfound its way to caressing my left nipple. Right then and there,libido won out over asking him anything. I'm learning that sex isintoxicating. This has become more evident to me the longer I'veallowed myself to share it with another. The feeling of Teri's breathagainst the back of my neck, for example, as he traced his paws alongmy bare chest, was incredible. It made it nearly impossible for me tofocus on anything else. I was sitting. His captive audience as hereached down and...
Ah,do you really want me to continue? It's just that this is a bitpersonal and... you do?!? Um, well then...
His left paw reacheddown past my chest and squirmed underneath the hem of my pants. Hishead pressed against mine. "Feels like we've got a bit ofmorning wood to take care of..." His words ended with a giggle,and then a tongue pressing into my right ear. His fingers traced upand down my cock, kneading the stiffening flesh like dough. It wastoo much. Even after several encounters with Teri he was stillfinding new ways to make me moan. I arched my head back and let out alow howl as his fingers rubbed against the tip of my cock, smearingsome of my precum around and between them, and began to stroke.
Teri pulled his head abit away from mine. “Sing for me, puppy.” he whisperedinto my ear, as he started to purr and his fingers danced along myshaft. His fingers drew circles on my flesh, once after another afteranother, bouncing down and up in a rhythmic pattern. Sensations likethat meant I wasn't about to stop making noises anytime soon. Istarted to thrust against my pants, the bulge within them fightingagainst the denim encasing it. Teri licked his lips as I let outanother yowl. “A sweeter song I have yet to hear.” Hepurred as his fingers begin moving faster up and down the full lengthof my cock, circling my knot and then bobbing up towards its peak.
It was at that pointthat I felt Teri's right paw brushing up against the base of my tail.Fingers pushed my pants out as he shoved his hand in, moving down tobelow my tail. I had just enough control over myself to gasp. I knewexactly where he was going with this. During our time together, I hadtaken him several times. However, we had never quite tried things theother way around. I felt a finger pressing between my two cheeks forthe very first time ever. And in the mood I was in, I kinda liked it.
My loins were on fire.I stopped moaning as I panted, thrusting up and down until I lostcontrol, spurting out into my jeans. Teri chuckled and pulled his pawback to lick at the mess on it. A few moments passed as I panted.Then I pushed away from him, and stood up. “Incubus!” Iswatted his rear with an expression that was a mix between a smirkand a snarl. “Now I need a fresh pair of pants.”
Teri looked down andsaw a dark spot on my pants. “Oh my god you were goingcommando!” He began to laugh. It probably would have seemedless funny if we both weren't running on five-ish hours of sleep.
I glared at him, earsflat against the back of my head. “Sssh! We've already giventhe people in the neighboring apartments enough cause for a noisecomplaint!”
Teri yawned. “Somethin walls you got around here, then!” He traced a finger alongmy bare chest from pec to shoulder as he sauntered past me. “Well,I don't know about you, but I'm still tired. I'm heading back to bed.You gonna join me?”
I thought about it fora moment. “I don't know if I can go back to sleep now. I'mnervous.”
Teri snorted. “Suityourself. But if it were me confronting family, I'd rather face themwell rested than groggy and grumpy.” he walked over towards thedoor to my room, putting a paw on it, and then craned his neck toturn back at me. “Also, studies have shown that holding a warm,fuzzy body tends to help with those nerves of yours. Just food forthought.” He walked into my bedroom.
After a few moment'shesitation, I joined him.
Every year the campushosts a Family Weekend where they arrange a lot of events toencourage relatives of their students to come, see their children andtheir siblings, and spend money. Like most events, participationisn't mandatory. Usually, you tend to see mostly local kids and theirfamilies participating, since people from out of state would have torent a motel room and come all the way out here just for a day ofseeing their son or daughter. However, my uncle Seymour works as aBiology professor here. This year he was letting my parents crash athis place free of charge, so they decided to come all the way fromVirginia to visit me. I planned out a lot of ways that the weekendcould go. I considered what I knew of my parents, and when would bethe best time to drop this bomb upon them. By the time their arrivalcame, I was confident that I had everything about how and when myparents would learn I was gay planned out to the last detail. Myparents liked to sleep in and never visited without calling first, soI expected a call from them roughly between nine-thirty and ten am.Plenty of time to send Teri back to his dorms, get myself dressed andprepped, and be ready to face the day.
Which is part of why Iwas so surprised when I heard someone knocking at my apartment doorat about 7:54 am. I rose up to a sitting position, as the knockingcontinued, in an irregular beat of some sort. For a second, I thoughtabout just letting it go and hoping it would go away. My parentswould have called and let me know about their plans. But there werethe only people I was expecting. What if they were trying to surpriseme? Teri rolled over, putting his paws up over his ears and growling.“Ugh... is someone using your door for bongos or something?”he frowned. “'s your place, Kristoph. Make it go away. Need mybeauty sleep.” he mumbled, staring up at me.
I hissed at him. “Stayhere!” I bolted up out of bed, pulled on some pants and one ofmy old t-shirts, and matted down my fur so I looked almost-sorta-notquite presentable, then raced towards the front door. I didn't thinkit was my parents. There was no way it was them. But if it was,against all odds, I was ruined. I tried to plot out their behavior inmy mind as I shut my bedroom door nice and tight. They'd want to seethe apartment, and they'd see my room and ask why there was amostly-naked man in it. And I couldn't think of any way to answerthat gracefully. I finally reached the front door, the secondswalking down my front hall feeling like minutes walking towards anexecution. Meanwhile, the person on the other side of my front doorhad changed the previous pattern of knocks and moved onto attemptingto perform the beat of some song. I grabbed the doorknob, twisted,and turned.
“Aw... I wasalmost finished banging out some killer Daft Punk there!”
The person standing inthe hallway of my apartment complex had an airy, lilting voice. Shestood a foot shorter than myself and was about half as wide fromshoulder to shoulder. Her eye color, a deep, muddy brown, matched myown shade exactly. She was wearing a grayscale Van Halen t-shirtdepicting a tour they performed before she was even born, along withtight khaki shorts. Since I last met her, she'd apparently gottenpermission, or more likely sought forgiveness, for dying her palegray fur a light blue. From head to toe she was that color, save forthe hair hanging down off of her head, which was a bright scarletred.
My sister leaned in andhugged me tightly. “I missed you, you big fussbucket!”
So yes, even before Imet Teri, I was used to nicknames. “Alex, how did you even gethere?” I looked down at her. After a moment of surprise Ireturned her hug, ruffling her blue fur a bit.
“Uh, it's notlike it was hard.” Alex pushed away from me and let her armsfall to her sides. “You gave our parents the address of yournew apartment when you moved. Mom and Dad were being old and sleepingin, so I used my phone's GPS and walked. You live like ten minutesaway from Uncle Seymour.”
She turned around,taking in the living area of the apartment. “Neat as always,bro. How do you find time to be a neat freak? Are you just not takingenough classwork?
“Ok. I misspoke.”I stared at the back of her shirt. “WHY are you here, Alex?”
She spun around on onefoot and put her hands on her hips. “I chose to tag along sincewe haven't seen each other since Christmas.” After a moment,she added to her reasoning “Besides, band practice got canceledthis weekend.” She gave me a glare, a smirk on her face. “Ismy presence that unwelcome?”
It wasn't unwelcome, itwas unplanned for. Alex was a variable that threatened to unbalanceboth sides of the equation. I had no idea how my little sister beinghere would affect things. But I had no idea how to say that withouthinting at it, and I wasn't sure I wanted her to know yet. Instead, Igave her a scowl. “I don't know whose presence I would findwelcome at my door before 9 am on a Saturday.”
“Oh deal with it,Kristoph.” Alex walked past me and rolled her eyes (I wasn'table to see her face at that point, but somehow I just knew) andwalked down my hall. “Come on. Give your sister the tour!Afterwards, we can hit up one of the restaurants around here and I'llbuy you breakfast.” She stopped at my room's shut door. “Thisyour bedroom? It's got that license plate you used to put on yourdoor at home...” Her paw reached towards my doorknob.
Panic gripped my gut asshe twisted the doorknob. “No, that's ok, don't-”
She froze and looked atme. “The part time wage-slave is offering you a free meal andyou're turning it down?”
I walked towards her.“No, I mean, my room's really messy, and I haven't gotten achance to clean up, so I'd rather grab breakfast now and give you thetour later-”
“Messy? The guywho organizes his socks in the drawer has a messy room?” Shelaughed. “This I gotta see.”
Teri had pulled himselfup to a sitting position, the covers pulled just high enough on thebed to cover his waist, just before the door opened on him. His pawwas midway through rubbing his right eye. The two of them stared ateach other. A moment of silence passed, and Alex pointed at him.“THAT... is either a really flat lady-friend, or the girliestguy I've ever laid eyes on.”
My paws were coveringmy face, as I tried to pinpoint exactly when my life had become acheesy sit-com.
Terilooked up from the bed at Alex, and quickly broke into a smirk. "I'mglad to see all my efforts are being noticed!" His ears perkedup as my spirits sunk down. "So you're his little sister, huh?Dang, what are the odds that a family'd have two gems?"
Teri'ssmirk was evidently contagious, and spread to my sister's face as shegazed back up at me. "Dang, you had a GUY over? Do mom and dadknow, bro?"
Istumbled for words. My whole beautiful plan for the weekend had beenshattered, and I was all I could do to watch the pieces rain down toearth around me. "I... er... ah..."
Alexbounced excitedly. "This is so cool! How long have you two beendating? Where did you meet? How old is he? Hey, this means I won thatbet with Patricia... She swore up and down that you were gonna end upa lonely Ace..."
Teristood up off the bed, wearing one of my bedsheets like some kind ofrobe. "You think that...? Oh no no no, dear..." Hesauntered over and put a paw on my sister's shoulder. "Kristophand I are just friends. I couldn't stand the noises my dormmate andhis companion were making last night, so I came over here to impose.Kristoph, albeit reluctantly, was a kind enough friend to let me usehis bed while he slept on the couch."
Iblinked. As lies go, it was a pretty good one. I felt conflicted,letting Teri deceive my sister, but I didn't speak up or protest.
Alex,to her credit, wasn't buying it. She narrowed her eyes and glared atme, trying to get my body language to tell her what she alreadysuspected. "Kristoph..." she said, waiting for me toconfirm or deny what he was saying.
Teripatted Alex's shoulder. "Hey kiddo, come on. You know your bigbrother better than I do, don't you? Do you really think he'd be thesort to have a playmate over on the night before his family came tovisit him?" I was and I had, but I hadn't been like that beforecollege. I was getting sloppy at keeping secrets.
Shelooked back up at Teri. "That... doesn't really seem like him,no." The light fell from Alex's eyes. "Aw... so you guysaren't gay?"
Teri'stail swished excitedly. "Oh, we're both very happy, all thingsconsidered." For a moment my sister directed her glare at him."But homosexual? You properly identified me, but your brothermight not be. Or might be. That's his business."
Inodded. "You, ah, s-shouldn't just jump to conclusions, Alex..."
Shesighed. "Whatevs. Hey, I'm gonna hit the restroom. Be back in abit."
AsI watched my sister's tail vanish into the bathroom, I turned andhissed at Teri. “What was thatabout? Why'd you lie to her?”I kept my voice low so she couldn't hear me. I hoped she couldn'thear me.
Herose his hand to stare at his claws, with a sedate smile plastered onhis face. “Would you havepreferred she followed that line of inquiry? I may not care if yourfamily knows you dig dudes, but I know you care.”His smile fell away, and he stared at me intensely. “Noone deserves to be outed before they're ready, puppy.”He turned around to start putting his shorts on. “Aslies go, it only buys you time anyway. She knows, puppy. She knows,even if she doesn't know she knows.”
I had one last fleetingglimpse of his behind as he covered his panties up with the frayeddenim shorts he had been wearing last night. Then he spun around onone foot and nodded at me. “Now I take it I have a class toattend to? Early morning on the weekend, while the professors are alldoing family day fundertainment?”
I nodded. “Er...yeah. If you would be so kind.” Teri grinned and put histop on, meandering into what I called the living room of my apartment(although it was also a kitchen). A few minutes passed, which Teriused to critique my décor for about the seventh time.
Midway through anuninteresting discussion about the color of my apartment's couch, mybathroom door opened and Alex walked out, shaking her head. “Man,no one deserves to use bathrooms that clean. It felt like spitting ina cathedral or something.” She walked up to us and stood nextto me, looking over Teri's wardrobe. “Heey... a bit frou-frou,but you're rocking that look!”
Teri swayed hiships. “Why thank you, good and clearly insightful young lady!”He chuckled. “I'm sorry I can't stay and exchange embarrassingKristoph stories, but I have to go dig into my own studies. Early catgets the bird and all that.”
Alex shrugged. “Fair'nuff. Hope to see you again, even if you aren't almost family.”
Teri turned andsauntered out the door, gently closing it behind him. A moment ofsilence passed between us both. I looked down at her. “Soo...”
She sighed. “Nicebutt on that one. Isn't it sad how all the good ones are gay? Maybehe's only SORTA gay... you think I might have a chance?”
And it was at thatpoint that I was subjected to mental images so horrifying I won't gointo any detail about them.
Iwasn't there for this part, but I heard about it later... and it'simportant for the story that you hear about it too.
The path back to thedorms from Kristoph's apartment had been getting easier to walk eachtime Teri had done it. He wondered if the fourth time would be easierthan the third. Standing outside the front doors to the dorms, heswiped his ID card and pulled the doors open, swaying his hipsslightly as he trotted inside.
Opening the door to hisroom, he thrust his arms inside the room. “I have arrived! Youcan resume your loving adoration of me now, Prison Wardrobe!”
His roommate, Xavier,looked up at him. “Oh, so my nickname is Prison Wardrobetoday?” The skunk raised an eyebrow up at Teri from his biologytext book. “I don't quite get it.”
Teri giggled. “Youknow... white and black bars? Your black fur with white stripes? Comeon, it fits.”
Xavier sighed. “I'mpretty sure the most fashionable prisoners wear orange these days,Teri.”
The tiger's responsewas to stick out his tongue. “Aw, shut up. They can't all begems.” He walked over to his bed and plopped down. “Sodid you have a good time staying in while I was having a good timegoing out?”
Xavier curled his tail,looking back at his text book. “A quiet time, anyway.” Heturned the page. “Somehow I managed to get some studying done,even with all the noise in the dorms.”
Teri crossed his legsas he leaned back against the wall. “Yeah, it seems likeeveryone's being extra noisy with Family Weekend. I hear the facultyis told not to assign any homework due on Monday. I know I didn't getany. Makes sense why people would be partying. Heck, I saw Zeke inthe next room over sneaking in a ton of beer.”
Xavier sighed. “Don'ttell me that. This is a dry campus. I'm gonna have to report to ourRA about that.”
Folding his arms, Terihuffed. “Hey, I LIKE Zeke. If you rat him out, I'll make sureto distract you for the rest of the weekend, Prison Wardrobe.”
The skunk bent his headdown towards his book. “Ugh, fine. Whatever. Even if you did, Ibet it'd still be easier to focus than that time you wanted to use meas a practice dummy for your massage technique.”
Teri stuck out histongue. “I maintain that had you let me practice, I'd haveskills to seduce even you, Prison Wardrobe.”
“Still straight,by the way.” Xavier pushed his head further into his book,blushing.
Teri grinned. “Justkeep telling yourself that, Xavier. Just keep telling yourself that.”
Anyway, gettingback to what Alex and I were up to...
“I called mumand dad. They're gonna meet us here in a few minutes.” Alexpushed her phone back into her purse and picked up a menu. I staredat its backside, the cutesy logo of a cartoon fried egg and what I'dalways assumed was an anthropomorphic bowl of pancake batter,complete with arms, legs, and a dripping spoon poking out of itshead-ish region. The characters on the menu bobbed up and down asAlex unfolded it. I was trying to think of ways to tell her aboutTeri and I before our parents got here.
Her oak-hued eyes litup. “Hey! Isn't it cool how they've got an Eggsy and Batterbyaround your college?” She looked back down at her meal options.“Do you still come to this place every Sunday for brunch?”
I hadn't responded yet,as lost in thought as I was, so she scowled at me. “Hellooooooo?Big brother? Still alive, right?” Her hand was waving across myrange of vision. “Do I need to use the smacking test?”
By that she meantsmacking me in the shoulder until I told her to stop. I shook myhead. “Uh, no! That's fine, sis.” I looked up at her,making eye contact to establish that I wasn't going to require anysmacking. “I do come here sometimes, yeah. But I'm pretty poorthese days, Alex. It's not like mom and dad pay for my Sunday brunchat the old breakfast nook anymore.”
Alex frowned. “Aw.I'm not looking forward to losing my ability to mooch off of our dearparents. That must be the only sucky thing about going to college.”Her frown rose into a smirk. “Unless my dear brother who canalways confide in me would care to share some other, greater suckymoments to better prepare his beautiful baby sister for the big badworld of almost-adulthood?” She tossed her red headfur back,pushing her bangs away from her face.
That was probably asclose to “How has your life been going?” as Alex wouldever get to asking. “Well...” I looked down at my menuwhile I thought, having already resolved to just order the hashbrowns and toast plate like I always do. “College has its shitto deal with, Alex. I mean, it's not just the homework and papers.All the things mom and dad did that we take for granted, all of asudden were little things I had to do on my own.” I folded myarms. “Picking up after my own messes. Cooking my ownfood...sometimes. Even cleaning dirty laundry.” And while wewere at it, I had some dirty laundry I needed to air out. “Hey,Alex...” I swallowed, trying to focus on keeping my ears fromshowing off how nervous I was. “Y-you seemed pretty excited tofind out I was gay before. Is that really what you think about... youknow... me?” I folded my paws, letting them rest on my thighsclasped together.
Alex rolled her eyesand threw up her arms. “Oh my god, are you really uncomfortablethat I thought you were gay?” She narrowed her eyes and gazedat me. “Gawd, sorry or whatever. It wasn't like I thought itwas a bad thing or anything. Heck, in some bizarro-universe somewherewe could've teamed up to do some guy-watching at the mall back home.”
“That would neverhappen.” I said, quicker than I would have liked.
“Pfft.”Alex waved a paw at me. “Fine, be no fun. Look, it's not likeit's that hard an assumption to draw. You weren't exactly considereda bad catch back at high school, you know.” She leaned forward,her face breaking out into a wide smile as she rested it on her paws,looking up at me. “After you started pumping iron, like half ofmy friends leaned on me at least once for tips on how to get you tolook their way. Remember Chrissy? At my birthday pool party shewasn't prancing around in a red polka-dot string bikini because shewanted to get some extra sun, you know.”
I blinked and my earspricked up. “Wait, Chrissy was flirting with me at your poolparty?” The image of the cheerful young calico cat in cherrycolored polka-dots popped into my head. “I thought she was justreally friendly.”
Alex chuckled. “Onlywith guys. Trust me on that one.” As a waitress came up to takeour order, her ears perked up. “I think I'm gonna order thecookie dough morning milkshake. What about you?”
“You're not goingto have anything to eat?” I raised an eyebrow at her.
“The milkshake'sa breakfast and a half right there.” She reached over andpointed it out on my menu, her arm pushing my own menu down. “See?”
I scowled. “Stopthat.” As I pulled my menu back. “Well, don't startmooching off of my plate once everyone's eating. If you'reunder-ordering again you know you're just gonna get hungry later.”
Alex grinned. “Nope,that'd never happen.”
I rolled my eyes.“Would this be the fifth or sixth time you've said that?”
The bell at the frontdoor jingled, and Alex shot up from the relaxed slouch her body hadbeen in. “There's mom and dad!” She pointed and I turnedaround.
Dad walked in first,his old gray leather sports jacket flapping back and forth along hissides. Mom's nagged him to replace that thing for years, but evenwith a busted zipper he wears it everywhere. He held the door openfor Mom, wearing her favorite lilac sundress. She walked in past him,turning her head to scan through the restaurant. Her eyes lit up asher gaze fell on us and she walked over towards us at a brisk pace. Iknew what was coming, so I stood up just before she wrapped her armsaround me. “My baby! I missed my little puppy!” Mom is astall as I am and apparently built out of the same stuff; she's onlyslightly thinner and doesn't mind at all that her hugs often chokethe life out of the recipients. “I was so worried when I didn'treceive a letter from you last month!”
Yes,I still write physical letters in this day and age. Shut up. Iusually send my family one every month...
I fought for breathuntil she let go. “It's good to see you too, mom.” Ireached up to rub my back. “Ah... I just forgot to write. Mylife's been sorta turned upside down lately and it slipped my mind.”Teri's face flashed in my mind. It was hardly his fault, but he wasthe trigger for all the “distractions” I had been havinglately.
Alex had laid down onthe cushions of the restaurant booth and was looking up at us. “He'sbeen having guys over at his apartment! Writing home probably hasbecome a secondary concern.”
I shot her a glare asmy mother looked at me, obviously perplexed. “I've had friendsover a lot lately, yeah. Just hanging out, stuff like that.”
Mom pushed the brim ofher bamboo-weave sunhat up. “Aw... I'm glad my puppy's finallymaking friends. You were so quiet in high school, I didn't think youever spent any time with anyone.” She ran some fingers throughher hair.
I grumbled and foldedmy arms. “I had friends in high school!”
“Not ones we eversaw.” Alex stuck her tongue out at me. “You brought like,zero people over to the house. I almost thought you were ashamed ofus.”
I tried not to look ather, rolling my eyes. “At least I'm not ashamed of my ownpelt.” My little sister had changed her fur color, to myknowledge, at least eight times in the past seven months. She seemeddetermined to dye her fur until no one alive remembered that itstarted out snow white.
Alex growled at me. “Ican express myself however I want, you dick!”
Mom huffed at us both.“Cubs, stop that! I raised you better than to bicker with eachother over such trifles.” Her expression softened. “Kristoph,Alex just means that we're both a bit surprised that you're being sosocial. I'm so proud of you!”
“Yeah. Give him ayear or two more and maybe he'll get laid, too.” Alex giggledas mom and I both glared at her.
“You look good,son.” Dad gazed up at me.
People always joke thatwe're not related once they see dad and I in the same place. For onething, neither Alex nor I inherited dad's copper-brown fur color. Myfur is slightly grayer than the dirty snow color of mom's. I'm alsotaller than he is; dad is about five foot ten and I'm at least sixfoot three. This meant he had to look up at me whenever he wanted tomake eye contact, as he was doing right now. My father has got thesedeep green eyes, and staring into them always felt a bit intense forme. Dad rarely speaks, but whenever he does he expects people tolisten.
This was one of thosetimes. He was gazing right into my eyes, his paws clutched around theoak cane he's been bringing everywhere he's went in the last fewyears. “I was worried that college would cause you to neglectyour physical training. I'm pleased to see I was wrong.”
I reached my arm backbehind my head, grinning. “Ah, it's something to do. So how'sthe home team doing?” Dad got me into baseball, and ourconversations about our favorite team had been known to dominatedinner table conversation.
Dad shook his head.“Eh, the new shortstop can't hold a candle to our last one. Gotbutterfingers, that one does. Halfway decent hitter though.”
We chatted a bit as wewalked over towards the booth Dad and I followed behind Mom and Alex,who were having their own conversation. I slid down onto the cushionon our seat. Mom slid in next to me, with Alex and Dad staring overat us from across the booth. I was silent as I listened to my familymaking small talk. I needed a second to think.
When I first met Teri,it had felt like this vast precipice I couldn't dare cross. On oneend I stood, and on the other, what I thought would make me happy.Sex. Intimacy. The ability to connect with someone romantically. Thethings I'd denied myself, separate from me by a small, jagged gapcreated by my own fears. One step, and I could have made it across.But the vast depths of oblivion rested between the two edges, jaggedand sure to shatter me if I were to misstep. And Teri had, whether hewanted to or not, shoved me across.
I felt myself standingat another such precipice now. My family was on the other end. Whathappened once I crossed it? Would they welcome me with open arms, orshove me back over the brink? I'd made plans. I wanted to come out tothem once they had been here for a while. Once I had reminded them ofhow nice it was for all of us to be together. But that was before mysister had come along. Before she started talking about me havingguys over at my apartment. She seemed pretty alright with the idea ofme being attracted to guys, but that was just as bad in some ways.What if she mentioned that the friend I had over was gay? What elsemight she do that could cause unplanned variables? I grit my teeth,and clenched my fists. It was time to take a step forward and findout if I reached the other side, or fell into the abyss.
“Mom... Dad...Alex... I'm gay.”
My family stared at me.There was silence for what felt like forever. Dad was glaring at me,his eyes narrow. Mom was taking a sip of water when I spoke, andplaced the glass back down next to her bare plate. Then, Alex brokethe silence as she coughed, looked up at me, and grinned. “Fuckingcalled it.”
Mother turned andglared at her. “Alexandra! You watch your language!”
Alex rolled her eyesand threw up her arms. “Oh my gawd mom. Everyone swears thesedays.”
“We are noteveryone, young lady!” Mom snarled. “Those words are overused, and demean the whole language merely by people relying on themas a linguistic crutch. I expect my pups to be more creative thanresorting to such plebeian curse words.”
I felt dizzy. “But...I just told all of you that... don't you guys care?”
Dad cleared his throat,speaking in a low growl. “Son, I think-” Only to be cutshort when mom put a finger to his lips.
My mother looked athim. “A moment, Ivan.” She turned her head and looked atme, narrowing her eyes. “You're sure?”
I thought back to myfirst night with Teri. I still couldn't think about some of thethings we did without getting uncomfortably stiff down below.“...pretty sure. All the empirical evidence indicates it,anyway.”
She bared her fangs andlocked eyes with me. “And you used, and will continue to useprotection, will you not?” Her right hand reached over to reston my shoulder.
I felt a shiver rundown my spine. “Um, yes...” I was staring death in theeyes.
Suddenly I felt herfingers digging into my shoulder, threatening to cut off circulation.“And you are still going to get me grandpups one way oranother, won't you?” I saw Alex open her mouth, almost saysomething, and then clamp her mouth shut again. She and I both knewnot to interrupt mom when she was like this.
I whimpered, my faceflinching. “Eventually?” I grinned tightly, hoping she'dlet go.
My mother let go, andgave me a wide, fanged grin that was not as reassuring as I guessedshe thought it would be. “Then we're all very happy that you'vediscovered this about yourself, dear.”
Dad held up a finger.“Anastasia, I want to-”
Mom turned her grin athim. “We'll discuss it later, Ivan.” Dad shut up as shelet go of my shoulder and pulled her hand back to rest at her side. Ifelt as if an immense burden was lifted off of me. The rest of themeal went fairly smoothly. Mom and Alex and I talked about mostlytrivial things. Dad kept staring at me, his face blank, and onlyspoke when he was spoken to first. I had no idea what he wasthinking. But it worried me. Dad was never the most talkative personat the best of times, but now he was practically mute. Was he angryat me? Disappointed? I couldn't imagine any other reason why he'd beso deliberately silent. I wanted to ask him about it, but I wasworried I might just be freaking out about nothing.
My parents paid thebill as the four of us walked out. Mom looked over towards Alex. “I'mgoing to use the facilities. Care to join me, Alexandra?” Alexnodded and followed after her.
Myfather and I watched Mom and Alex walking off. Once they were nolonger in view he coughed and turned to look up at me. "Now.With both of them distracted, I thought we could have a wordtogether, as men."
Istiffened. Dad only used the expression "as men" when hewanted to have a conversation he expected me to remember, I wasn'treally looking forward to it, so I stalled for time. "W-well, Idon't mind talking, but maybe we should wait until after Parent'sweekend? I mean, Mom and Alex could come back, and if you want totalk uninterrupted..."
"Kristoph."Dad seemed intent on continuing in spite of my attempts to delay him."I want you to tell me why you hid your feelings on this..."he paused, making a fist. “…this ‘gay’business from us for so long."
Ifound myself staring directly at his eyes. He'd narrowed them. Was heangry at me? It felt like it, but I couldn't figure out why. "Dad,I just figured it out myself a few weeks ago. I spent several yearst-trying to decide if it meant there was something, well, wrong withme." I looked away, frowning. This conversation was calling backto mind memories and feelings I hated revisiting. At the moment, Iwould have loved to be anywhere but where I was.
"Yeah,but you could've come to us. Your mom and I aren't exactly pups whenit comes to the world and its complexities, Kristoph. We couldahelped you figure it out."
Iclosed my eyes just so I didn't have to stare into his. I allowed alight sigh to escape my lips. Then I spoke, making an effort not tostutter. Not to let myself seem nervous. "Because I didn't wantto change who I was to you."
Dadfolded his arms. "What?"
"BecauseI didn't want to stop being 'your son Kristoph' and start being 'yourgay son Kristoph.’ I thought about some of the horror storiesI'd heard growing up about other kids coming out. Because the secondI started talking like I might be attracted to other guys, suddenlyit becomes the only thing people see." My ears fell flat againstmy head. "I didn't want you to start treating me different, liketrying to toughen me up."
Mydad rolled his eyes. "You're built like your mother and I'veseen her lift furniture one-handed. How much tougher do you need tobe?"
"That's notthe point!" I threw my arms out in front of myself. "Growingup I heard plenty of horror stories about what happens when teenscome out. The p-phrase 'just confused' or 'just need to meet theright person’ tend to be used in the BEST of cases. A lot ofstories can get pretty ugly." I turned away and thrust my armsup into the air. "What if mom had tried to arrange dates withgirls for me? Or you tried to beat it out of me?"
Dadfolded his arms and snarled. "You reallythink I'd have hit you, kid?"
"Ididn't know! I had no way of knowing how you'd react!" Igrowled. "It wasn't easy to even do this here. Where you have toleave eventually if it did get ugly." I stopped to take abreath. All that had just poured out of me all of a sudden.
Atsome point my dad had turned his back to me. I had been about tocontinue my rant when he interrupted me. "You know for the pastseveral years you have made your mother worry quite a bit."
"Youand mom worried about me?"
"Yourmom worries quite a bit about her pups, kiddo. But this was a specialworry." He sighed. "You went into ninth grade and went froma happy adjusted NORMAL kid to having these melancholy fits every sooften. For a while she thought you were depressed. I didn't think itwas that simple, myself." He folded his arms. "You're likeme, kid. You keep to yourself even when it ain't the smart thing todo. It's a bad habit for both of us." he started to growl. "Butyou're a worrier too. You get that from her. And you thought it was agood idea to keep this to yourself and worry yourself into a complexinstead of just speaking up and maybe getting some help, REAL help,sorting yourself out. All because you worried you couldn't trust thepeople who raised you from the moment you were born. That hurts,kid."
"The girlsare coming back." He snorted and turned away from me. "Goodluck carrying the weight of the whole wide world on your shoulders,Atlas."
Dad turned towalk up to Alex and Mom, leaving me to stew in my own mixed feelings.
Andthat was it. I mean, it was only the beginning of Family Day,certainly. There were all sorts of events set up around the schoolfor parents to spend their money in an attempt to bond with theirkids. Not to mention that Alex was pretty much insufferable the wholetime after finding out I was gay. But most of the stuff aboutcakewalks and my sister trying to goad me into conversations aboutguy's butts isn't interesting, is it? It's just family, doing familythings. I'm sure you want to know what happened when Teri and I metagain that evening.
Andhow he almost died.
Tobe continued in Part 2!