Been Here All Along

Free Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Book: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandy Hall
friend. I really don’t need to develop feelings for him. Not when I have a girlfriend. Not when he’s straight.
    At least, I think he’s straight. He’s never said anything about not being straight. And I have to assume that when I told him I was bi, he would have told me then if he was something other than straight.
    He moves as far away from me on the couch as possible and then grabs for the remote, hitting PLAY before I can say anything else to him.
    I cross my arms and try to understand what just happened. But maybe I don’t even want to know.
    As soon as the movie’s over, Gideon’s out the door in a flash, and I’m left to clean up the mess we made in the basement.
    I have this sinking feeling in my gut that I did something very wrong today. But I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know how to make it up to him.
    There’s this other thought, kind of creeping its way from the back of my brain as I pick up pieces of popcorn on the floor and make a pile of paper plates.
    I think I might kind of like Gideon.
    Like, like Gideon.
    I shake the feeling away and tell myself to forget it.

    A braver man would have texted Ruby back immediately with something cutting and witty to show her how much a text like that didn’t bother him.
    I am not that brave man.
    Instead I spend most of Monday slinking around school and hiding as much as I can. I don’t know how to deal with the issue, so I just don’t. I avoid it, ignore it, and downright fall into denial about it.
    The good news is that since I’m seventeen now, my mom’s letting me borrow her car every day this week, so I can celebrate my newfound independence by driving myself to school.
    That morning when I start up the car, I try not to imagine Kyle hopping over the fence in his very Kyle fashion and getting in the car with me. I very carefully do not imagine the conversation we’d be having, and I even more cautiously do not go anywhere near the thought of touching him.
    There is no touching Kyle.
    I do realize that I could allay a lot of my fears by asking Ruby what she’s going to do. I honestly don’t believe for a second she’s the kind of person who would out me, but I could imagine her maybe holding this over my head somehow. Not in a blackmailing kind of way. But maybe that’s only because I can’t imagine what she would blackmail me for.
    I’m slightly worried that Ruby’s blackmailing me and I don’t even know it.
    The morning wears on in exhausting fashion. It’s five minutes until lunch and I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I’ve been eating at a lunch table with a mix of my friends and Kyle’s friends lately, and I’m sure Ruby will be there. Waiting for me. Watching me like the weak little man I am.
    The thought alone makes me sigh so loud during precalc that the kid sitting next to me takes a moment away from whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing to glare at me like I let rip a silent but deadly fart rather than just a harmless exhale of lament. I glare right back. Do not mess with me , I tell him with my eyes. I am having a serious shit storm of a day.
    Kyle finds me at my locker during passing time and corners me.
    â€œWhere have you been all day? You’re like a Ringwraith slinking around school,” he says, his eyes sparkling in a way that I hate myself for noticing.
    â€œJust have a lot going on,” I sputter out.
    â€œI was a little surprised you left without me for school.”
    â€œOh, um, I guess I figured we’d drive separately.”
    â€œYou could have at least let me know before I waited for you,” he says, his eyes a little less sparkly now and a little more hurt.
    â€œI’m sorry,” I say. “I guess I thought I mentioned it to you.”
    â€œYou kind of ran off Saturday night,” he says.
    â€œYeah, sorry,” I say, trying to keep my

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