You Belong With MeBy: J.R. Loveless
RUNNING HIS hand through his hair, mussing up the short strands, Scott sighed in frustration for his friend. Craig and Derek were going at it again. Scott watched them arguing from across the schoolyard and wondered what had set them off this time. Craig threw up his arms several times in aggravation as Derek rolled his eyes at Craig and Scott could only pick up a word or two as they shouted at each other. Something about Derek not answering Craig’s texts hit Scott’s ears and Scott wanted to be the one rolling his eyes. Just the night before Craig had been complaining to Scott about Derek ignoring him. Scott shook his head, unable to comprehend why Craig even put up with someone like Derek after all the things Derek put him through.
Craig and Scott had been best friends for thirteen years. They always had each other’s back and felt one another’s joy and sorrow, and right now Scott ached inside with how unhappy Craig had been lately. They’d been going through this same routine for two years. The most recent argument was over the fact Derek was never around and had been avoiding Craig. Before that there was Derek’s drug use, and before that the fact Derek had disappeared for an entire month without telling Craig where he was going.
Scott’s distress over his friend’s situation wasn’t entirely selfless. Oh no. It wasn’t that simple. How he wished it were nothing more than friendly concern. The gods had decided to make his life a joke. It wasn’t that Scott was straight; if only it were that simple as well. Of course Scott was gay, but the fact of the matter was Scott was in love with Craig, and had been for a very long time. Only Craig never saw him as anything but a buddy, a friend, a shoulder to lean on when Derek hurt him time and again. Maybe Scott was born under the wrong star, or maybe it was just the way his life was meant to be.
He’d never told Craig how he felt, but he had told someone else: his own twin sister, Karen. She was always telling him he should confess to Craig, that maybe Craig felt the same way but was too scared of hurting their friendship by saying anything. Scott always told her there was no way in hell he would ruin their lifelong friendship over something like this. At least this way he was in Craig’s life, even if it did feel like a fresh scar was added to his heart every day.
Scott and Craig had met because of their parents. Their fathers worked for the same company, and Scott’s mother invited Craig over for Scott’s fifth birthday party. That was the day the two of them became inseparable. Where one went the other followed. They knew each other inside and out. Scott knew Craig hated bananas and Craig knew Scott was allergic to corn syrup. He knew Craig was secretly afraid of spiders like he was of the dark. Their taste in music was similar and both of them loved to dance. There was nothing they didn’t share together. They had come out to their parents together, supporting one another, and had each other’s backs when the bullying and hazing at school started. Scott remembered the day he’d finally admitted his feelings for Craig went beyond friendship.
He’d been on his way to class, hall pass in hand after attending an early morning meeting at the school newspaper, only to suddenly find himself shoved up against a locker. The captain of the football team, a big teenager named Devon, had him pinned to it, calling him a faggot and threatening to beat the queer out of him. Just as Devon pulled his fist back to start waling on him, Craig had grabbed Devon’s wrist from behind and, despite their size difference, challenged Devon. Scott could barely contain his relief and joy at seeing his friend. Craig had been late to school that morning by chance, having overslept. Their shouting brought several teachers and students out into the hallway, effectively halting anything further. The only one Scott had eyes for was Craig. He’d effectively been hooked from that day forward. Despite Craig’s obliviousness.
Craig broke Scott’s heart the day he lost his virginity. He called Scott up the same night and told him every last excruciatingly painful detail. That was the day he knew Craig was never going to love him like he wanted. But try telling that to his heart.
Scott was startled from his thoughts when Craig slammed his book bag onto the ground next to him. “Damn him! Why does he keep doing this shit to me?”