Breeze (The Mighty Queertet: Story 3)
Chapter 28: Resentful Undercurrent by Victory Thru Tears
Portman is sitting on the bench waiting for me.
“Don’t tell me you’ve been here all day.” I cross my arms over my chest.
“Not… all day. Too many buses kept stopping to ask where I was headed.” He shrugs defensively.
I laugh, and pull him up. We unlink hands when we enter the Eden Hall campus. We may be open to some people, but we’re not quite ready to prance around campus shouting out that we’re gay.
“So how was it?” He asks. I’ve been at my aunt and uncle’s all day, moving a few of my things in and getting myself reacquainted with them.
“It was fine,” I answer. “They have a nice house, really close to Guy’s actually.”
“I don’t mean the house. I mean them.” I can tell he’s really nervous for me. It’s a nice gesture, I guess, but sometimes I feel like he doesn’t think I can take care of myself.
“They’re great. Portman, it’s not like they’re a foster family or anything. They’re my aunt and uncle. I’ve known them all of my life.”
“Right.” Portman looks a little taken aback at the way I just snapped at him. I didn’t mean to sound snippy, it’s just that he can’t keep treating me like an infant.
“So, are they going to let me stay for the summer?” he asks after a few minutes of pause.
“I mentioned it, and they seemed really enthusiastic about the idea. My aunt Katie can’t have kids, and she said she wants me to bring friends over as often as possible.”
“Good, that shouldn’t be too hard. Adam and Charlie’ll be here, you said that Guy lives close by, and Maya’s staying with Taz for the summer.” Portman grins as we approach our dorm.
“Yeah, the only one missing will be Julie.” I unlock the door, and we gladly step into the air conditioning. Minnesota’s been going through a horrible heat wave, and it’s almost unbearable outside.
“I wish she could stay, but I don’t think she’d have too much fun staying with the lesbians… and she couldn’t very well stay with Connie.” Portman flops onto his bed.
“Yeah, I know. Hey, speaking of Connie. What’s with Adam lately, why’s he hanging out with her so much?” I sit myself down in a chair next to him.
“No idea. I think it has something to do with the fact that he and Charlie still aren’t speaking, and neither are she and Julie.”
I roll my eyes. “We are such clichéd teenagers.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Portman stops smiling. “We’ve all had to deal with some pretty bad stuff that I bet the average teenager doesn’t.”
“True.” What, with half of us getting beaten up constantly, getting disowned and whatnot.
“So what did you do all day?” I ask, trying to break the awkward silence that has just built up.
“I got some homework done.”
This really gets me. I stare at him, trying to scrape my jaw off the floor.
“Homework?” He’s probably not going to appreciate how incredulous I sound.
“Yeah,” he says defensively. I’m about to open my mouth to make a smart remark, but there’s an insistent knocking on the door.
Portman heaves himself up from the bed and opens the door. Maya rushes in, and quickly closes the door behind her.
“Something wrong?” I ask, amused by the look on her face.
“I’m going to kill Adam.” She grumbles, flopping down on the same spot Portman had been lying only a few seconds earlier. My boyfriend rolls his eyes and situates himself on the floor.
“Oh?” I set my chin on my hand and study her.
“He’s so annoying! Ever since he and Charlie broke up, he’s somehow attached himself to me. Sometimes he just acts so… argh!”
“Argh. What a great word.” I muse.
“It is. But really. I can’t be around him anymore. I had to escape, and Taz is caught up watching Gremlins with Charlie. It seems like he’s done the same kind of attaching thing to her that Adam has to me.”
“So why couldn’t you visit Julie or something?” Portman speaks up.
Maya and I both stare at him with surprise. I know that tone of voice. He’s pissed off.
“She was letting Ken and Dwayne practice shooting goals on her,” Maya says tentatively.
“So… why didn’t you go to the library or something? I don’t know.” Portman tries not to meet my eyes.
“Um, Portman… what’s going on?” She asks.
“Nothing, it’s just that Fulton just got back from his aunt and uncle’s, and we were trying to spend some time together.” He says.
I stare at him incredulously. We weren’t spending any time together! We were just sitting and talking. And plus, I enjoy Maya’s company. She’s a lot of fun to be around… just like Taz, but much more tolerable for long periods of time.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Maya’s face falls, and she drags herself up from the bed. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
I glare at Portman, and then motion for her to sit down again. “No, don’t leave. You weren’t interrupting anything, we were just hanging around.”
She reluctantly sits back down, but Portman glares at her.
“We were having a discussion.”
Maya gets up, presumably because of the look on his face.
“Oh, come off it. We weren’t discussing anything.” I scowl and point at the bed.
Maya sits down again.
“Stop doing that, you’re giving me a headache,” Portman snaps at her.
“I think I’m going to go.” Maya gets up a final time and exits the room before I can tell her to sit down again.
“What’s your problem?” I ask angrily.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you the same thing?” He retorts.
“Look, I’m allowed to have friends. What’s with you not letting me hang out with Maya?”
“We’ve all seen what happened with Charlie and Taz and their significant others. If I’m not mistaken, I do believe that Adam and Charlie have been broken up for a quite a few weeks now. I don’t want Maya to make that happen to us.”
I sigh. “Portman…”
He looks up from the floor, and I have to admit that the look in his eyes makes me melt.
“She’s just a friend, and not even a close one at that,” I say, drawing him up from the floor into my arms.
“I know, I just want to spend some time with you.”
I let our lips meet, although my head is still screaming “No!”
Isn’t this the type of thing I was thinking about earlier? Portman acting like a possessive, jealous freak? Why do I let myself go through this?
Because I’m still indebted to him. That’s going to follow me around for the rest of my life, whether Portman and I stay together or not.