“Charlie! Come over here,” Hannah called out across the crowded freshman hall. Charles Nebbit turned around to find his best friend beckoning for him to come over. “Be right there,” he called back, as he shut his locker door and walked over to where she stood.
Hannah and Charles had always been together; they were stuck like glue. Best friends since kindergarten, they knew pretty much everything about the other: favorite everything, they were really close.
He thought to himself “just keep calm and no-one will be the wiser.” He walked over at a medium pace, calculated to be just slow enough to not alert suspicion, but fast enough to not catch more attention. His heart, beating twice as fast as it should have been for his somewhat casual walking pace, and he was certain that Hannah would notice something different about him, but when she greeted him with her normal, bone-crushing bear hug, he was sure that she hadn’t caught on, and that nothing about his demeanor was different to the naked eye.
They talked for a while, and then the class bell rang, thus starting the stampede to the consecutive classroom doors. Hannah grabbed Charles’ hand and said “my house tonight for our study session, okay?” He reluctantly replied “yes,” as he walked through the door into his English class.
As soon as he settled into class, a million different questions swarmed his mind, so much so that he couldn’t concentrate on the class at hand. ‘Why does she want it at her house? She never has it at her house… Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything,” he thought to himself. Once this internal conversation had cleared, he finished his work early, and got back to day dreaming about what he normally day dreamed about: his secret crush. He was so far deep in dreamland, that when his teacher asked him what he had written about, he blurted out the name “Michael.” Charles blushed, but luckily being the very quick thinking man that he was, he made up some elaborate story featuring a man called Michael. Of course, the story was not so elaborate given that it was in fact the storyline of the dream that Charles had been having about his shirtless secret man.
Hannah was a room away, thinking about all the things she had planned for tonight. She had prepared every detail down to a tee, from the candles, to the romantic music, which was the music which had played during the first time that she had danced with Charles, this being the first time that Hannah had thought of her Charlie in a romantic way. She had pictured the scene a million times, her giving her first time to her best friend, and them spending the night together, intertwined, perfectly in love with one another. Nothing could ever ruin it, she thought.
The rest of the day went by without a glance. Both spent the rest of the classes daydreaming, until the final bells breaking their concentration, and reminding them that studying together was that much closer.
They walked home talking about whatever came to mind, whether it was the way that the person across the street was jamming along to whatever music he had blaring in his headphones, or the way the lady they had just passed was screaming on her cell phone, to whom they weren’t sure, but they assumed a babysitter or nanny who had just turned in her resignation.
Hannah and Charlie had arrived at the Baker’s residence. The house seemed different this time he saw it, but he couldn’t put a finger on what exactly it was. Hannah told Charlie to make himself comfortable and that once she changed, she would be right down.
Once Hannah went upstairs, and he heard the door close, he began running through the possible things he would tell his best friend. He began pacing, “Hannah, I know we have been friends forever. Damn, that sounds staged.” “How about Hannah, there’s something I need to tell you. Now that sounds less cliché,” he said sarcastically to himself. “What about Hannah, I…..” “You what Charlie?” she said as she came down the stairs in little more than her bathroom robe. She stared at him, while he tried to avoid her gaze. “Why are you avoiding me? Isn’t this what you want?” she said as she disrobed.
Charlie backed away from Hannah, still averting his eyes, although she still walked towards him. She kept talking and talked up until the time that all of the words that he had been trying to avoid spurted out of him at once. “Hannah, listen to me for once. Just shut up, put your clothes back on, and sit down.” Hannah, being scared by her friend’s newly found forcefulness proceeded to do so. Charles continued, “Hannah, we have known each other for so long; we have been there throughout it all, but I have been holding onto my secret for ages. The reason I put off your advances, every time you tried to hold my hand, or why I averted my eyes right now, is that,” he paused. He had never said what he was trying to say out loud; he had never outright admitted it to anyone, even to himself.
Hannah interrupted the silence. “Wait, so you mean you’re…. I mean you don’t like me, so that must mean…”
“Yes Hannah. I, Charles Nebbit, am gay. Is that what you wanted to hear? I am fucking gay.” Following this, Charles broke down and cried.
Hannah’s first reaction was to hug her best friend. She cried with him for a couple of moments, before she looked at him, wiped his tears away from his face, and told him “I will be your best friend, no matter what. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, purple, or polka dotted. I love you Charles.”
Charles bone-crushingly bear hugged his friend back, and reciprocated “I love you too Hannah.”