“If it’s prom, I know a few gals who would love for you to ask them.” She sat down, and immediately started rummaging through her lunch sack.
I ran my hands over my short hair, shaking my head again. I chewed on my thumbnail, staring into the crowd as I tried to gain the courage I needed to broach the subject that had caused so much contention between us.
Zane wandered into my line of sight with Danell Bryant hanging off him, and my eyes narrowed down. Slut . Zane’s blue eyes caught mine for just a second causing my stomach to tighten. Jealousy ? Really ? I’d never been a jealous person. Competitive? Yes. Jealous? No. It wasn’t— I couldn’t. But I was pretty sure I was.
Lily forced my knee still. “I knew it,” she said softly as she leaned against my shoulder.
I wasn’t even uncomfortable that she caught me ogling. I turned to her, my eyes wide and imploring. “What am I going to do?”
She pulled my head towards her, kissing my cheek. “Ask him to prom.”
I laughed, then noticed she was serious. “That’s insanity, and you know it. Besides he’s probably straight.” I laughed again, only it came out sounding strangled and hysterical. “But then, I thought I was too.” I threw up my hands, searching Lily’s face, and finding her hazel eyes cringingly sympathetic. “How did you know?”
She leaned back, carefully unwrapping her sandwich. “I didn’t. Not for sure anyway.” She took a bite, and chewed while sneaking glances at me. I waited, knowing she wasn’t being completely honest. She swallowed. “Okay, I kind of did.” She waved her bologna sandwich at me. “I’ve known you forever, and every time you date a girl all you do is complain and hide from her. Not to mention you talk about Tye like he’s your errant husband rather than a roping partner.”
“I’ve never liked Tye that way,” I broke in.
“Well, you get awfully defensive when he’s with Jamie rather than you.”
“I do not,” I said indignantly.
Lily’s dark eyebrows rose as she took another bite of her sandwich. I did get angry when he was with Jamie rather than me at the rodeos. I didn’t like him that way though. Okay, maybe I had been infatuated with him when we first started roping together, but it wasn’t the same. I had just been impressed with his roping skills—and I’d just about fallen off AJ the first time he removed his shirt to wipe the grime off his face.
I groaned, leaning over the table, and dropping my head onto my arms. Lily patted my back sympathetically. I was waiting for her to say; there, there. Yet thankfully she didn’t. I probably would have decked her if she had. No, I wouldn’t have, but I would have wanted to.
“Are you going to tell your folks?”
I peeked at her. “Are you insane? I don’t even know if I’m in the closet, and you want me to come out?” I frowned. “Did I say that right?”
She laughed, mussing my hair while I tried in vain to duck away. “Yeah, you did. I don’t know. Your dad counseled Gary’s parents.”
I glanced at the only known gay kid in school, sitting among the rest of the grunting monsters that were the varsity football team. Gary was a huge linebacker, and when he brought his college boyfriend to homecoming last year, no one, and I mean no one had given him any guff. If they had he would have squashed them. There had been a blurb in the school paper, and a rumor circulated that the guys tended to skip showers after practice now, but other than that, his coming out had been rather uneventful.
“Yeah, well, he had to do a lot of soul searching before he became accepting and stopped sidestepping Gary at church. My dad isn’t as progressive as people think.”
“You’re more your father’s son than you know, and look at how you’re taking this.” She smiled proudly, offering me some of her Fritos.
I took a few, shoving them in my mouth. While I crunched I thought about just how I was taking this. I felt