Author’s note: All characters in sexual situations are over 18.
Before I begin telling this story, you should probably know a few things about me. My name is Preston Nakamura. I’m an Asian-American (you probably guessed that), though both of my parents were born and raised in America. I’m kind of short, maybe 5’7″, and not very muscular. I’m pretty much the stereotypical nerdy Asian guy, minus the glasses.
I’m also gay.
I became pretty sure of that around the time puberty really kicked in, when I was about 14 years old. I found myself to always be more attracted to the boys around me and never the girls. I don’t really act effeminate, but I’m not exactly a man’s man, either. By the time I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school, there wasn’t much doubt left anymore. Telling my rather traditionalist parents that I was gay the following summer was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I was horrified of what they would do when they found out. I couldn’t even imagine my parents not loving me, I had always had a good relationship with them, but I was scared something would break that couldn’t be fixed again.
Thankfully, they took the news well. They weren’t mad at me, they weren’t even that shocked. They said that they had their suspicions over the years, before I could even put it together, and prepared themselves for the possibility. In all honesty I can’t say that they had no qualms about it, but they still wanted to support me and wanted me to be happy. Our relationship became sort of touch and go for a while, both me and my parents feeling like we had to walk on eggshells when we were talking to each other, but over time it got easier.
Coming out to my parents that summer gave me the confidence to leave the closet fully. Starting my junior year, I was openly gay. I didn’t parade it around or anything, but I promised myself to not pretend any more. I only really told my few sort-of-friends, but in this age of social media word can travel fast, and it seemed like the whole school knew in no time at all. My junior year started in 2015, and I lived in Maryland, a relatively progressive state, so I wasn’t faced with nearly as much judgment and prejudice as I feared I would. Sometimes it seemed like the other boys were a little bit uncomfortable around me, especially during gym class, but most people didn’t care I was gay. I only really had one bully: Todd West.
Todd was a jock, a member of the volleyball team and all-around popular guy. He was in the same grade as me and we were both at around the same academic level (above average but nothing spectacular), so we ended up taking several classes together. One constant source of discomfort was that I had a bit of a crush on him, and I think he could tell. Every time he caught me looking in his general direction he would glare at me, so I got into the habit of trying to not even face him if I could avoid it. The problem was that it was a relatively small school, so we saw a lot of each other. As the months of my junior year passed he seemed to hate me more and more. It started out with hateful stares and maybe some name-calling on occasion, but it got more and more aggressive. A few times he would “accidentally” bump into me in the hallway, making me feel just how much bigger and stronger than me he was.
Todd was pretty well built. I guessed he was around 6’3″, and coupling his height with his broad shoulders and strong arms he was intimidating as well as attractive. He never really indicated that he wanted to physically hurt me, but he took every opportunity to remind me how much weaker I was than him.
I did everything I could to not provoke him, but that didn’t seem to help matters. His animosity only increased over time. I didn’t tell the teachers about it for two reasons: The first was that he never did anything that bad to me, nothing that couldn’t just be brushed off as an accident or teasing. In a weird way, I kept things to myself out of a sense of pride. I felt like if I told the teachers about it, that would be proving to him that he got to me without doing too much at all. I convinced myself that if I ignored it and acted like he didn’t bother me I would win in the end. Looking back on it, that was the dumbest thing I could have done.
The second thing that stopped me from talking about it was that I was terrified of him, and not just because of his size. He was popular and well liked. Most of the students were more likely to take his side than mine if things got ugly. I was pretty sure that most of the classmates were aware of the bullying, but didn’t talk about it. I don’t think it was because they wanted it to happen, but more likely because they didn’t see it as their business, and thought that somebody else would probably do something about it instead. That didn’t happen.
Things were never comfortable, but they definitely came to a head early in our senior year. I don’t even remember what class it was, but during one of the classes we had together, the teacher asked me to come up to the front and do something on the board. I was sitting a few desks behind gaziantep escort him, and when I walked next to him his leg shot out and made me trip. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, and I snapped. I yelled at him, and the two of us got into a shouting match. None of the other students said a word, and the teacher had to break it up.
Todd and I both got detention for a week. Maybe they could sense how much we hated each other and figured that the awkward proximity would be a good way to punish us both. But, against my expectations, it wasn’t that bad. I was under the impression that he would continue with the intimidation tactics, even ramp them up, but instead he just ignored me, and I was happy to do the same. The five days passed without incident.
It was after the last detention that things got ugly.
We were both walking down the hall so we could leave, as usual doing whatever we could to not acknowledge the other. I made it a point to not look at him, and made sure to stay behind him so that he couldn’t sneak up on me.
It took about a second for several events to happen, one after another.
I was looking somewhere else, and he must have stopped walking, for what reason I didn’t know. Since I wasn’t looking, I walked right into him, but I was a bit to the side. Everything lined up perfectly, and my swinging hand made direct, obvious contact with his ass.
My blood turned to ice as I pulled away and jumped back. He noticed.
When he turned around, he was the angriest I had ever seen a person. It was like I could see an actual fire burning in his eyes. When he looked at me like that, I became petrified in fear.
“What the fuck was that?” He growled quietly.
“I-I’m sorry! That w-was an accident, I swear!”
He started walking up to me.
“That wasn’t a fucking accident. You just touched my ass!”
“No! P-please, listen!”
He grabbed me by the collar and lifted me clear off the ground. He slammed me hard against the nearby lockers, pinning me against them. I struggled, but he overpowered me easily.
“I ought to kill you for that, you faggot!”
He cut me off by kneeing me right in the gut. All the air in my body was forced out of me at once.
“Don’t say my fucking name!”
I could hardly breathe and my stomach was burning in pain, but I tried to get some more words out.
“I d-didn’t mean to—”
He interrupted me again, adjusting his grip so he held me up with one hand and drew the other back.
“Next time you’re feeling horny maybe think about THIS!!”
With that last word he punched me full force in the eye, making my head slam back so hard the lockers rattled. At the initial impact everything flashed white and slowly faded back in. I was able to register him letting me go and myself crumpling to the ground. Through the fog, I could see Todd with an almost shocked look on his face before he ran away at full speed. I remained on the floor, trying to recover from what had happened.
As I returned to coherence, I started to really feel the pain. I knew that I would have a black eye, and possibly a concussion, too. My back and front both ached. Against my will tears started falling and I just lied there on the cold floor, weeping quietly. I was mortified, and felt more alone than ever before.
Somehow, I managed to ride my bike home and my mother noticed my injury the instant she saw me. The next hour was a flurry of her tending to me, demanding that I tell her every single detail about what happened, and her getting pissed off, at both Todd and the school.
“I’m calling them right now and giving them a piece of my mind!”
“No, Mom! Please!”
“This isn’t up for discussion, Preston. You got assaulted and you expect me to just sit back and do nothing?!”
The two of us had an argument. I’m not sure why, but at that moment I considered needing my mother to come forward for me as just the cherry on top of all this humiliation. She wouldn’t budge at first, but eventually she relented, as long as I swore up and down that I would tell a teacher or counselor the instant I got to school the following day.
“I have no idea why you won’t just call now,” she said.
“I don’t want to do it right now. I just want this day to be over.”
Naturally that didn’t happen. Once Dad got home I had to do it all over again. More worrying, more explaining, more anger, more arguments. By the time we actually ate dinner it was about 8 PM, and I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I went straight to bed afterwards.
I woke up bright and early the next morning with a headache and one hell of a shiner. I examined myself in the mirror, sizing up the spectacular black eye Todd had given me. It wasn’t faint and it wasn’t small, it was a deep reddish purple, splotchy and uneven in color. It was tender to the touch, but didn’t hurt too much if I left it alone. I had a headache, and it was possible that was mildly concussed, though it wasn’t anything excruciating. I also had smaller bruises on my back from when he threw me against the lockers and on my stomach from when he kneed me in the gut. My body ached and my dad gave me some ibuprofen before I left for school that day.
I got there much earlier than I normally did, and spent a moderate chunk of time just standing in front of the principal’s office. I was angry about the whole thing and wanted Todd to get in trouble for it, but there was still a part of me that didn’t want to go in there. Still, my mother would have my hide if I did it, so I swallowed what was left of my pride and went in.
I told one of the counselors about it, making sure I was completely transparent and honest about what happened. Obviously, this was a very serious situation, not something anybody could ignore. They told me to wait in the little lobby of the administration wing and they would do what needed to be done.
It was a few minutes after the school day started that I heard the announcement on the PR system telling Todd West to come to the principal’s office immediately. I wasn’t sure if he even came to school that day, but considering what happened there’s no way he could have avoided consequences for very long. I was sitting in a location where he wouldn’t pass me on the way to the office, which I was very thankful for. I sat there for what felt like hours, too nervous to read a book or play on my phone or do much of anything besides glance over at the wall clock every few minutes. It was about 7:10 when the call was sent out and almost 8 when the guidance counselor got back to me.
He sat down beside me, in what I’m sure would have been a comforting manner if I wasn’t freaking out.
“Preston, I just had a discussion with Todd and his parents about this,” he began.
I nodded hesitantly.
“Todd was completely honest about it, not trying to deny that he did it, and he described the events more or less just like you did. To put it plainly, he’s pleading guilty to get a more lenient punishment.”
I raised my eyebrows. I didn’t really give too much thought about how Todd would handle this, I obviously had more pressing concerns, but it kind of surprised me that he didn’t try to deflect the situation at all. At that point I realized that I really didn’t know Todd that well.
“Is it okay if I ask what the punishment will be?”
“It’s not exactly kosher, but if you don’t tell anyone, he’s getting suspended for two weeks. If you ask me I think he got off easy, but in the end, it was the superintendent that made the call.”
I thought about it. It wasn’t like I told them just so that Todd would get punished, but two weeks of suspension did seem rather light. Still, I didn’t think it was my place to demand anything more.
“There’s something else, too,” he added. “In a few minutes I’m going to walk Todd over here so that he can directly apologize to you in person.”
He saw the scared look on my face.
“I’ll be there and he knows better than to try anything. I know this won’t be fun, but it has to happen.”
Once he got up it took all the willpower I possessed to not get up and run away. By some miracle I managed to stay put in the thirty seconds it took for him to leave and come back with Todd.
Todd looked like shit. He had dark circles under his eyes, like he didn’t get any sleep the previous night, messed up hair, and utterly defeated body language.
He slowly raised his head so he could look me in the face, and he looked shaken when he first saw my black eye. If this was a performance, he was an astounding actor. Still, it scared me to even be in the same room as him. He started talking in a quiet, even voice.
“Preston, I’m sorry for punching you. It was completely out of line and there is no excuse for what I did. I’m sorry that I flipped out so much over a simple accident and then just ran away. I deserve all the punishment I’m getting.”
He didn’t try to sugarcoat it and he didn’t ask for forgiveness. All things considered, it was the best apology I could have realistically asked for.
I still didn’t forgive him, so I just nodded and quietly said “Okay.”
The guidance counselor led him away, presumably to have him sent home, before coming back to me.
“You should go to class, Preston, but if you want to wait here a little longer that’s alright,” he told me.
I stayed a few minutes more before I went to class.
Everybody noticed my black eye, and all the students tried to ignore it, or just ignore me and not look my way. Todd had gotten in trouble for something, and I had a black eye. Considering what things were like between the two of us it wouldn’t have been hard to put two and two together. My few friends handled it well, treating me with the same kindness they always did, but for the rest of the students my presence was mostly uncomfortable to them.
As the hours passed I got more and more pissed off. I was pissed at Todd, pissed at all the students who knew he was bullying me and didn’t do anything about it, and pissed at myself for letting things get this bad. Now it felt like I had a giant brand on my face, and in a very real way I did. Nobody could even look at me without being reminded of what happened. I guess I thought that actually coming forward would be the hard part, but the aftermath was just as bad, and it was only the beginning.
It was the last period of the school day when I did something I’m not proud of. During the few minutes where everybody was waiting for the final bell to ring, one of Todd’s friends, a guy named Alan, approached me.
“Hey, Preston. How’s it going?” He was trying to sound casual.
I glowered at him.
“Well, gee, take a wild fucking guess how I’m doing.”
He blinked a few times.
“Don’t be like that, man—”
“Like what? Bruised and pissed off about it? I can’t really help that, sorry.”
He seemed genuinely taken aback. “I just wanted to know how you were doing…”
It makes me sad to think back on this, but in all honesty, I reveled in his discomfort. I wanted more of it.
“Why are you suddenly so interested? You didn’t give a shit about all the other things Todd’s done to me, why start now?” I was starting to raise my voice.
Alan looked like I just punched him in the gut. “I…”
My eyes started getting teary. “Save it. I don’t want your pity.”
At that point the classroom was silent and everybody was looking at us.
Before he could reply, the bell rang and I dashed out of the school, managing to get to my bike before breaking down completely.
I was just so done with it all. I was done with that school. I was done with the other students. I was done with crying so fucking much. I just wanted to go home, so that’s exactly what I did. That day happened to be a Friday, so I had a whole weekend ahead of me. I couldn’t pedal home fast enough.
I had a few days to think about things, and by the end of the weekend I was thoroughly disgusted with myself for how I acted towards Alan. Somebody showed some concern for once and I responded by throwing a tantrum. I needed to apologize to him.
Thankfully, he was in my homeroom, so I didn’t have to wait long on Monday. I walked up to him, slightly nervous.
“Alan, I’m sorry for what I said on Friday. I was just frustrated, and I’m sorry I took it out on you.”
He shook his head. “No, I’m the one who should apologize. You were right, I’ve been ignoring what Todd’s been doing to you. That’s not cool and you’re right to be pissed about it.”
He held out his hand. “Are we okay, dude?”
I smiled and accepted the handshake. “We’re fine.”
From that moment going forward things got easier. There wasn’t a drastic difference, but everybody was a little friendlier to me when I stopped sulking. Todd was gone, and in his absence, things got better for me.
Alan made a conscious effort to be more of a friend. He’d talk to me during breaks and eat lunch with me, or even invited me to the table he usually ate lunch at, placing me in his group of friends without batting an eye. It’s not like he was one of the popular guys and I was suddenly in the cool-kids club, he was just a normal person, but it was a group I’d never have hung out with otherwise. I wasn’t just pushed in and tolerated though, I was welcomed. I was wanted.
Before that, I could count how many people in the school who I thought cared about me on one hand, but now I had support coming from all sides. It was strange, and I started out thinking that they only did it out of pity, or maybe guilt for just sitting back and watching Todd torment me for so long, but most of it seemed genuine.
I will admit that some of the love I got made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I had some people call me brave for getting through what happened, I even got a few anonymous notes from other gay students, telling me that I wasn’t alone, or even that I inspired them. It was nice, but I didn’t really think I deserved it. It was a good thing that I could make other queer students feel better about their lot in life, but at the end of the day I hadn’t really done anything. I wasn’t a hero, I was just a kid who got bullied.
Still, I knew that I couldn’t say that. I didn’t want to be ungrateful, considering that for the first time in my years of high school I was really looking forward to going to school every day. Those two weeks were comfortable and fun for me.
Then Todd returned and things got…messy.
Todd’s was back the Monday two weeks after I made amends with Alan. He was in a few of my classes, and from what I could tell just wanted to blend in and not draw any attention to himself. He looked down and kept quiet, which was an improvement from how it had been before.
I was eating lunch with Alan that day, and Todd sat down at the table. It hadn’t occurred to me, but it seemed obvious at that point that Todd would sit at that table, too. He and Alan were friends, after all. He ate his food quietly, and on the few occasions he tried talking to Alan, he got short, curt answers. He finished his food and got up to leave the moment he was done. Alan must have registered my expression.