Okay, I’m officially freaking out! I’m sitting at the dinner table on Thanksgiving afternoon with my parents, my sister, my grandparents on both sides of the family and Jayden. He’s talking his head off and has my family’s captive attention. He’s telling stories from basketball and football games. He’s talking like a perfect gentleman without any of the gangster slang he often uses with me and his friends. He is totally putting on perfectly self-absorbed gentleman show for my parents.
I had never realized how self-absorbed he was until today. Every conversation has been around him, even at his mom’s house. As if reading my mind, he turned and looked at me. “And,” he said with the grin never leaving his face, “you all should have seen Lori kick my behind on the basketball court.” He started telling my family about all the things we had been doing together, minus the make out sessions in his car.
This probably wouldn’t seem so bad to me, except that I’m having doubts about my sexuality again. I thought I was bi when I started being attracted to Jayden, but then, I was sitting next to Kayla at the table last week while we worked on our papers for English and I ached to touch her. I’ve always thought she was beautiful and had a bit of a crush on her but that day it was all I could do to keep my hands to myself. I never feel like that with Jayden. I mean, I like him and I like kissing him, but I never have that feeling of losing control. Only a few other girls have made me feel that way, but this time it was different, it was stronger than any other time.
I’m sitting here listening to him talk to my family about stuff we’ve done and plans he has like we’re going to be together forever and I’m starting to sweat. I want to tell him to stop talking about what we’re going to do for Christmas and New Year’s. He’s talking like the decisions have already been made and we haven’t even talked about these things yet.
“Are you okay, Lori?” My Grandma Winters asked.
I looked up at her and I know I have the deer caught in the headlights look on my face. “I’m not feeling all that great,” I said truthfully. “I guess I’ve had too much to eat today.”
“I guess so,” Jayden said with a laugh. “You ate a little of everything at my mom’s house and a little of everything here. We’ll definitely have to get out and run this week to get all this off.”
My mom laughed at his comment. “Won’t we all.”
He went on to talk about the workout he has planned for us when we get back to school. I sat there listening to him talk, feeling completely uncertain about whether or not I really like him as much as I thought I did. Thoughts of Kayla began weaving their way into my mind. The smell of her perfume, the way she reached over and corrected my spelling errors. She had even teased me some about Jayden and me making up after our little quarrel on the phone. She actually seemed to be relaxing around me again.
“Isn’t that right, Lori?” Jayden said loudly.
I looked up and realized that I had drifted off into my thoughts about Kayla. “What?”
Jayden smiled tightly. “That we are going to my grandmother’s for dinner Sunday.”
“Oh, yes,” I said. “I guess I’ll have to starve myself for the next two days so I’ll room for food at her house.”
There was a consensus of agreement and them my mom changed the subject. “So when’s your last final?” she asked me.
“I think December sixteenth,” I said, taking a very small slice of the chess pie that Grandma Winters handed me. “Why?”
“Your dad and I were thinking about going to the Smokies for Christmas and we were hoping you were going to go with us,” she said.
“When will you all be back?” Jayden asked.
Mom looked at him, a slight frown marring her face. “Probably not until New Year’s Eve, maybe the day before that.”
“Well, Lori is supposed to be having Christmas dinner with my family. Isn’t that right, Hon?” He looked at me expectantly.
“We hadn't talked about,” I said. "You just mentioned it a few minutes ago.
“My mother is planning on you being there,” he said.
I looked at my mother who was watching me very closely. “Well,” I said tightly. “We’ll have to talk about that later.”
Jayden nodded and then shoveled some pumpkin pie into his mouth.
My mother put on her “everything is right with the world” smile and asked, “Would anyone like some coffee with their dessert?”
“I do,” my father said.
“Me too,” said my grandmother. “I’ll get the pot. Lori, why don’t you come help me?” She pulled at my sleeve.
I got up and followed her into the kitchen. She got the coffee down from the cabinet and I filled the pot full of water. I put the water into the coffee maker while she put the coffee into the paper filter. “I was a little surprised you brought a date to dinner today,” Grandma said.
“Didn’t Mom tell you that I was?” I asked, avoiding her gaze.
“She had mentioned that you were bringing a date but I was expecting a girl.”
My head shot up and my eyes met hers. “You knew about the girls?”
“I’ve known you were gay since you were twelve. Your mother came to the house to rage about her suspicions. At the time, I told her she was imagining things but as time went on, it became clear that her suspicions were correct.” Grandma pulled three coffee mugs out of the cabinet. “Grandpa will want some too.”
I looked toward the door that led to the dining room and wondered how bad of an argument Jayden and I were going to have when we left. I was sure he was going to be pissed if I didn't agree to go to his mother's house for Christmas
“Are you dating that boy to make your mother happy?” Grandma asked.
“I don’t know,” I admitted quietly. “I thought I liked him but I’m not so sure any more.”
Grandma reached out and pulled me into her embrace. “I know your mother was having a very hard time with your sexuality, and I have to admit that I don’t understand it.” She gave me a very tight squeeze. “But, I want you to be happy more than anything else and I think your mother does too.” She looked over my shoulder toward the door and then whispered in my ear. “And, quite frankly, I think he’s a bit of an ass.”
I burst into giggles and hugged her back. “You’re the best, Grandma.”
“So, you all need some help with the coffee?” Jayden asked from the door, glaring at me.
“No, I think we got it,” Grandma said and started pouring the coffee into the mugs. “Take this on to your grandfather,” she said to me, handing me a cup of black coffee. “I’ll doctor your dad's and mine up with sugar and cream and be right there.
Jayden didn’t have much to say the rest of the evening while we were at my parents’. When we got into the car, he turned to me as asked, “So what did your grandma have to say in the kitchen.”
Instantly I went on guard. Obviously, I wasn’t going to tell him what Grandma really said and I didn’t like his tone. “She said she missed seeing me every day,” I lied.
He started the car and took off. “So, are you going to go with your family to the Smokies?”
“I want to,” I said.
“And what about me? You’ll be gone for almost two weeks,” he said, his jaw tight.
I looked over at him. He was clearly pissed as I knew he would be. “Jayden, my mom had not even been speaking to me for the past three months and now she wants me to go on a family vacation with them. I think I should go. It will give me a chance to bond with her again. Don’t you think that’s important?”
“Of course that’s important,” he said, flexing his jaw. “I just had plans for us for Christmas.”
“Well, if you talked to me about your plans sometimes, then I would know what is going on and try to work with that, but my family hasn’t gone to the Smokies for Christmas in years. Who knows if we will get to do it again,” I said my own jaw clenching.
“Well, if you must know,” he said curtly, “I was going to talk to you about our future on Christmas.”
I turned in my seat and looked at him. “Our future? Jayden, we’ve only been dating a little over two months. How far into the future are you talking about?”
His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “The long term future. I think we are perfect together. We are both into sports. We both have very religious families. You get along with my family and are okay with my sister being a dyke. And I know that when we have sex you’ll see how perfectly matched we are for everything.”
“So were you going to propose to me?”
He shrugged, “Something like that. I wanted to do something to show you that I’m completely committed to you, and I want to know that you are completely committed to me.” He turned into the parking lot of the apartment complex, pulled into a parking spot, turned the car off, and turned to me. “I was planning on us slipping away from both of our families for New Year’s and bringing the New Year in together alone somewhere.”
He pulled me into his arms and started kissing me. I tried to relax into his embrace but it felt wrong. He put his hand on my thigh and ran it up my leg. I put my hand on his to stop his progress and pulled back. “I told you I’m not ready for that.”
He jerked back. “You know, I don’t get it. You had a reputation for being fast to jump in the bed. All the girls you slept with said that you were quick to get into the sack. So why are you still putting me off? Is it because I’m a guy or because you want to wait until we are married, engaged or whatever?”
“It’s different with girls. I can’t get pregnant having sex with a girl,” I said.
“So is that what you are worried about?” he asked. “Getting pregnant?”
“That’s part of it.” I looked away from his questioning gaze. “I’m just not ready to go that far with you.”
He punched the dash, making me jump back against the door. “I think you are playing games with me,” he shouted. “You kiss me like you want me and then you push me away. I think you are just dating me to get your mom off your case about being a dyke.”
“That’s not true, Jayden. I like you but I’m just not ready to take that step with you.”
“Why not? If I were a chick we’d be doing it right here in the parking lot.” He reached over and grabbed my leg pulling it toward him. “You haven’t even given me a chance to show you what I can do to you.” He pulling himself over me. “You won’t ever want to be with a girl again. You just have to let me show you.”
He pulled me further down into the seat and leaned over me. I let him kiss me and tried to find some kind of desire for him. I did like him and we had a lot in common, but when he gripped my breasts and pressed his hard bulge against my leg the only thing I felt was panic.
I started squirming to pull away and he thought I was squirming because I was excited. He gripped my legs and pulled me further under him. I was debating on what I should do to stop him when there was a sharp rap on the window.
“Do that shit somewhere else man,” an angry older black man yelled into the car. “We have kids in these apartments.”
Jayden climbed off of me and I let out a huge sigh of relief. That had been too close. “I better get upstairs,” I said, grabbing my coat and the door handle at the same time.
He pulled me to him fiercely. “Just wait,” he purred. “I’m show you why being with a guy is so much better than being with a girl.” He kissed me and gave me a slight shove towards the door. “Dream about me,” he called as I got out.
I waved as I walked up the sidewalk leading to the apartment building stairs. I was feeling sick to my stomach. This whole thing with him was totally wrong. Maybe it was just that he seemed to be more controlling now than when we first started hanging out. No, that wasn’t it and I knew it. Maybe I was just a chicken shit and afraid I really would like being with him more than I would a girl.
Sliding my key into the lock, I stopped and put my head on the door. Maybe I was just too confused about who I was anymore. I opened the door and found the apartment dark and quiet, just what I didn’t need. I needed someone to talk to but Jamie and P.J. had gone to Brackenburg to be with their families for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t call Kayla. That would be too weird considering the things I’d been thinking about her. Maybe I should call Brandi. Maybe she could help me figure out how to deal with her brother.
I sat down on the couch and stared at the screen on my phone. Who could possibly understand what I was going through? I liked Jayden. I didn’t like the controlling thing he was doing, but mostly I liked him but I didn’t desire him like a I should if I were really straight, or bi. I didn’t want to break up with him, but I wasn’t sure we could continue dating if I didn’t want to have sex with him.
And then, there was Kayla. I had brushed aside the attraction I’d felt toward her when we first started being friends because I was still in play mode, dating as many girls as I wanted. I knew she wouldn’t be into being sexual friends. She was too conservative for that. But, now that I’d been dating Jayden exclusively, I’d kind of gotten over that need to be with more than one person. Being around her gave me butterflies, something I hadn’t felt with anyone else, and something I definitely didn’t feel with Jayden. I dropped my head down into my hands and then looked heavenward. “God, how did things get so complicated?”
My phone chirped. Jamie had sent a text asking me how things went at my parents’. I wrote her back and said it was so-so and asked if she could talk. She called me.
“What’s going on?” She asked her voice concerned over the phone.
“I’m losing my mind,” I said. We talked for two hours. I felt better afterwards, but I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do about Jayden. But, at least I’d gotten my feelings off my chest, all of them except the ones for Kayla. I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone about that yet.