Billy sat quietly on the wooden bench, surrounded by the smells of a college locker room. The careful observer would notice a slight shake in his shoulders from time to time, but they would never have seen the silent tears that slid down his nose to splatter onto the grey concrete floor. The cool of the room seeped through his sweat soaked clothes, but he was oblivious. Nick had dropped him and outed him to the whole team at the same time.
How can I be so stupid? I can’t believe I keep picking these losers and get hurt, thought Billy as he sat dejected. Time to move on, I don’t need the harassment the team will dish out now that they know I’m gay. Soon the whole college will know, and my life will be shit. Billy pulled his arms into his sweat soaked jersey and then pushed it over his head. Dropping it, he heard it hit with a wet splat. He dropped his head dejectedly into his hands and ran them through his hair.
He knew how these things went. The team knew now, the coach would find out soon. It was college so they wouldn’t actually throw him off the team, but soon it would just be too difficult. Too many stunts, then the ‘accidents’ would start, he’d spend more and more time on the bench. The final straw would be the loss of his scholarship. Damn it! It wasn’t supposed to go down this way.
The room started to fill with the sound of shoes on concrete, but the voices were unnaturally subdued. Billy jumped when a hand fell on his shoulder, he snapped around, ready for a confrontation, but the face looking at him was just conciliatory.
“Man, that was shitty of Nick. Sorry, dude.”
“Ah, thanks, Todd,” he stammered as their power forward patted him again on the shoulder.
One after another, the members of the team spoke to Billy, or at least gave him an empathetic look or touch. With the first few, he had been somewhat surprised. But as more and more of the team expressed their support, Billy was floored. For the majority of the team, nothing had changed. The comradery and acceptance was still there.
Billy wasn’t stupid. He could see a few of the players trying to hide in their lockers to change. What a bunch of dumb shits. He wasn’t going to make a pass at anyone. He hadn’t started anything with Nick for that matter, Nick had asked him out, sort of. Suddenly the climate of the locker room shifted, and it had all the warmth of a January day on the arctic tundra.
“What a fuckwad.”
“Man, that was cold.”
Billy heard the comments, wondering if they were directed at Nick. He had no more finished the thought when Nick rounded the corner. His lips were closed in a hard straight line, and his face was cherry red. He sat on the end of the bench and started unlacing his shoes. Billy jumped at the bang when his shoes hit the back of the closet, but never looked his direction.
Billy was still not happy, but it looked like his world was not going to collapse. With a slight smile, Billy stood with his back to his ex-boyfriend and finished undressing. When his jockstrap was the last article of clothing, he paused for a minute. He heard Nick stop, and knew that he was checking out Billy’s ass. With slow deliberation, he bent and slid off his jock, giving Nick a quick peek.
Billy tossed the rest of his uniform into the locker, flipped a towel over his shoulder and sauntered to the showers. Let him see what he gave up, thought Billy with a grin.