Rainbow High and other novels
about love and friendship - for teens and adults
Alex Sanchez


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An Excerpt from Rainbow High:

Chapter 2

Monday after school Kyle offered to go with Nelson to his HIV test, hoping it would help calm his own worries. But as they pulled into the parking lot, a new unease came over Kyle. "You think I should get tested too?"

He had, after all, made love with Jason. And Jason had made love with Debra.

"It depends," Nelson said. "What did you and Jason do together?"

Kyle shifted in his seat. Such detail made him uncomfortable, even if he and Nelson were best friends. "Well...we didn't exactly...you know...s or f."

Nelson's eyebrows arched. "'S or f'? Come on, Kyle, be a big boy. You're allowed to use grown-up words. "Why don't you ask the doctor what he thinks?"

In the reception room Kyle thought back to his night with Jason. They hadn't done anything truly unsafe -- like Nelson had -- but he'd read so many conflicting things about what really was safe. The more he thought back on it, the more he squirmed in his chair. When Nelson's name finally got called, Kyle whispered, "I want to go in with you."

Nelson's pediatrician, Dr. Choudhury, was a wrinkly South Asian guy with glasses perched on the tip of his nose. "That's very interesting hair," he told Nelson in a high, cheery voice.

After studying Nelson's folder the doctor explained the test procedure. He placed a specially treated pad with a handle between Nelson's cheek and gum. "Now we leave it for two minutes."

While Nelson held the swab in his mouth, the doctor monitored the time on his watch.

Kyle wiped the sweat from his palms, debating whether to speak up. The procedure looked painless. It wouldn't hurt to at least ask about it. He cleared his throat. "Um, Doctor? I was wondering...if I should get tested too?"

The doctor tilted his head back, squinting through his bifocals. "You too? Don't you boys know to use precautions?"

Kyle squirmed in his seat, wishing he'd kept his mouth shut.

"Tell me," Dr. Choudhury asked impatiently, "did you engage in unprotected penetration?"

Kyle cringed, sinking into his chair. "Um, no."

"Any exchange of body fluids? Blood? Semen? Preejaculatory secretions? Breast milk?"

Kyle slid further down his seat. "Um, no, not really."

The doctor threw his hands up in exasperation. "If you want, I can test you. But my suggestion to both of you -- " he pulled the handle from Nelson's cheek and sealed the swab into a plastic tube " -- is to wait till you're older before you start fooling around with this sex business."

Kyle decided there wasn't much point in being tested now, though he should definitely ask Jason: Had he and Debra used condoms?

But how could he ask Jason that?

Kyle's parents' cars were already in the driveway when he arrived home. He hadn't told his mom or dad he was taking Nelson to get tested. No sir. No way. When Kyle came out to them, one of their biggest concerns had been his health. Now that they'd calmed down some, he didn't want them getting hyper again.

Kyle kicked his shoes off in the foyer and followed his parents' voices to the kitchen. "Did Jason call?"

His dad glanced up from the tomatoes he was slicing. A goofy smile lit up his face. "The future college student is home!" he sang out.

Kyle ignored his dad's goofiness, turning to his mom. "Did Jason call?"

"No, honey." She smiled, lifting a head of lettuce from the sink. "But you got a letter from Tech." She dried her hands on a washcloth and handed him an envelope.

At the sight of the letter Kyle's heart jumped. The return address was from the admissions office. This was it -- his acceptance to Tech; the start of his college life with Jason -- unless...

"Come on," his dad encouraged him. "Open it."

"Honey," his mom chimed in. "With your grades I'm sure you got accepted. Go ahead."

Kyle turned the envelope over, his hand trembling as he ran his finger beneath the flap. Slowly he unfolded the letter and quickly scanned the page. Halfway down, he looked up again.

His mom and dad were staring at him, their faces crinkled with worry and hope.

"I got accepted!" Kyle gasped.

"Honey, that's wonderful!" His mom wrapped her arms around him.

"That's great news, son." His dad patted him on the back. "You should be hearing from Princeton next."

Kyle bristled. "Can't I just enjoy the fact I was accepted to Tech?"

"Of course," his dad agreed. "Didn't I say it was great news?"

Yeah, but Kyle knew where his dad really wanted him to go -- his alma mater.

Kyle gave a sigh, turning to his mom. "Can Jason come over?" Kyle wanted to share the news with him in person.

"All right," she said, "but -- "

Before she could finish, Kyle was racing up the stairs. Grabbing the cordless phone, he speed-dialed Jason. "I've got a surprise," he said as soon as Jason answered. "Can you come over?"

"Um, I don't think so. My mom's going to a meeting, and I've got to watch Missy. What is it? Can you bring it here, or is it, like, an elephant or something? Is it a car? Did you get us a car?"

Kyle smiled to himself, stretching out across the bed. Had Jason really said "us"? "It's better than a car," Kyle told him.

"Hmn," Jason said. "Better than a car? Can you give me a hint?"

"No hints," Kyle said as the phone's call waiting beeped. "I gotta go. I'll be over soon as I eat, okay? Laters!" He pushed the flash key. "Hello?"

"Woo-hoo!" Nelson shouted, announcing news of his own acceptance to Tech.

"Awesome!" Kyle leaped off the bed. Not only would he be going to college with Jason, but also with Nelson.

"You got yours, too?" Nelson asked. "Of course you got accepted, but can you believe they accepted moi? This is going to be so cool!"

Nelson's dog started barking. "Uh-oh, Mom's home. She'll probably have a heart attack when I tell her I actually got -- " his fingers snapped in the background " -- ac-cep-ted. Woo-hoo!" He hung up.

Eager to get to Jason's, Kyle wolfed down dinner, but slowed down for dessert. His mom had bought an awesome chocolate-raspberry cake. "Can I take a piece to Jason?"

"All right," his mom said, cutting a slice. "But remember it's a school night. Don't stay too -- "

"And one for his sister?" Kyle asked before his mom could put the knife down. She cut another wedge.

"And one for his mom?" Kyle added. "And another piece for me later?"

"Why don't you just take the whole cake?" His dad laughed.

"Okay," Kyle said, pretending his dad was serious.

Melissa, Jason's six-year-old sister, answered the Carrillos' door. Behind her the TV blared. Dolls and toys lay scattered before it. She grabbed Kyle's hand, pulling him in, her eyes opening wide at the box he carried. "What's that?"

"Mm..." Kyle rubbed a circle on his stomach. "Cake!"

Jason strode in wearing jeans and a flannel shirt that hung wide over his broad shoulders. A toothbrush handle protruded from his mouth as he vigorously brushed up and down, causing his left cheek to bulge and jiggle.

At the sight of him, Kyle fell in love all over again.

"Wha's up?" Jason said, popping the brush out. A perfect circle of foam ringed his mouth.

"I like your green lipstick," Kyle said, kidding.

Jason looked in the wall mirror. "Whoa!" He jogged back toward the bathroom.

With Melissa's help Kyle dished out cake and set the plates on the kitchen table.

"Oh, wow." Jason sauntered in. "You were right. This is better than a car."

"That's not the surprise," Kyle said, handing Jason the Tech letter. "This is."

Jason scanned the page, his lips moving to the words: "...pleased to inform you you've been accepted for admission -- "

He glanced up at Kyle, high-fiving him. "Awesome! Congratulations, man."

"Can I take my cake to watch TV?" Melissa asked.

"Sure. Wait. You want some milk?" Jason poured them each a cold glass. "Careful you don't spill."

While Kyle sat down, Jason held the door for Melissa, then he returned to Kyle. "Of course, did you ever really think you wouldn't be accepted? You've got a four-point-o!"

"I don't have a four-point-o," Kyle said in mock protest. "It's a three-point-nine."

"Oh, right. Ex-cuuuze me." Pulling out a chair, Jason sat down, his knee grazing Kyle's.

The touch sent a spark through Kyle's body. Two excruciatingly long weeks had passed since they'd been alone together. It wouldn't take much for Kyle to jump Jason's bones right then and there.

"Nelson got his letter too," Kyle said in an effort to calm himself down. "So we'll all three go to Tech. It's going to be such a blast."

Jason studied Kyle, then glanced down at his cake.

"What's the matter?" Kyle asked.

"I've been thinking..." Jason paused, gulping a swig of milk as if fortifying himself. "...about coming out to Coach Cameron."

Kyle's throat clenched as he swallowed his cake. Had he heard right? He knew Jason's going to the Gay-Straight Alliance had been an enormous step toward coming out. Practically the whole school knew who went to the meeting, and even straight people who attended got crap for it. Jason telling his coach would be an even huger step for him.

And for Kyle it would also be a tremendous relief. He hated pretending they were just friends. While Jason garnered praise on the court or got interviewed by press, Kyle had to stand by anonymous. When Jason jaunted off to some postgame party, Kyle trudged home alone. Unlike Jason's ex-girlfriend, Kyle couldn't receive public recognition.

But if Jason came out...Kyle reveled in visions of the prom, whirling around the dance floor with Jason, arm in tuxedoed arm.

"Are you sure?" Kyle asked, not wanting to get his hopes up.

Jason gave a weary sigh. "I don't know. It's just..." His voice became agitated. "Sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode -- or implode -- if I keep hiding. It gets to where I just want to tell everyone and get it over with -- not just Coach, the team, too. Does that sound crazy? What's happened with you and the swim team since the locker thing?"

The "locker thing" had happened after December break. Someone scratched queer on Kyle's hall locker. Kyle repeatedly asked the school administration to repaint it, and they did nothing. Finally he got fed up. One morning he marched to school, and beneath the word QUEER he spray-painted AND PROUD!

The news raced around school. The following day his locker was repainted, but not before some teammates took notice.

"A few of the guys won't talk to me anymore, but they were never really friends to begin with. Besides, swimming is different from basketball. Except for relays, you're really on your own. In team sports, you're a lot more reliant on each other."

Jason nodded, slowly chewing a bite of cake. "So you don't think I should do it?"

Kyle immediately thought, Of course you should do it! He had always encouraged Jason to be honest and accepting of himself.

But before he could say anything, Jason confided, "I'm afraid I'll lose my scholarship."

Kyle set his fork down. "For coming out? They wouldn't dare. Look at how we fought for a GSA and won. If they tried to take your scholarship, we'd fight that, too. You're not going to lose your scholarship. You'll come out; we'll go to Tech together and graduate side by side."

He almost added how gay marriage would hopefully be legal by then, and about the kids they'd adopt and how they'd live happily ever after. But he decided he'd leave that discussion for later.

"Just suppose," said Jason, tapping his fork, "I did lose my scholarship -- "

"Jason," Kyle interrupted. "I told you, you're not -- "

"But just suppose," Jason insisted. "Would you still go to Tech?"

"Well," Kyle said, "could you still go without a scholarship?"

Jason shrugged. "I don't know how I'd pay for it. My mom can't afford it, especially with my dad gone. I could get loans, but not enough to go away. I'd probably stay home and go to community college, then transfer later."

Kyle felt his heart sink. More than anything, he wanted to be with Jason. But did he want it enough to put aside his dream of going away to a university?

"I hate this!" Kyle blurted out. "Our society is crazy. Why should we even have to deal with this? Our whole future together shouldn't hinge on whether you're honest and come out. It's homophobic BS."

Jason leaned back, looking a little blown away by Kyle's outburst.

"I'm sorry." Kyle took a deep breath. "I didn't mean to go off like that."

"It's okay. I'm sorry I brought all this up. It isn't your problem."

"It is my problem," Kyle told him. "If you don't go to Tech, where would that leave me? What you decide affects both of us."

Jason looked back at him, a solemn expression on his face. "Maybe I should forget all this," he said softly.

"How?" Kyle said. "It's not going to go away. Do you want to go through college like this? What happens if they find out after you're already there and take away your scholarship then?"

Jason bit into a fingernail. "I hadn't thought of that."

"At least," Kyle said soothingly, "if you come out now, you'd be, I don't know, like, a role model -- someone people would look up to."

"Yeah, right," Jason said. "No one's going to look up to me."

"I do," Kyle said, staring deeply into Jason's brown eyes.

Jason pursed his lips into a little pout. "Yeah, well, you're biased. You're the role model, not me."

"Oh, yeah?" Kyle asked. "And you're not biased?"

Jason's mouth opened in a wide show of teeth. "Maybe."

Kyle thought how much he loved those teeth, that mouth, this boy. He considered what he was about to say and, fighting all common sense, he said it: "If you feel you need to come out to your coach, then I think you should do it."

Jason gazed back at him, sighing, and slumped down in his chair. In the process, his knee bumped against Kyle's.

Kyle let it rest there and reached across the table for Jason's hand.

Jason flashed a glance toward the door. An instant later they were on their feet, pressed against each other. Jason's lips devoured Kyle's, tasting of chocolate-raspberry cake, sweeter than the original.

As Kyle's tongue rolled across Jason's, he no longer cared about college next year. He only wanted to live this moment, forever. Except...

From the doorway came a giggle. Startled, the boys jumped apart.

Melissa stared at them, carrying her empty plate and milk glass. "Were you two kissing?"

Jason, bright red, darted a questioning glance at Kyle, but Kyle looked away, embarrassed. It was up to Jason what he told his sister, though Kyle hoped he'd be truthful.

Jason cleared his throat. "Um, yeah." He hurriedly took her plate and glass. "Don't tell Ma, okay?"

Melissa glanced at Kyle. "I won't." Giggling, she skipped out of the room.

"Oh, man!" Jason brought his fingers to his forehead. "I can't believe she saw us."

"At least you were honest with her," Kyle said, patting him on the shoulder. "That's great."

Jason rubbed his temples. "I'm glad you think so."

The front door sounded as Mrs. Carrillo came home. Melissa kept her word, not saying anything about the boys' kiss while Jason's mom chatted with them, thanking Kyle for the cake.

Before Kyle left, Jason handed him a pair of tickets for the game against Chesapeake High Friday. "For you and your dad. Can you come?"

"Of course!" Kyle beamed.

As he walked home through the cold, dark night, past brick houses with blue-hazed windows and dogs barking in yards, he thought how clear his life had seemed only two hours earlier. Now everything seemed so uncertain. What if Jason did lose his scholarship? Would Kyle stick by him no matter what? Wasn't that part of loving someone?

Kyle felt the game tickets in his pocket, desperately hoping he wouldn't regret encouraging Jason to come out to his coach.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Alex Sanchez