Though I’m focusing on Faebourne at the moment, I wanted to share this piece from The Great Divide (the sequel to Manifesting Destiny), given that it’s Pride Month:
Marcus shrugged, giving the impression of someone trying to find comfort in ill-fitting clothes. “Do you remember when we were thirteen? That’s when it changed.”
“That’s when you changed, you mean.” Cee gasped at her own words. She hadn’t meant to say them aloud.
“I never changed, Cee.” Marcus’s tone was dull, resigned, as though he’d had this argument with himself many times before. “It just never mattered until then. Until you decided it mattered. That day at the play.”
Cee opened her mouth to protest but couldn’t. He wasn’t wrong. She snapped her mouth shut and nodded.
They’d gone to see a play at the local theatre—Nitid Ink it had been called—and afterward gone for ice cream. While they ate, Cee gushed about how cute one of the actors had been, and without hesitation Marcus picked up the thread and enthused along with her. It had taken Cee by surprise, and afterward she could not help but notice which way Marcus’s eyes turned whenever they went out. Usually they were on their work, or trained on a book, but Cee couldn’t fail to miss the way those green eyes followed the male tennis team whenever they walked by, or how they lingered on magazine photos of good-looking young men.
After that, Cee had quit mentioning any guys she found attractive.
It only occurred to her as they stood there in the sun how unfair it had been of her to tacitly require Marcus to hide himself. She should have been there for him if it was something he wanted to discuss. Even if all he wanted to talk about were handsome actors, letting him do that—better yet, doing it with him—would have shown him she accepted him.
But she hadn’t accepted him, had she? Not really. She’d refused to accept that Marcus was gay because she wanted so badly for it to be otherwise. She wanted to pretend it wasn’t true.
Marcus’s voice broke through her epiphany. Cee blinked and discovered her cheeks were wet with tears. “Sorry,” she said, swiping at her face with her fingertips. “This isn’t—it’s not because you’re…” Her throat tried to close over the word but she made herself say it. “Gay. It’s because I’ve been such a bad friend. That day—I was so startled when you agreed with me about that actor I just pretended it never happened. And that wasn’t fair to you.”