Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chapter 4: Acceptance

Chapter 4: Acceptance

Nadine and Jeff have been going steady for a month but they have kept it a secret. One Saturday morning Nadine decided to bring Jeff to the clubhouse where she and her peers hang out during weekends.

Upon reaching the tennis court, only Anya, Bart and Maureen were there and only the latter was smiling as Jeff and Nadine approached them. “What the hell is he doing here?” Anya asked as she gave Jeff an evil stare. “Get used to it Anya, Jeff is my boyfriend, we have been going out for a month now” Nadine said. Anya was visibly irked and irritated but she could not do anything. “Fine, don’t let him near me” Anya said as she sat down and enjoyed her iced tea.

“Jeff me and Maureen will go get changed, will you be alright here?” Nadine asked and Jeff took a seat and smiled at her. “I will be fine, they seem harmless” Jeff said and Anya and Bart looked at him. “Now you two be nice to him, do it for me” Nadine told them and she and Maureen proceeded to the locker room.

Anya and Bart stared at Jeff who in return just smiled at them. “I know what you’re trying to do. You are trying to get rich the easy way. You plan to marry her because you know she will be inheriting her father’s company” Anya said. “That never crossed my mind, but in case that happens then I am sure there is what you call a pre-nuptial agreement. I will be the first one to demand for it and state that I am not interested in her fortune, not even a single cent” Jeff told her. “You’re lying, I know you are” she said.

“Well there is thing you call love, and I do love Nadine for who she is and now what she has” Jeff explained and Bart smiled but it quickly faded as Anya looked at him. “Love? What a pathetic excuse to be able to alleviate yourself from poverty. I don’t believe that, there is always a motive and I can see what yours is” Anya reiterated and Jeff just smiled at her. “Don’t mind her, she hasn’t been loved by anyone” Bart said and they both laughed at Anya who was now angry. “Same goes to you Bart, I have never seen you with a date” Anya shot back. “Yeah because he is gay” Jeff said and Anya was shocked and so was Bart.

“What did you say?!” Bart asked as he stood up and moved closer to Jeff. “Sit down Bart, you don’t have to be ashamed of it. Look at me, I am poor and I am not ashamed to be here with you rich people” Jeff said and Bart started to roll a fist but Anya ordered him to sit down. Bart was furious; he slammed his hand on the table and took a seat. “You asshole! I am more a man than you will ever be!” Bart shouted at Jeff. “Bartholomew! Stop it! Do you want to get kicked out of this clubhouse?!” Anya yelled and security personnel started to approach them. “It’s just a misunderstanding, everything is fine” Bart told them so the men stood their ground and slowly walked away.

“You low life what are you trying to do?” Anya asked Jeff but he only smiled at her. “Look, I know being different is tough. The moment I stepped foot at the University I had nothing. A campus full of rich kids with huge trust funds, how can a poor guy like me survive? But so far I have, but it wasn’t easy. Do you think being with you two makes me feel comfortable? Hell no! I am used to the name calling and the discrimination; I eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Am I used to it? Sort of but it still hurts my pride though. Especially when I met you Anya, you simply are the worst. You are very vocal about your hate towards people like me, but I am still her aren’t I?” Jeff said and the two were silent.

“I was contented with being with my kind till Nadine came along. Yeah she is rich like you but far more different when it comes to personality. She gave me a chance, she saw beyond the status barrier. I admit she is pretty but I too saw beyond that, the mere fact that she was able to like someone like me says it all. She accepted me, and Bart someone will accept you for who you are too. You don’t have to hide, you don’t have to pretend. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are different. That is who you are and if your friends cannot accept you, then they are not your friends after all” Jeff said and Bart bowed his head.

“Bart is it true?” Anya asked and Bart slowly looked at her. “Yeah he’s right” Bart said softly and Anya covered her mouth in disbelief. “We even kissed” she exclaimed and Bart laughed. “Yeah we did and I didn’t like it, but it sure helped my cover story” Bart said and Jeff started laughing. “I swear if you ever tell anyone what you just heard I will kill you!” Anya threatened Jeff but Bart laughed with him.

“How did you know of me being gay?” Bart asked. “It takes one to know one” Anya quipped and she laughed. “The day when she slapped me, I saw your reaction. You bit your lip and your hand tightened” Jeff said and Anya laughed. “Just like that and you knew he was already gay?” she asked. “Not really, I got to observe his actions several times on campus. I’m good at this by the way, seeing who people really are. I used to work at a fast food chain, you see there is this policy that the cooked food could only stay unsold for a few minutes or else it would turn cold and be treated as waste.”

“I was tasked to predict what every customer entering would order; I had a 95 percent accuracy. You see people entering the fast food stored don’t have time to wait, so the moment they enter I should know what should be cooked to save time. So with my accuracy the store was able to save on wasted food. We had a high rate of customer satisfaction; my boss liked what I was doing so he always gave me huge tips. That is how I managed to survive high school” Jeff related.

“This job skill turned into a habit, even when I was not working I would just sit down and observe people. It became a useful talent since I was able to read people, when you are poor it’s a dog eat dog world. The poor turn against the poor just to survive. I was lucky with this talent, I was able to know who to avoid, I would know who was trying to con me and I knew who could be trusted” Jeff added as the two listened intently.

“You saw me several times, for a guy who punched me you should have given me an evil stare but your eyes somehow glowed and you could not look at me for a long time” Jeff said and Bart looked away. Anya was chuckling and staring at Bart, “Alright! Fine, I find you cute” Bart said and Anya erupted in loud laughter. Nadine and Maureen arrived, dress in full tennis attire. “You three seem to be happy which I find really weird. I was expecting fireworks and the like” Maureen said. Nadine took a seat and looked at Jeff who smiled at her.

“What seems to be happening here?” Nadine asked and she looked at Anya. “Jeff outed Bart” Anya said and Nadine and Maureen looked confused. “I am gay and he figured it out” Bart explained and the two were surprised. “And he even finds Jeff cute” Anya added and they all started laughing. “Seriously?” Maureen asked and Bart nodded.

“And I even kissed him one time” Anya suddenly said and Jeff looked at her. “Well I just had to get it out of me” she explained and they both laughed. Nadine could not still believe what she was seeing, a moment ago Anya hated Jeff. “So Anya what gives? Why are you suddenly friendly with Jeff?” Nadine asked and Anya looked at her. “Well he has proven himself” she replied but Nadine was not satisfied. “Proven himself in what way?” she asked.

“I don’t have to explain just be happy that I accept him. Or would you rather like the way I was treating him a while ago? I say he is fine so he is fine, and he definitely likes you I can see that” Anya said and Nadine smiled. “I like him too” Bart said and everyone laughed. “No, don’t take me wrongly. I feel that the burden I have been carrying all this time gone, I feel so free thanks to Jeff. I don’t have to pretend to be this macho man anymore. And I am sorry Jeff for punching you; I just had to be a guy. If only I had opened up years ago I could have just bitch slapped you” Bart explained and everyone was laughing silly.

“Hey Bart, it’s easy to open up to your friends, they can easily accept who you are. It’s not going to be easy when you open up to others. It’s going to be a rough ride I tell you” Jeff said and Bart frowned and bowed his head. “But hey, if you want I can pretend to be gay too. So people would think were just fooling around. And when they get used to it you can drop the real bomb. I can let you fix my hair, we can go play tennis wearing skimpy skirts if you want” Jeff said and Bart suddenly grinned. “You fool! I said I was gay but I never said I was a cross dresser!” Bart snapped and they all erupted in laughter.

Nadine and Jeff took a walk around the clubhouse as the others went to play. “Aren’t you supposed to be playing tennis with Maureen?” Jeff asked and people were beginning to stare at them. Nadine held his hand and smiled at the people, “I don’t know how you did it Jeff but I am really happy that they are okay with you” she told him. “Well they are your friends so I really had to try. I would not want you to be in a position where you had to choose between your friends and me” he explained and she leaned her head on his shoulder. “Well if that ever happened I would choose you” she said and Jeff suddenly embraced her tightly. “Come on I want to see you play tennis” he told her and she laughed.

“See me play or see what’s under my skirt?” she teased him and he laughed. “That’s the additional bonus of watching you play” he said and she kissed him. They went back to the tennis court where Nadine played two sets with Maureen. The clubhouse had strict rules; guests were allowed inside but only as spectators. Even if they wanted Jeff to play the watchers would not allow him to. Jeff was fine watching from the sidelines, he did enjoy lots of eye candy from the three ladies. Bart had no more inhibitions, he screamed and moved lady-like and Jeff was somehow happy for him.

Lunch was Anya’s treat so they proceeded to the French restaurant inside the clubhouse. They took their seats but again people were staring at Jeff. The head waiter approached them and said “I am sorry but I cannot allow your guest in here” so Jeff stood up and was ready to leave. “Sit down Jeff! Is there someone complaining?” she asked. “Apparently there will be, as you can see they are all looking this way madam” the head waiter said. “I want a list of all the people who are inside here, and if you and your staff have problems with my guest you might as well place your names on that list” Anya instructed and the man looked troubled. “That won’t be necessary madam but I have to insist that he has to follow the dress code and we can lend him something more suitable. Sir, if you could please follow me this way” the man said and Jeff followed him.

A few minutes later they were surprised to see a different Jeff. He had his hair tied back, he was wearing a white collared shirt and a black suit. “Oh my God” Nadine said as everyone was in awe by his immediate transformation. Jeff and the head waiter seemed to in a joyful conversation as they were smiling headed back to their table.

“Faites je semble bon? Faites je semble riche?” they heard Jeff say in French. “Oui monsieur” the head waiter replied as he guided Jeff to his seat. All eyes were on him as they could not believe what they just heard. “Le menu s'il vous plait” Jeff said and the waiter handed him the menu, “ici vous êtes monsieur” he said. Nadine and Maureen were giggling, Bart had his eyes fixated on Jeff while Anya had an eyebrow raised in disbelief.

“Ce qui est la spécialité de maison? What is the house specialty?” Jeff asked the waited and Nadine couldn’t take it any longer. “Do you really speak French?” she asked. “Yes I do” Jeff said but Nadine looked at the waiter. “He is quite good madam, he just asked me what was the house specialty” the waiter said and everyone was amazed except Anya. “Okay then say something to Nadine, something personal” Anya dared and Jeff looked at Nadine. “Vous êtes beaux et je vous aime tellement” Jeff said with a soft and serious voice. Nadine smiled and looked at the waiter, “He said you look beautiful and he loves you very much” the man translated. Nadine blushed and looked away shyly, “Now I am really jealous” Bart commented and they all laughed.

Jeff looked at Anya then looked at the waiter, “elle est belle et si je n'avais aucune petite amie je la flatterais” he told him and the man smiled and nodded his head. Anya took the menu and started to read it, she paused and looked at Jeff and replied “je dirais oui immédiatement.” Jeff looked startled and did not expect Anya to know French. He just said she was beautiful and if he had no girlfriend he would court her.

Anya’s response was even more shocking for she said that she would say yes to him at once. The others looked towards the waiter waiting for him to translate, “Are they fighting?” Maureen asked and the waiter laughed. “No madam, that was just a friendly exchange” he said then he nodded and Jeff and Anya who both smiled at him.

After they have placed their orders Nadine moved closer to Jeff and held his hand. “Jeff you are full of surprises, I didn’t know you could speak French” she told him. Jeff grinned and fixed his collar, “Well I think it comes with the suit” he joked and they laughed.

Jeff had a hard time eating since Nadine wouldn’t let go is his hand. He was dining with the rich at their territory and this was a dream he never expected that would happen. “So this is what it feels like to be rich” Jeff commented and everyone just looked at him and smiled.

As the sun was about to set they said their goodbyes, Anya was about to get inside her car but Jeff ran after. “Hey, I want to thank you for standing up for me a while back” he said and Anya smiled at him. She got inside the car and closed the door but she rolled down her window. “What you said a while ago, did you really mean it?” she asked and Jeff smiled and scratched his head and could not answer. “Well I meant what I said” Anya told him and the windows started to roll up, but he managed to her wink at him.

“What was that all about?” Nadine asked and Jeff was surprised to see her beside him. “I just thanked her for today, she isn’t a bad person after all” he said and Nadine laughed. “Yeah, today was a day full or surprises. Bart being gay, Anya accepting you all of a sudden and me realizing that I am really in love with you” she said and Jeff smiled and kissed her.

“You forgot to mention one more thing, one of your friends like me” he said and Nadine suddenly felt anger as she stared at his eyes. “Don’t worry its Bart” he said and suddenly she burst in laughter. “Oh man, he kept on staring at me the whole day. Every time he got close I had to get my fist ready” Jeff joked and the more Nadine laughed.

“Jeff I don’t know French so i will just say this in plain and simple English….I love you”