Gentry came out of the shower, wet, disheveled, and hard to ignore. Carly’s dark eyes stole a look at Gentry’s exposed skin, taking in the marble-like firmness and color of his body. But when he raised a hand to touch it, one searing look prompted him to put it down. Carly crossed his arms impatiently, as if he were stuck in an invisible straight jacket.
“You know what, you’re swimming faster but not better. Your strokes don’t have the form they used to. They’re rushed, and you aren’t breathing right. You seem distracted. If something’s fucking with you, you better tell me.”
“Contrary to your beliefs, Carly, we are not and never have been friends. Don’t pretend we are, because we both know damn well why we aren’t. I don’t even know why you come back here, you sick fuck.”
“You’ve got the answer to that, Gentry. I used to be normal. You did, too. I liked you so much… now, I’m not sure. I hang here because we share a bond that’s uncomfortably close.”
Gentry stopped suddenly, and turned to Carly with an unreadable expression, “Don’t.”
“---I’m not sure what you are, Gentry. But I know what you’ve done.”
Carly’s black eyes glinted, “Why should I stop? Your dad didn’t. Your dad taught me how to purr.”
“Don’t get into this, Carly---”
“---Taught me to spread my legs and take it in the ass.”
Gentry looked away, his hands shaking as he prepared his clothes. His voice was soft as he said, “Grow up, Carly. It’s over.”
“I cried, remember that? Where were you, Gentry? You were in the other room. You heard everything but you didn’t do a damn thing, did you? Didn’t even call the police. You know why I’m here? Because I can’t go anywhere else. I can’t do anything else. Everywhere I go I can’t fit in--- I’m malformed, somehow wrong. But we share that, Gentry. We share a secret.”
Gentry didn’t say anything, quietly pulling on his clothes. Carly held a tense silence, and only gradually did his tight features soften, “Are you just going to ignore me, is that it?”
Gentry pulled up and zipped his pants. Then he slowly reached for a shirt.
“Still have those bruises, eh Gentry? You should try to hide them.”
“If we share a secret, why do you threaten me with that picture? Zach doesn’t need to see it. We both know it will only complicate things.”
“Your dad is the one who complicated things--- I’m not a man anymore. But when I was on the swim team, I came close. For a short amount of time, I was a man again and I commanded respect. On a team, everyone needs everyone. That’s what keeps a team alive. Zach doesn’t need any one; people like him destroy teams. This team is still mine, even if I’m not the official head. It’s a part of me, and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect it.”