Heavy footsteps echoed on the wet pavement, slapping down into the puddles.
Gentry tensed with uneasiness. Gods, of all people…
“Mikey.” Zach murmured, raising his head in his direction.
Mikey. What was so good about Mikey.
Gentry released Sydney’s hood from the recesses of his clenched palm.
What the hell did Zach find in that weasel? He was always grinning like a goddamed crocodile. Even now that his mouth was even, his eyes were gleaming like a row of exposed white teeth. And if there was one thing Gentry knew, it was to never trust a grinner.
“What the hell is going on here?” Mikey demanded.
“It’s complicated. Gentry thought to himself. Everything’s too fucking complicated.
“Faggots like you are taking over the school,” Sydney spat at Mikey and missed.
Zach snorted. Oh hells no. He had the right to put posters here, whether or not Sydney would kill him for it.
“We’re not taking over anything. If at all, there are too many homophobes like you. Your parents must be reaaaal proud. Come on, Syd! What are you gonna do? Piss on everyone who disagrees with you? Spit on our designer clothes?”
Sydney responded by slamming Zach against the wall. So close he could smell his sweat and see the red lines where his fingernails ended.
“Stop it!” Mikey shouted irately, “He has the right to put up posters. It’s a free country!”
“Syd.” Gentry spoke up again, “Leave the fag alone. You’ll only get banned from Nationals.”
Sydney grunted, shoved Zach to the ground and pulled away.
“Fucking burn in hell, faggot!” he panted.
“Come on. Let’s go---”
“That’s all you could do, Swim Team Captain?” demanded Mikey, “Run off and leave us ‘faggots’ alone? Some role model you are. You should defend Zach for expressing his opinion.”
“Zach can defend himself.”
Mikey snorted contemptuously, then turned back to Zach, “I’m going to help you hang up posters. Which places did you manage to get to?”
“The question isn’t what place he got to, but which ones he didn’t.” Gentry sneered in reply, “Go home.”
“You should go home, Gentry. You and the rest of the homophones on your Team. No one needs your homophobia.”
“No one needs your rainbow-colored posters.”
“You’re a homophobe, and you have no right to be.” Mikey stated, “Because you’re gay too.”
Gentry’s lips pulled back into a snarl, and she shoved Mikey against the bricks, “I’m not a fag.”
“Yes you are.” Mikey’s eyes glowed even as his back hit the wall.
Gentry felt Sydney’s stare sink into the back of his skull, so he shoved Mikey and pulled away.
“You have no right to tell me what I am.” He looked to Syd, “What are you staring at? Let’s go.”