I thought I should try to bring over Gentry's reasoning. He's been BSing and faking his way through life in order to reach superficial goals. To him, Zach represents truth, honesty, and genuine affection. This chapter is written in a slightly different style to fit the character.
Gentry sighed a breath of fresh air the moment he fled the office.
This was getting ridiculous. Drama in, drama out. Perhaps expulsion would be like an early graduation.
That would be nice.
A graduation from the lies and bullshit, from the forced smiles and calculated expectations. School was a prison of lies and machinations, everyone swimming towards their own goal and losing sight of anything else. What did they care about the guy next to them? They had to beat them, move past, move ahead.
That was why high school relationships were so pointless, why they didn’t last…
That status quo didn’t ease the loneliness or the strong urge to be understood. The desire for intimacy, for closeness. Something beautiful and desirable that could not grow on this terrain.
It had been this way since he could remember--- Straight from the womb, running through prestigious kindergartens, first grades, middle school--- pushed to excel more and more, higher and higher…
There was no room for friends when you had weekend homework, vacation homework, classes and after-school classes every hour of the day until you collapsed into bed, sleeping restlessly till dawn. You made aquaintences only if you could use them to get ahead, and never gave too much or moved too close.
When your Dad was a lawyer you couldn’t afford to be anything less. And when your dad fucked you, you had to show the world that they couldn’t fuck with you. Prove to them that this never happened or wouldn’t happen again. That you can be head of the swim team, that you can be more cruel, more rough, more ready and more ruthless than any tom, dick or jane.
The high school ratrace had no victims; just victors and losers. This was the high school rat race… this was. Everything was. Every thought, every feeling, every word could and would be used against you.
At that moment, Zach rushed by him, storming through the double doors.
Gentry felt his heart flutter and heavy thoughts fill his head. The first time he had met him, it felt like going through puberty in a day. He was the most beautiful boy Gentry had ever seen.
There was something raw and strong about him, both independent and threatening. Here was someone who was not only honest, but kind, and could take what came with it. That was why his eyes were so clear, so focused, and so unnervingly desirable.
And he wanted him so badly. He wanted take that unchartered beauty and tame it, turn this honest savage into a functioning member of the rat race.
It took so long, too long, to realize that although Zach raced, he was no rat. There was something else there, in the stretch of his smile and depths of his eyes. Something more evolved, something human; And it was true, Gentry concluded somberly… he needed to lose him to understand it.
He needed to lose that close connection, the delicate understanding forged through muted desperation. Forget every glare he’d earned, every word spoken and unspoken. He had to lose the memory of soft breath against his cheek, the salty taste of fear in a furitive kiss. Forget the hurt that made each kiss all the sweeter, each sigh and shiver all the more genuine. He needed to abandon the tender warmth of an embrace, the smell of unconditional acceptance. Senses that came from inside and out which gave him the satisfaction of finally, finally being understood.
And finally, he had to abandon love. The feeling of being accepted despite his flaws--- by someone strong enough to withstand them. Someone so blunt, so honest, so irresistibly direct…
Loved. Treated like a fellow, flawed, breakable little human.
That’s what had been missing. That’s what was missing.
And Now that he had touched, tasted, smelled, heard and seen freedom, everything else was but a narrow cell.