Zach’s mouth dropped open then slammed shut again, swallowing a cold mouthful of air. A cold beat of sweat trickeled down his neck, and his tongue felt dry in his mouth.
“You’re not sorry?” he sputtered out in a voice unfamilarily shrill to his own ears.
“You should be!”
“Good-fucking-lord,” Gentry grumbled in reply, “when did you become such a drama queen?”
“I’m not a drama queen, you’re causing me drama! Things got worse because of what you did! No one would talk to me now now if it weren’t for the GSA and Mikey; I’d have no one.”
“---Stop fooling yourself. People didn’t like you before this happened, and they still don’t like you now. Look. It’s obvious that Nilla didn’t sleep with you. Anyone with half a brain could figure that out. You did.”
“---The e-mail didn’t read like Nilla, the picture was so blurry you couldn’t make anything out, and if he was into anything it was bestiality. It’s obvious, Zach, obvious as hell! I get it! You figured it out! Get a medal!” Gentry shouted, before pulling back into his silent shell, back to the smooth, quiet drawl that was all at once loathsome and attractive.
“But people aren’t interested in the truth… They’d rather talk about your problems than theirs. You don’t matter to them, and never did. They talk to you to making something out of nothing, and the only thing Mikey did was make you notorious. He’s exploiting this bullshit for publicity, and my only regret is that I didn’t punch him harder.”
Zach couldn’t take his eyes off him, as he gathered his thoughts together before selecting an answer.
“You knew what you were doing.”
“I didn’t do it to hurt you---”
“But you did.”
“---it wasn’t my goal.”
“Then set it straight.”
“Did anyone try to set things straight for me?”
“Don’t bullshit me.” Zach snarled, “I never hurt you, it was always the other way around. And you can’t bitch about people not doing the right thing for you if you don’t do the right thing for anyone.”
“You’re the last person to tell me about doing the right thing. When things really start going wrong for you, then you can tell me.” Gentry murmured derisively.
“I can’t believe you. I’m not a drama queen, you are!” Zach snapped, “But you’re not the only one with problems; I have problems, too---”
“With problems like yours, you don’t need solutions.”
“Just because I don’t have your problems doesn’t mean I don’t have any; and this still has absolutely nothing to do with doing the right thing.”
“Is it right that I got kicked out of my house for being born this way? That I have to forfeit Nationals because of some bullshit area code loophole?”
“---I didn’t do any of that to you---”
“---Is it right you gave my picture to the police? Is it right that fathers fuck their sons and no one does anything?”
“You’re bringing in too many things, and I’m trying to do something so that no one should have to go through what you went through----”
“Yeah, God forbid there are more fucked up people like me running around! Everything is wrong with me; yet somehow, I still turn you on!”
Zach flushed red in the face, a shade so furious it even showed through the darkness of his skin.
“This has nothing to do with what you started. The only reason that you did what you did is because you’re selfish.”
“It’s not that simple. Gods Zach, sometimes you’re so--- It’s not that simple.” he exhaled and turned to him, gently cupping Zach’s wide-eyed face in his hands and leaning in, “Listen to me. I’m not saying I was right or wrong. It’s not always always that clear, and you’re an idiot if you think in absolutes. If you hate me for what I did, I can live with that. But I did what I had to, and I’m not sorry.”
“That just proves what I said, you’re selfish. And you’re alone now because you don’t think about anyone besides yourself!”
Gentry let him go with a disgraceful shove.
“You aren’t getting it. If I don’t protect myself, no one will, Zach. Not even you. And you might not get this either, but I care about you enough to warn you--- don’t count on Mikey. He will let you down.”