And the moment he was gone, Mikey grinned at Zach and said, “God, he’s like a dictator!”
“But was that really necessary?”
“Yeah, it was.”
Zach put down his finger, but not before giving a saucy look to the angry freshman who was desperately trying to glare him down.
“I’m not going to let some breeder push me around— hell, you know what. People like him make it worth staying on the team. Someone has to have the balls to do the right thing and take a stand against a homophobe. I’m not going to let a bully impose their way of life on me.”
“I didn’t mean Syd, I meant Gentry. Does he think we can’t hear him from over here?”
“Oh.” Zach laughed weakly, “he probably wants us to hear. I don’t even know if he was bullshitting that time, or if he actually meant it.”
“I don’t care what he meant, since he said what he said. You know, homophobia aside, I like Syd better. At least I know where he stands.” Mikey paused to lower his voice, “Gentry changes depending on where he goes. He’ll say or do anything as long as it gives him the upper hand and, actually, I’m a little surprised you didn’t call him out this time.”
Zach shrugged uncomfortably.
“If Syd quits, the team goes to hell. I’m not gonna be the gay who screwed the team. Besides, if this Gay Agenda bullshit keeps that stupid breeder in line, then I won’t say anything.”
“Keeps him in line? Hah, for being such a rebel, you don’t talk like one. That sounded like something a teacher would say—”
“If I was a teacher, things would be different. Either way, you’re the head of the GSA. You should have said something, if at all.”
“I didn’t want to say anything, since I know you’re still on his team.”
“Just because I’m on his team doesn’t mean I’m his bitch—” Zach stopped himself, and softly added, “or that you can’t say what you think. I can, if I have to.”
“Right...” Mikey’s voice trailed off, “so. Still rocking that piercing huh?”
“I’m not taking it out.” Zach insisted, rakishly pulling at his swollen lower lip, “It’s a commitment.”
…Well. He needed to commit to something.
“You’re so stubborn. I don’t think you’re supposed to swim with it, either.”
Zach reached out to unhitch the wire-fence door for Mikey, who slid in.
A few freshmen boys were still slowly but surely clearing out of the pool, casting their best dirty looks towards the two. Freshmen Swim boys were easy enough to incense, but the Seniors just looked the other way (later they would steal things from his locker and pretend he didn’t exist.)
By now, Zach just ignored the lot of them, because he was used to it. He didn’t take it so personally anymore, since he had never needed them or viewed them as friends.
“I’m going to swim with it because I want to.”