Excerpt from You Can Choose Your Friends

There’s already an excerpt on the Dreamspinner website, but here’s a little bit more.


Since Fran and Jay didn’t really share any friends, they rarely went out. The fact that neither of them had any money to spare didn’t help either, but occasionally they crashed a party or two, mostly by tagging along with Jay’s brothers. Jay felt it was his duty to educate Fran not only in what movies were good, but also in what beer was great to get really drunk on.
Fran wasn’t much of a drinker though, so when Jay got really wasted, it was Fran who made sure he got home in one piece. Fran wasn’t a big fan of the parties, which were rowdy and wild and basically for the football players and the cheerleaders, but in an effort to stay close to Jay, he gladly went along.
Jay seemed to enjoy the attention he got, and there were always girls hanging around them. Some of them even turned their eyes on Fran, but unlike Jay, they made Fran feel uncomfortable.
One night, they were walking home from one of those parties, Fran walking next to his bike and Jay half hanging onto Fran to stay upright.
“Jennifer seems to like you,” Fran remarked.
“Jennifer has slept with half the football team, including my brother Mark,” Jay replied, without the slightest hint of reproach in his voice. “I think I’ll pass.”
“Shana then?” Fran suggested. “She’s kind of shy, but she was eyeing you all night.”
“No, I don’t want Shana either,” Jay said as they walked along. The night was cooling and they could see their breath.
“So what kind of girl do you want then?” Fran asked.
Jay sighed. “I’m gay, Fran.”
Fran stopped walking, and it took Jay a few moments to realize it when he almost lost his balance and only barely remained standing.
“I thought you’d be okay with it, man. I thought you knew,” Jay said with a lopsided smile.
“You’re drunk,” Fran replied when he started walking again, but keeping his distance from Jay.
“I might be. In fact I probably am, but that doesn’t make me any less gay, Fran. I like guys, not girls. Well, I like girls, but not to have sex with. Girls are great to hang out with, but that’s all. I’m gay no matter whether I’m drunk or sober. I can’t change that.”
Jay made perfect sense, but Fran still felt panic rising. Everyone knew they hung out together all the time. Some people probably knew Jay was gay, so they’d think Fran was as well. It didn’t matter that he’d been hiding his feelings for his friend. It didn’t even matter that thanks to this new knowledge, Fran’s feelings could possibly be returned. Then again, it did matter. How could he keep denying his attraction to Jay, if Jay was attracted to him too? He couldn’t let anything happen, though. Word would get out and that would be the end of him.
Jay flung his arm around Fran again and Fran froze, but Jay didn’t seem to notice. Jay leaned closer and Fran could feel Jay’s lips against his ear. “It doesn’t matter, does it, Frannie? You’re gay too, aren’t you?”
Fran pulled away from Jay. “No, I’m not.”
Jay sagged down to the ground as soon as Fran walked away, making Fran stop and turn around before saying, “I’m sorry.”

days to go until You Can Choose Your Friends is available! $1.20 going to the ItGetsBetter project for every copy sold!

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