Rafael frowned at Elliot and looked at him. He placed both of his hands on Elliot's shoulders and sighed. "You'll get a full refund. Take them as a gift from me. Elliot, don't think twice about what those boys said. You are who you are. Don't EVER be ashamed of who you are," he told him softly squeezing his shoulder. "And you look very handsome in your new cloths." He stood up and and walked over to the cash register and fished out the money he knew the items cost. He placed the money in Elliot's chest pocket and smiled.
After eating a large lunch, Akira walked into the shop with a slight yawn. Running made him tired, so did food. He noticed that Elli was injured, his mouth opened slightly,"What... What happened?"He asked walking to him. He gently touched his face,"Tell me!"
Elliot looked at the floor with an unbreakable stare, "I'm not gay..." He said, lying of course. "I'm not gay... I'm not..." growing more and more irritated every time he repeated it. "Don't call me..." he said, not finishing his sentence. A single tear fell down his cheek as he clenched his hands on his lap. ((I have to go to sister's play, I'll be back in a bit.))
The message came earlier than he had expected, in the middle of his shift. It was a text message from his father, one that was simple but nerve-wracking. He asked his supervisor for a moment and stepped outside. The outside air was warm, almost biting in the heat. It was still around noon, but he knew it was evening time for his father.
He opened the phone, pressed number 3 on his speed dial, and waited for an answer.
"Hello?" the answer came.
"Kiro, how are your studies doing?"
"They're doing well, I--" his father cut him off and he sighed.
"What are your plans for college in the fall?"
Kiro hesitated. It wasn't something he wanted to talk about. "Well, I was thinking about college here."
"And doing what?"
"Photography. Maybe photo-journalism." Kiro bit his lip at the silence, he knew his father wouldn't be happy.
"Not good enough."
"We had agreed. You were to study something practical if you were to go to school there."
"It is practical, I can--"
"No. It is not. Choose something else. Or perhaps you'd be better coming back to live here."
Kiro's hear almost stop. "No! I mean, no, I'll find an alternative."
"Good." The phone disconnected and the dial tone rang in Kiro's ear.
Upon reentering the library, he found his supervisor near the front door. "Your father?" Kiro nodded. "Take the rest of the day off. You look like you need it." Kiro nodded solemnly as his supervisor went back into the main hall of the library.
What to do? Kiro thought. He didn't want to go back to the beach after his accident earlier. But it could have easily been a happy accident. Kiro looked back at his phone, where Rafael's name was saved. Maybe I'll go talk to him instead...maybe he could offer something else.
Unlocking his bike, he found himself riding back to the boutique.
(i'll be back later, going to try and learn a song on piano...spur of the moment thing)
Rafael shook his head and looked at Akira. He looked back down at Elliot and smiled. "Hun. I'm ten years into the game. I know when I see a homosexual. If you were straight, you would have stopped after putting on the nice dress shirt. But you kept on adding. I saw you trying to flirt with Kiro ealier. I'm.. sorry if I kind of stole him away. I didn't intentionally do it, honest. It just kinda happened. But look, there is nothing to be ashamed of." He looked Akira and smiled. "Try and cheer him up," he told him before standing up. He walked away from the counter and sighed, leaning into a corner.
Akira watched Rafael, it was true. It was obvious that Elli was gay, just by they things he said and his actions. They were probably things that Elliot didn't even notice unless somebody pointed out.
Akira watched Rafael walk off then sighed as he looked at his face,"Who did this...?"He asked wiping a tear from his cheek,"Tell me please?"He said as he smiled and lifted Elliot's cheek up,"Pwease....?"He said with a hint of baby tone.
Kiro found himself back at the boutique in no time. On the way there, he considered it best not to tell Rafael about his phone call with his father. Kiro didn't feel it necessary sharing that part of his life with him unless he knew him a little bit more.
As he regained his composure, he entered the store and made his way to the counter, where he saw a scene that baffled him. There, he saw Elliot by the counter, with the boy he remembered as Akira from earlier leaning over him, their faces closer than what would be considered normal. Elliot was holding a towel to his nose which seemed to be dotted red. Rafael was leaning in a corner.
Rushing to the counter, Kiro couldn't help but show concern. "What happened here?"
"I was jumped!!!!" He yelled, "They bloodied my nose and hit me in my gut..." His face went into his palms, "And yes fine! I'm gay! Happy!?" He stared at the others, crying. "Please don't tell anybody..." he said, still sobbing...
Rafael nodded about him being jumped. "He was attacked by some hoodlums that were chasing Akira here earlier today," he told Kiro. "Akira, show our guest here a little more respect. I won't have any rudeness in my store." He got up from the wall hearing Elliot cry out he was gay. He walked over to him and slightly moved Akira to the side. "Elliot," he said now snapping and taking him by the jaw," There is nothing to be ashamed of. Listen to me. You are who you are. You can't change that. If someone hurts you for who you are, you tell me. I'm here for every last one of you. When I was your age, I didn't have anyone. I was bullied and pushed around. But I only got stronger, and I became who I am today. I'm happy with myself. Learn to be happy with yourself, Elliot." He released him and ruffled his head.
Akira smirked,"At least I didn't hit on him once he walked into the shop..."He thought to himself. He fell over startled when Rafael shoved him over. He sighed and got up and walked to the staff room,"Crap..."He said softly as he rubbed the back of his neck. He sighed,"Why did I take this Brown Sugar job..." He leaned against the wall, wanting a drink. He had one or two before, okay maybe lots. But he was out with friends, now its like he wanted it to hide depression of losing his father.
"Here?" Kiro asked. "This happened here?" Kiro watched as Rafael tried to console Elliot, and found himself staring into space, thinking. He didn't know about what in particular, but he could feel his mind running overtime.
When Rafael finished speaking, he found himself leaning against the counter, just staring into the rest of the store, staring at the door.
Rafael sighed as he walked into the back and looked at Akira. "Hey, would you go take Elliot out. I think he needs a little time to.. catch his breath. He's had a pretty rough couple of minutes," he told him. He placed a hand on Akira's should and smiled. "You seem like you could use the company too."
He walked out the room and back into the main store. He took Kiro and walked him over to a corner. "Whats on your mind?" he asked.
Akira nodded and walked out of the back room. He did need some time. Maybe he would take Elliot out for ice cream. He walked to Elliot and grabbed by the wrist. He forcefully pulled him up and out of the store.