Don't Touch

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LGBT>Don't Touch>Chapter 2

Chapter 2

I woke up around five-thirty in the morning and slowly got out of bed to grab some clean clothes trying to find something comfortable to wear. I felt a little calmer compared to two days ago, but that anxiety is still there when I think about my day and I'm trying hard to not freak out just yet. I tried taking deep breaths as I'm getting myself ready and during that time I'm playing with the rubber band on my wrist trying to calm myself down a bit. Mom left me breakfast on the stove before leaving to work and I was standing at the door after I ate. It's only been a couple of minutes before seven and I checked my backpack to see if I had everything; checked if I had my house keys in my pocket and double-checked if I turned off the lights in my room. I finally stepped outside and made my way when I saw Elliot already there.

"How long have you been waiting?" I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders, "Five minutes, maybe." he said before smiling. "I'm glad you decided to come to school today."

I sighed as I got inside his car and put my backpack in the back seat. "Don't remind me. I'm trying to not freak out." I told him as I closed my eyes and lay my head back on the headrest.

I can hear him chuckle as he turned on his car and began to drive. "It's okay. Just relax and I'll be there," he said as if he was the solution for all my problems.

It was quiet for the rest of the ride, which was relaxing, and when he parked Elliot turned to me. "Alright. So we'll just walk inside the building, go to the door, and when you're ready we go in," he tells me. "I'll be there and I'll be sitting next to you, but remember, I'm only there for the first period and I'll be seeing you again in PE."

I took a deep breath. "Right," I said like it's that simple.

"Do you want me to write down my classrooms just in case you ever want to find me?" he asked.

I felt my face blush as I nod, "Yeah, please. Just in case." I answered and I watched him reaching for a piece of paper in his backpack.

I took it once he was down writing it and shoved it in my pocket glancing at the school building. There were people already walking up to the building and I began to play around with my rubber band as a distraction.

Elliot watched me before slowly reaching a hand out to place on top of mine. "Michael, it's okay," he said.

I turned to him and took a deep breath before nodding. "I know." I finally answered and he removed his hand.

We got out of the car and began heading inside the school grounds. Elliot was beside me as we made our way to the second floor until we finally reached the door to the classroom and I moved to the side while other students passed by. I can feel people glancing over at me and I couldn't look up from staring at the floor worrying about what they could be thinking of me. Obviously, they'll remember me because I was the new student who had a panic attack and threw up on his first day, but I'm also the freak, the loser, the sick one. I shook my head before turning to Elliot and he already had a concerned expression on his face.

"You're okay. You made it to the door," he said as if this was an accomplishment.

"And that's not progress because I still need to go inside and sit through the whole period," I said and I began to run my fingers over the rubber band. "I'm now starting to panic."

"Alright. So what should we do? Want to go to the restroom? Go back outside?" he asked.

I shook my head, "I have to go inside. If I don't push myself to go in then I probably won't handle it later." I tell him.

"Okay," he said.

I heard the first bell ring and knew that it meant that there were ten minutes before the late bell so that also meant that I have ten minutes to try to go inside the room. I took a deep breath and began to walk inside with my head down staring at the ground to make sure I don't make any eye contact with anyone. I didn't need to see everyone staring at me while I'm trying to make my way to my seat and I was also trying to not feel my heart racing against my chest. Elliot followed behind me because I could see his shoes as they moved over to the empty desk on my right and I quickly covered my face as I tried to relax.

"Are you okay?" Elliot asked, quietly.

"Yeah, I'm trying to calm down," I whispered back, but you can hear the panic in my tone.

"Alright. Just breathe slowly. If you want to run out just tap my desk and I'll follow you. I'll be right behind you."

I nodded my head as I tried to breathe slowly as he said, but I wasn't too sure if it was helping and I heard the bell ring so I tried to at least listen to the lecture. During the lesson, I was able to calm my breathing and I glanced over at Elliot seeing him writing on his notebook, completely focused. I didn't bother looking around the classroom, afraid that I'll make eye contact with someone, and I wasn't ready to face people just yet. I only kept my eyes on my notebook and just worked on the assignment, but with the packets, I wasn't completely caught up. I didn't know what was going on and I guess it meant doing some extra reading to catch up. I sigh as I checked the time before seeing that the bell was going to ring and I made it through without having to rush out or having to call my mom.

I did it. I sat through the first period and I was already exhausted but I still have the rest of the day to go through. I put English on a list of classes that I'm going to need to do extra studying for and it would be a good distraction for me while I try to adjust to my classes. I finally decided to look up from my desk and saw the teacher was writing the homework assignment on the board when the bell rang. A couple of students were already getting up making their way out the door while a few waited for homework instructions to be completely written. I noticed a few students were cautious of me as they passed by and a few were looking at me.


I turn to Elliot, "What?" I was confused.

"It wasn't so bad right?" he asked.

I shook my head as I grabbed my backpack and got up. "But I don't know what I'll do with my other classes..." I said as I mess with the straps on my backpack to distract myself.

"You'll be okay." He reassured me.

I turn to him and nod, "Thanks."

We made our way out of the classroom and I knew that Elliot had to go. "Alright. I'll see you later on, okay?"

"Yeah," I replied.

Elliot gave me a small smile before he turned around and began to make his way down the hallway then disappeared behind the crowd of people. Once he was out of my eyesight I felt a slightly heavy feeling on my chest and I took a deep breath before turning the opposite way to make my way to my second class. I'll be seeing him later; I'll be okay on my own. I told myself this as I looked for my classroom and I found it after a few minutes before the tardy bell rang. Unlike my first period teacher, I looked around to find a seat, and a few people were already looking at me. It wasn't like I needed help, but it was a nice comfortable feeling that I was receiving from the teacher before the bell rang at the end of class.

I slowly reached out to open the door but I saw someone reaching out for it before me and I decided to let them go first just giving enough space so they could leave first. But when I reached out to leave someone pushed me as they reached out for the door too and this person was a bit built around the shoulder, taller than me or even Elliot, and I instantly had a mental note to stay away from him. I was sitting a couple of rows away from him and his attitude reminded me of someone I knew.

"Hurry up, stupid. The door won't open itself," he said as he made his way out.

I was the last to leave the classroom after seeing him leave and I made my way to the courtyard looking for someplace quiet to sit. It was lunch, but I didn't feel like eating so I went to the library once I figured out how to make my way there and figured that I'd just work on my assignment to pass the time. I wasn't sure where Elliot would be at and I never asked, but I'm sure he would rather be with his friends. I don't want to continue to be a bother. I went back to an empty table, setting my bag on the table, and focused on my work. I worked on my English homework when I saw my book be knocked to the floor and I glanced up to see that guy from my last period.

"What's up freak?" He said as he sat on the edge of the table.

I held my breath as I watched him and debated on what to do. "What do you want?" I asked.

"I thought it was only fair to introduce ourselves," he said and smirked. "Names David and I believe your name is Mike or Miguel?"

"Michael." I correct him.

"Heard you made a commotion the other day. Is it true that you like, got sick or something?" he asked me and I knew sooner or later someone would come by to ask me.

I didn't want to talk back to him, but I can tell he was waiting for a response. "Yes," I answered.

I tried not to look at him, but I was also trying to not be so close to him. I ignored my books on the floor because I was scared that he would try to do something if I reached out to them.

"So, you hate being touched? Is that it?" he asked as he reached a handout and I quickly moved my chair back.

"Don't," I said a little louder than I wanted to and I froze a bit in my seat.

David smiled as he put his hand down, "You know that hurts my feelings. You make it seem like I wanted to hurt you." he said as he stood up and I watched him from the corner of my eyes.

"I didn't mean to..." I said quietly.

David was about to walk over to me when someone reached out to grab his shoulder and pulled him back. "Everything okay?"

I looked up and saw Elliot; it gave me such a relieving feeling as I saw him.

David looked at Elliot before shrugging off his hand, "Everything's fine." he answered back.

"Well, you better go then," he tells him and David slowly started to walk away.

David took a last look over and we made eye contact, but I turned away quickly.

"Thanks..." I said as I moved to pick up the books from the ground.

"No problem. I was trying to figure out where you went off to," he said as he moved to sit on the chair beside me.

I looked at the books for a second before putting them on the table and I no longer feel like working on my assignment anymore. "He's kind of..." I said but I didn't know how to finish that sentence.

"Scary? Intimidating?" Elliot asked and sighed as he shrugged his shoulder. "He can be a dick, but don't let him get to you. He just has a bad reputation."

I nod as I wipe my hands over my pants before turning to Elliot. "Hey, what are you doing after school?" I ask him.

Elliot raised an eyebrow before shrugging his shoulder, "Nothing. Why?"

"Mind if I get a ride home?" I asked him.

"No, it's fine. I can do that," he answered, smiling.

I don't know why, but being around Elliot has started to give me a comfortable feeling and we're getting along better compared to our first meeting.

"Thank you," I said.

The bell rang making me remember that lunch was over and I moved to put my books back in my backpack.

"Well, come on. I'll walk with you for a bit." Elliot said as he stood up.

"Yeah," I said as I got up as well and there was an awkward silence before we made our way out towards the hallway.

Elliot walked beside me for a while before he had to go in a different direction and I waved at him seeing him disappear. I found my classroom soon after and I sat in the middle back where there was an empty chair. This could be the most difficult class for me since we will be having group projects and lab work. I've never liked science, but I was never that great with group projects and having to do presentations in front of the class. I feel like people are smarter compared to me and I wouldn't be holding them back from a better grade if I wasn't involved. When class started, the teacher handed me a syllabus list of projects to be expected and of course, we'll be having three group projects for the semester. I sighed as I began to sort out my work and catch up on the lesson that was written on the board.

The next week or two could just be me working on extra work material and possible extra credit if I can't keep up with the lessons. I might have to look for a tutor because of two classes I might struggle with. I couldn't understand the worksheet they handed out. Now that I have all this work, all I want to do is go home and lay down on my bed. Forget about school and make myself forget that I even have homework. Maybe I should consider homeschool just to finish the rest of the school year, but that was just a ridiculous thought. As much as that would be easier on me, I know that it'll just make me become more antisocial than I've already become.

The third period went by so fast, but I never had any issues with any of my classmates and I had no problem with the work. I went to my last class of the day and changed into my gym clothes and looked around once outside; I tried to see where my class would be. I was careful moving around and tried to make sure I wasn't in anyone's way as I figured out if I might have to look for a teacher instead.

"Hey! Michael!" I heard Elliot called out.

I turned around and saw him walking over to me. "Hi," I said.

"You're okay?"

"Yeah. Just really tired." I answered as I looked around before turning to him. "I'm still not sure where my class is at."

"Hm, what teacher do you have?" he asks as he looks around the field.

"Cruz," I tell him.

"You have it easy. Cruz doesn't do much aside from making you run laps then does free-play," he said before pointing out to the basketball court. "Your class lines up there."

"And you?"

"I have a separate class. I'm on the volleyball team so our coach put the team in his gym class to give us extra work out when we don't have after school practice," he tells me.

I nod as I thought about it before turning to him. "How long have you been playing?" I asked.

"Since freshman year," he answered.

I nod and I wasn't too sure what to say when suddenly the bell rang and we had to part again.

"Alright. I'll see you later." I said as I started to make my way.

Elliot was right when he said that the teacher was a bit lazy with his lessons because all he had us do was a couple of exercises and let us walk around the track until the bell rings. I watched a couple of people walking ahead of me with their group of friends while the other classes were busy doing drills or playing on the basketball court or playing baseball. I didn't mind the walk since I've never been the athletic type, but what else am I supposed to do besides walking alone or should I even bother trying to join a group when I'm not too welcomed? I sighed as I paused for a bit and looked around the field when I noticed a girl from my class started walking over to me.

"Hello," she said awkwardly as she came beside me and she looked just as uncomfortable as I felt. "I'm Jennifer. I'm in the same class with you in Ms. Lang, from first-period, and also I've been meaning to introduce myself to you."

"I'm Michael," I said.

"I only wanted to say that if you need help with anything in our class or anything else, you can always ask me." She said as we both started walking and she gave me a small smile. "I know Elliot is there to help out, but he can be a little stupid sometimes and acts like he knows everything."

"You know Elliot?" I asked her.

"Kind of. My brother was on the volleyball team with him before he quit this year so I was able to see him a couple of times during tournaments or home-games," she answered.

I nod. "Well, thanks for offering your help."

"It's fine. I know it must be difficult being new and maybe you're confused with the homework or the lessons." She said. "I usually do group tutoring sessions with a few friends after school which was why I wanted to see if you would like to join us."

"Oh," I said as I thought about joining a group of strangers.

"Don't worry. You don't have to come to the group sessions. I can always do private tutoring if you want." she said as she saw my hesitation. "Group sessions are every Tuesday, Wednesday, and we offer sign-ups if people want to meet on Fridays. It's all in the school library since it's open until six."

I thought about this and I took a deep breath. "I actually do need a bit of help... I was completely lost in class and you guys are on a different lesson plan compared to my other school."

She smiled and nodded, "Well, as I said, if you want a private tutor we can set it up. Just come by and we can work out a schedule." she said.

"Are you charging for these meet-ups?" I asked.

"Oh no. I do it for summer jobs, but I just like to help out and there's a program in the school that I volunteer in," she said. "I just know how hard it is being new in school. My family moved twice in elementary and middle school so I know how difficult it can be."

I nodded as I turned to her and took a deep breath. "I'll come, but I won't be coming by until maybe next week. I'm still trying to adjust to everything and I'm sure you saw how I was in Ms. Lang's class on my first day; plus today."

Jennifer nods as she brushes her hair behind her ears. "I saw. It was a bit weird. They tried to explain, but it was just something I didn't think was real."

Hearing her say how weird it is kind of made me look down. "I know. Sorry about that. New environments are just hard to adjust to. I have a problem with people touching me or a certain way people react makes me feel uneasy. It's difficult to explain."

She nods, frowning slightly. "Seems like it's a burden."

I opened my mouth but paused for a second before turning to her, "Hey, Jennifer, where do you sit in Ms. Lang's class?" I asked her.

"In the back; maybe three or four rows behind you," she answered.

"Mind if I sit with you tomorrow?" I asked her.

She smiled and nodded, "Yeah, I don't mind." she answered.

We continued on walking for a couple more minutes and Jennifer would comment about the students or about the class to help keep the conversation going. It actually felt nice that I finally made at least one friend, besides Elliot, and it wasn't something I was expecting. Jennifer seemed like someone who had good intentions. It was nice of her to offer to help when I wasn't expecting it from anyone in the school; besides the teachers. The bell rang for us to return to the locker room and we both went our own way. I waited a couple of minutes outside the building waiting for there to be less of a crowd inside then quietly changed into my clothes. When I finally came outside I saw Elliot waiting for me and we both began to make our way to the parking lot.

"So, how was class?" he asked.

"It actually wasn't so bad in the end," I tell him.

"I saw you were talking to someone earlier," he comments.

"Yeah, Jennifer. She's in our first period and she offered tutoring sessions after school. She said you know her?" I ask him.

"Oh yeah, I do. She's a really nice person. I say go for it, it can help you catch up on the classwork." he said.

We got inside the car and I set my backpack down. "I was thinking of that. I'm actually really behind so I might have to take up that offer." I said and sigh. "I'm so tired of today."

"You're finally going home," Elliot said and smiled. "But, hey, you made it through the whole day."

"Yeah, with your help," I said and turned to him as he started driving out of the school lot. "Mind if we can hang out again? Like outside of school."

Elliot glanced over at me before focusing on the road and nodded, "Sure. You have something in mind?" he asks.

"I just want to go out more. As I said, I want to do better and that just means I need to step out of my boundaries." I said as I looked down. "It feels a little embarrassing to say this, but I honestly feel like I can trust you and I'm starting to be comfortable with it."

Elliot blushed a bit and I heard him chuckle. "You're modest." He mumbled.

"Sorry. I hope that wasn't embarrassing." I said and quickly got out of the car once he parked at my house. "We don't have to if you're busy."

"It wasn't embarrassing," Elliot said, calling me back. "I'm glad that you trust me because I was hoping you could. How about Saturday? We'll hang out; go to the movies or go bowling or hang out at the mall."

I looked at him for a long second before nodding, "Alright. I don't mind any of that. It's been a while since I've done something."

"Alright. Sounds like a plan." He said. "I'll see you tomorrow. I can come by and pick you up again if you want."

"If you don't mind," I said.

The rest of the week went by much easier with only a few problems that weren't so hard to deal with and my anxiety towards school began to ease. Elliot has been coming by to pick me up every morning and after school, he brings me home; which seemed like a routine for us now. David has also kept his distance in class and I was more relieved by that because I wasn't ready to have a bully messing with me while I'm still adjusting. Jennifer helped me during class when I needed it and I finally decided on taking her offer for the tutoring sessions as well. It would help me catch up in class and not lower my grades and it also helps me be more social.

Saturday finally came, Elliot and I are planning to go out, but we haven't planned on what we are going to do for the day. In a way, I was really nervous because I didn't know where we were going or how crowded the place would be or will I have any problems getting around. It's barely ten in the morning and Elliot said he was going to come by at two in the afternoon so I had enough time to get myself ready. I could tell that my mother was worried, but I know she was trying to not show how concerned she was and helped by picking out a shirt for me to wear.

"I really like Elliot. He's such a nice kid." She said smiling as she tried to comb my hair, but I tried to fix it myself.

"Mom, I can get myself ready. It's not like I'm going on a date or prom." I told her as I moved to sit on my bed. "And I know he is."

She smiled as she sat beside me, "You just never went out with your other friends at your old school so I'm just excited for you. It seems like you are adjusting well and it's nice, but I just can't help being worried." she tells me.

"I know. I actually feel the same way, but everything has been fine." I said, trying to reassure her. "Everything is going to progress and they said that I can't always have good days, but that doesn't mean that I'll always have the bad days as well."

She nods, "Yes, I remember your doctor telling me that." she mumbled.

"Mom, is it okay that I don't have to come back at nine? I promise that I will be fine and we won't be out too late." I said and I can tell that she would disagree with my request. "I haven't gone out with friends like this since... since I came to live with you."

"Honey, I know I sound like I'm babying you, but I just don't want to risk it. I want to trust you, but I can't when I know that you might end up having a panic attack or an episode," she said frowning. "What if you have an episode as you did in the school bathroom?"

I paused for a second and remembered my reaction from that day. "I know that was bad... I have been fine the whole week though." I said.

"But that's just been for a week. You haven't really gone outside alone for a while and especially on a weekend where there are more people outside," she said. "I can't protect you out there and Elliot is too young to know what to do if something were to happen."

I bit my bottom lip for a second before I finally nod, "Okay..." I said, giving in. "I understand."

"I'm sorry," she said quietly.

"No, you're right and I shouldn't push myself when I'm not sure if I'm ready," I said as I reached to grab my shoes to put them on and stood up to walk to the restroom. "I'll be back."

"Honey..." my mom called.

I closed the door behind me before leaning against the sink taking a deep breath before turning on the faucet to wash my face and I knew she was right, but I also didn't want to feel restricted as well because of my condition while I was already aware of the possibilities of what could happen. Maybe she was right about Elliot not knowing how to control me if I do have an episode or what if he's not around when it happens. I felt a tightness in my chest at these thoughts and now I've become nervous that I wasn't too sure if I should be going out. These thoughts begin to run over in head of the 'if' or 'maybe' and 'what if this happens'. Maybe Mom shouldn't have said that because I wasn't thinking about these problems before.


I turn to the door after hearing my mom call me. "Yeah?" I mumbled quietly.

"Are you okay? You've been in there for ten minutes," she asked.

I glanced at myself in the mirror before taking a deep breath. "I'm fine," I said and walked over to open the door. "I'm okay."

"I didn't mean to upset you," she said as she reached out to hug me.

"I know, mom," I said and turned to her. "I guess I was too excited that I wasn't being realistic."

It was quiet for a second before I turned to her and gave her a smile. "I should start heading outside," I said, giving her a kiss on her cheek and making my way back to my room.

"Here," she began to reach for her wallet.

"It's okay, mom. I still have money." I said as I grabbed my jacket.

"Are you sure?" she asks.

"Yeah, Dad did a transfer two days ago so I'm good," I told her and we both walked over to the door. "Okay, I'm leaving."


I turn to her after opening the door, "Yeah?"

"Be back by ten-thirty," she said after taking a deep breath. "Not midnight, not eleven or eleven-thirty."

I smiled, "Okay. Thank you." I said and she closed the door behind me as I made my way to the sidewalk to wait.

Elliot came by after a couple of minutes and I finally sat beside him in the passenger seat in his car turning to him, "So where are we going?" I asked him.

"Well, for now, I was thinking of the movies. Is that fine?" he asked as he sat back in his seat and waited before we started to head out.

"I don't mind the movies," I answered.

"It's two in the afternoon so the theater is empty compared to the night," he said as he finally set his car to drive.

I nod, "That's fine with me. I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I'm fine with that and I actually like going to the movie theater. " I tell him.

"Well, I actually had a hard time trying to think of things to do. Things are a bit of a drive around here, depending on where you want to go, so I tried to figure out what was close by," he said and it didn't take so long for us to arrive at the theater.

I wasn't expecting too much at the movies after arriving. We bought tickets to see a new release action film, went in line to buy some popcorn and drinks, then made our way to find our seats. The movie was so good that I almost forgot how nervous I was and simply enjoyed the film. The movie lasts almost two hours and we started making our way out as we talked excitedly about the movie. It's been a while since I could talk about films and shared my favorite scenes that I forgot how normal this is supposed to be. We went back to the car and once again we were on the road in a new direction.

"So, where next?" I asked, curiously.

"Um, I was thinking of the pier. There's a good restaurant where we can eat and it's always been one of my favorite places to go to." He tells me.

I nod, "Alright." I said.

"So, do you miss your other school?" He asks me.

"Not really. I liked my old school and I had some friends, but I think I was only making myself comfortable enough to only tolerate it." I tell him. "Like, I was told to be friends with everyone but I can tell they didn't like me too much or they were forced to talk to me only because of my condition. Honestly, that's what I thought of you when you told me that they wanted you to be with me in Ms. Lang's class; besides you being a student aid for your elective and assisting the students."

"Yeah, I can understand that," he said, thoughtfully.

"I can say I did have some close friends, but I doubt they'll contact me again," I tell him.


"Come on, I'm not that fun of a person," I said.

"I think you are. You're a lot kinder compared to all the guys at the school." He said and chuckled. "Kinder compared to David."

I smiled and said, "I think anyone is nice compared to David."

We laughed and within a couple of minutes, we finally arrived at the beach. I watched the waves for a bit, mesmerized, before following Elliot to the path leading up to the pier. There was a cool breeze, you can taste the sea salt in the air, and the sun was over our heads. We were quiet as we walked but it wasn't that uncomfortable feeling anymore and we both seemed to be enjoying the small walk. We finally came to the pier and it was a bit crowded, but I took a deep breath as I followed Elliot trying not to let myself overthink.

Crowds weren't always so difficult, but I didn't like the discomfort of bumping into people or the crowd growing because it gives me that suffocating feeling like they are closing in on me. I wouldn't be able to move like I'm frozen. People would end up staring at me with an expression of annoyance and I wind up being a fish out of water having a hard time trying to breathe. I paused for a bit as I took a deep breath trying to not let myself panic and I couldn't call out to Elliot to wait for me since he was walking ahead of me. My mind was so overwhelmed that I had to step aside a bit and reach for the rubber band on my wrist and start to play with it for a distraction. I need something to help settle my mind.

"Michael?" I can hear Elliot calling for me, but I turned away from him and tried to focus on my breathing.

"Michael," I heard my name closer this time until I felt his hands touch my shoulder. "Hey, I thought I lost you."

"Give me a second," I said quietly as I still turned away from him and closed my eyes.

Why do I want to go home and be back in my room where it's always a comfort to me rather than having to be here right now. Maybe my mom was right and I just wasn't ready to go out, but will I ever be? I finally turn to Elliot after a couple of minutes have passed and I see him handing me a cold water bottle that just suddenly appeared in his hand. Did he leave to buy it for me? I took a small sip feeling the cool water and it helped clear my mind. I looked down feeling a little embarrassed as I held onto the bottle.

"I'm sorry," I said in a quiet voice.

"It's okay. Are you feeling better?" He asked.

I shook my head and tried to clear my mind of these overwhelming thoughts. "I don't know what happened. I just freaked out and I started having a panic attack and-" I quickly tried to explain.

"Michael, it's fine. Just breathe." He said with a bit of a worried expression.

I pressed my lips together before taking another sip from the water bottle and we stayed quiet for a minute while I tried to collect myself.

"What do you want to do?" He asked me.

"I'm fine," I tell him. "Let's just keep going."

Elliot nodded as we started walking, but Elliot stayed beside me and he led me towards the restaurant he was talking about. We took a seat in a booth that overlooked both the ocean and the beach and we both stayed quiet as we looked at the menu they handed us. The menu was mostly seafood and I didn't mind it because I always liked a few seafood items. He put his menu down as if he already knew what to order and glanced a look at me.

"Are you hungry?" Elliot asked, breaking the silence.

I took a deep breath and nodded, "Yeah, I can eat." I said trying to compose myself.

He nods as a server came to our table and asked the type of drinks we wanted.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked.

I turned away, distracting myself by looking at the ocean, and tried to find the words. "I got scared." I finally said. "I started thinking and it got over my head that I just started freaking out."

"What scared you?"

"Everything," I answered and I didn't say anything for a second then I turned to him. "I felt so suffocated when we were walking and I hate how it feels when people shove past you in both ways. I started to feel like everything was closing in on me. I wanted to go home. In my mind, I felt stupid for coming out and that I wasn't ready for this. I felt like everyone was looking at me and I had a hard time breathing."

I tried to explain without rushing myself.

"I hate that I can be fine for a minute and the next my mind tries to think of a hundred reasons why I shouldn't leave my house."

Elliot didn't say anything after I finished talking and the server came by to our table again to leave us our drinks.

I watched her walk away and I reached for my cup to take a sip.

"I didn't know that's how it feels..." He said.

"It's not the same for everyone. I'm kind of mad at myself that that happened." I said and turned to him. "I mean, I should have expected something like this to happen but I was only hoping that it wouldn't."

"Hey, don't put yourself down like that," Elliot tells me. "I know I don't have a true understanding of all of this that you go through, but if that ever happens when I'm around then just call me instead of running away. I thought I lost you for a second and I actually panicked too."

"...I'm sorry."

"No, I'm not saying it to make you feel guilty. I just meant that you can come to me instead of hiding away. It might not be safe for you if you go somewhere that could be dangerous." He said.

I thought about this for a second before nodding. "Okay," I said, glancing over at him. "Thanks."

"My mom was worried about me coming out today... She was worried about you not knowing what to do if something like that happened and you actually handled it well than we both expected, but I've also had it worse than that." I said.

Elliot nodded as he ran his hand over the top of his head. "I don't really blame her. I was really worried as well, but I know you didn't want to bring it up or think about it." He said. "I was trying to find places that you wouldn't have to worry about and guessing what you'd be comfortable with, but that doesn't mean it'll always be bad."

I sat back in my seat and looked over at the ocean as I was thinking about everything before I turned to him. "I like quiet places, but I also want to try new places that I've never been to. I want to go out hiking and go swimming during the summer. I hate crowds, I can't handle roller-coasters, and I wish I could go to a concert but I don't go because of how crowded it gets." I tell him.

"Well, I like hiking and swimming too. Concerts are fun, but I hate the crowd too. People are shoulder to shoulder and it gets hot... It's gross." he said. "I love to cook, but sometimes I'm too lazy to make myself food unless it's for family. I also want to travel. Getting the chance to go around the world; see things that are different or things that we don't have here."

"I wish I could travel..." I mumbled.

"You should consider it later on after high school. I've gone to a few places with my family and I've always enjoyed them. I say, make a list of things to do or places to see, wherever you go, and make sure that someday you can cross them off." he said.

"Someday, maybe," I said and the server came by our table to leave us our food.

"Come on, let's eat so we can try to walk around before it gets late," Elliot said and we both started to eat our meal.

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