Alright heres the dealio: I have not finished this chapter yet. but I'm going away for a week so I wont have time to write and post it next week. it has also been a long time since I last posted a chapter so here have half of it. theres not much Bicely content in it and i did get carried away, its already at 4500 ish words and i have a lot more to write so oops and oh well. enjoy what is there so far.
As soon as he was able to Nicely grabbed his jacket and ran out the door. The door slammed too hard behind him but he didn't care; he needed to get out, get some air, and clear his head.
He took to the streets, completely ignoring the whole idea that he had work to do and people to talk to. He watched as sightseers saw, rich southern tourists had their valuables stolen and a blind woman looked both ways before she crossed a road. For him this was normal life, New York had its beauty and attraction, its morals that appeared brighter than all the city's lights to almost anyone, Nicely however, knew the underside of the city, a world for the gamblers, after all he worked there with his best friend Benny.
Benny who was gay. Nicely hadn't seen that coming but now thinking about it wasn't too surprised. He realized that shouting at Benny and demanding answers had been a bad decision and that he could've handled it a lot better. Until now he had prided himself on how he was unlike his father and kind to others. Now he was angry at himself for following the footsteps of the person he probably hated the most in the world.
His father had ruined Nicely's childhood in a way. When most men thought back to their younger years they thought of happy things like home cooked meals, birthdays, Christmas morning with stockings and causing trouble with no real consequences. When Nicely though back to his childhood he would remember the fear, sneaking anything past his father and that awful, awful boarding school.
The problems of his childhood had started when Nicely's mother passed away when he was almost 8 years old. His father was upset and decided to get a fresh start by moving out of their high class apartment in New York City and into a nice, expensive house with a pristine garden in a small town called Sulding. He sent Nicely (who was known as Anthony at the time) off to boarding school. Surprisingly Nicely enjoyed the Foxmount School for Boys. The teachers were kind and there was a surprising lack of violence between the students. Nicely developed well as a person over the 5 years he went there. He developed an interest in performing arts at the school and gained talent through several small plays and concerts which he could participate in. He showed all those around him his love of singing, dancing and his enthusiastic attempts at saxophone until he would get home for the holidays where he would quieten down in fear of what his strict father would say. School reports never reached his father nor even made it home because they showed low marks in Sport, Latin and Math which was what his father wanted him to excel at.
The summer that he was turning 13 was spent like most summer holidays: in Sulding. He found a notice in the window of the grocery store in the main street advertising auditions for a small musical play put on by members of the town which would be rehearsed and performed over the summer. In it there was a role of a comedic young boy who ran around singing and delivering messages which Nicely deemed most suitable for him and so he decided to audition for it. He knew his father would not be pleased to find this out so simply didn't tell him but instead walked into the town hall where the auditions were being held and captured the hearts of everyone in the room. He left the audition almost dancing with excitement and hopefulness.
A week later when the roles were to be announced and the cast notified the postal services which would have delivered the audition results went on strike, instead he was told in person by Joel Gordon, the director's son who waltzed up his path when his father just happened to be out and knocked on his door to tell him he had gotten the role and that rehearsals started the next day.
Nicely decided that he had made the best decision in his life auditioning for the musical, he read through the script in one night and as the rehearsals really kicked in he spent more and more time away from home. His father who had his own things to concentrate on like golf and important business meetings paid him no attention and didn't notice his absence.
In the play Nicely's character's catch phrase was saying "Nicely, Nicely" in response to pretty much anything and soon he adopted the phrase and the director Mrs Gordon nicknamed him Nicely-Nicely because of it. When Nicely wasn't rehearsing he was out somewhere running about and causing mischief with Joel who was already 13. The two formed a good friendship because of their shared love of performing arts and both could be heard singing loudly in the streets like boys often do.
One evening a few weeks before opening night Nicely made his way home after a long day of rehearsing to find his father sitting in his arm chair staring at him as he came through the door into the living room, there was no newspaper or book in his hand like usual but instead an opened letter.
"Anthony Scott Johnson! What the hell is this!?" his father demanded, using his full name and waving the letter angrily.
"What's what?" Nicely asked and then he knew, the postal services must of come off strike and the letter notifying him of him getting the role had arrived. He could tell from his father's expression that he wasn't happy with what his son had decided to do with his spare time.
"This letter here is telling me that you auditioned for a musical and got in, you wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you?" His father demanded angrily.
Nicely just stood there wringing his hands in a nervous fashion. He didn't know how to reply to father.
"Well?!" his father barked.
"Yes" said Nicely meekly
"Yes? Yes what?! Yes isn't a good enough answer for me, I want an explanation!"
Nicely looked at the ground, took a huge breath and then began to speak really quickly "Yes I auditioned for a production without telling you and got in and we have been rehearsing for a while now and I have the role of Young Lou and I sing a song called 'I can keep a secret' and Mrs Gordon says it's very good and I'm doing great"
"Why did you audition for this musical!" His father asked going red in the face.
"I… I wanted to"
"I'm very disappointed son, I was hoping you had joined a summer sports team or something rather than prance about on a stage."
"Sorry? I don't think sorry cuts it! I don't want people seeing this show and seeing you singing and dancing and thinking that I've raised my son to become poof!" His father was very angry now and Nicely just couldn't understand why. Was there really anything wrong a guy wanting to act and sing.
"What's so wrong about a guy singing and dancing, there are plenty of guys who sing and you've said before that every man needs to learn how to dance before he can start taking dolls out" Nicely asked.
"How dare you give me cheek like that boy! You know what's wrong with it, you're singing and dancing on a stage like what gays do and that's not how I raised you!"
Nicely felt tears tell in his eyes and blinked them away.
His father continued to speak. "You are going to stop doing this musical right away, do you hear me?"
Nicely paled at the thought of not being able to do the production anymore, the show was less than a month away and just had to do it. "NO FATHER!" he screamed forgetting that there would be consequences for this action.
His father hit him and he ran away to Joel Gordon's house and got Mrs. Gordon to tell his father that Nicely had to continue doing the show while bruises from his father's anger flowered on his arms.
Somehow Mrs Gordon had managed to convince his father to let him continue with the musical but before Nicely's birthday before he went back to school his father found out about performing arts at school and decided that he couldn't let the teachers at his school influence him anymore and moved him to a different boarding school called Gene Olsen's school for young men which was 6 hours away and had a bigger focus on turning boys into 'real men'.
If there was one thing that Nicely missed about Sulding it was the Gordons. Nicely wondered wherethey were now, was Mrs Gordon still making those apple pies that were so delicious and what was Joel doing, was he was working his way to becoming a successful musician like he'd planned in his childhood. Nicely missed them a lot but he would never go back to that town. Anyway he had a good new life with a good new job and good new friends who were really untrusting of him… which made him nervous. If his best friend was freaked out by what might happen if Nicely found out that he was gay that made Nicely the villain in the scenario, or like the father he had once had
The process of becoming a 'real man' was hell, Nicely found. He got picked on at school because he was quite little for a 13 year old and he turned to books as a form of comfort. When he came home for Christmas he was met with a father who wouldn't talk to him and several aunts and uncles who had adopted his father's dislike of him. The only difference was that they were slightly more vocal of their dislike of him. The only good thing about that Christmas is that he got to see Joel again. He went back to school and the strange phenomenal process called puberty started making his life a pain. This only caused him more distress as his voice suddenly started getting lower and, for a bit, squeakier and wouldn't settle when he was around the pretty the girls at the neighboring girls' boarding school which was very irritating and embarrassing.
That summer he stayed away from his father as much as possible. This was particularly easy because Joel and his mother were always happy to have him over. He turned 14 just before going back to his hated school.
Christmas brought around the annoying aunts and uncles again and all he heard from his family were questions about when is going to find a doll, his first love. He heard "Is there a special doll that you know" "is there anyone from the school down the road for you?" countless times from his hated relatives or in one particular case from his great aunt Nola "Is there a special guy instead then, some poof you met at one of your little pansy plays" He didn't need this, he hated his great aunt Nola for that.
Nicely thought about his aunts words now. A special guy. Nicely had been struggling to hold down a good relationship with a doll, he'd be happy for a few weeks and then she'd slip away, or more likely him from her. Benny had stuck with him though, but then again Benny was a pretty special guy.
Nicely liked dolls and performing wasn't just for gays. That was his attitude until he went back to school and encountered a problem when he was around his classmates, it was just a few questions which span around his head.
Is it okay that I find my classmates attractive?
Do I even find them attractive or was that just… life?
If I am gay, is it okay that I like dolls as well?
He was a bit freaked out by all this and kept to himself even more and concentrated on his studies. Summer came fast and he was able to spend it with Joel.
One night they decided to go and take a tent up into the woods and spend the night away from town. Nicely's father thought this was a great thing for the boys to do
"Why it's something I used to do when I was a juvenile delinquent like you, camping builds boys into men" he said.
Nicely didn't care what sleeping in a tent did to anyone, he just thought that getting away from the world with his best friend was a great idea and he was glad his father didn't try to stop him from doing it.
They carried their camping gear into the forest and set up their tent in a small clearing. They made a small fire and Nicely tried his hand at campfire cooking to find after a few small accidents that it just wasn't his thing. Night fell and he and Joel crawled into their tent. They told each other ghost stories to try and scare each other but just ended up laughing, then in the middle of Nicely telling a story about a ghost that liked cutting off peoples toes and fingers Joel interrupted him.
"Hey Nicely, can I ask you a question?" he said quietly.
"Sure" said Nicely
"What do you uh.. umm… think about….umm uh…. Oh never mind" Joel seemed very nervous.
"Oh spit it out Joel!" Nicely chuckled at his friend's unusual loss for words.
"Do think it's okay to be a homosexual?" Joel blurted suddenly.
"What's a homosexual?"
Nicely stiffened slightly, being gay was fine with him but he didn't want to go to deep into this subject, especially not with his conflicting questions about his school mates that had been plaguing his head all of the school term.
"Oh… okay. I mean yes, yes of course. People can't help being gay, can they?"
"Oh Good" said Joel. "and no they can't"
"Why'd you ask me that?" Nicely had his suspicions but didn't want to vocalize them without being sure of them.
"Because… I have to tell now don't I?"
"Because I'm gay"
"Oh… okay" Nicely was surprised but not stunned, he was glad that his friend trusted him enough to tell him this. He felt suddenly uncomfortable that he wasn't confident enough to tell his friends his own concerns along the same line of thought, or his thoughts about his classmates.
Silence fell over the two of them and then Joel spoke again. "How 'bout you finish that story about that ghost who has a strange love of toes Nicely."
Nicely suddenly started laughing, it diffused the awkwardness which had built up around them. Joel joined his laughing and both became joyful. They talked about life in general, what gay even was, how horrible Nicely's great aunt Nola was and what their favorite foods were until they fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.
If only Nicely had reacted that same way when he found out that Benny was gay.
What had changed? Him.
How? He had grown older his heart was beginning to die.
That couldn't be right, Nicely wasn't that old, still in his teens in fact.
What had changed him then? Fear. Fear does strange things to people. It was all bottled up inside him ready for the change to express itself, but it had changed from fear to anger and panic. It was time to stop being scared and thinking of the consequences and start acting.
The rest of that summer flew by far too quickly, Nicely celebrated his 15th birthday and Nicely was forced to go to school yet again. A school ball was announced, it would be the school ball for both his school and the girls' boarding school down the road, this made for a sudden change in the boys behavior to the girls which included: not throwing mud at them, not yelling rude things at them, trying to be gentlemanly and buying a lot of flowers. Nicely wanted to find a doll to take so he started hanging around the small town the boarding schools were by. That was where he met her, a beautiful doll called Irene.
Irene had the most fantastic curly red hair and green eyes and a smile that could light up a room. Nicely met her in the ice cream parlor by stopping an annoying gaggle of boys the year below him from bothering her and her friends, they got talking and found a shared love of music. He then asked her to the ball and she happily accepted. He liked Irene a lot, and it was obvious to him that she liked him back. They started dating and meeting up whenever they could and that it was lovely. They sent each other Christmas presents and over the entire Christmas break Nicely wouldn't stop raving about her to Joel who at least at first pretended to care.
Nicely thought that Christmas would've been okay that year without his extended family making a fuss over his old relationship status but he was wrong. Instead of saying "oh good he's found himself a doll" they said "haha isn't that funny, she must be a pretty desperate doll to settle for a bum like you" and great aunt Nola saying "ha! He's probably just using her as a beard or her using him." he hoped they were joking but he could feel malicious vibes coming off their words and this made him very angry. He threw a fit, yelled a lot and walked out the door to Joel's house where he threw another fit and kicked Joel's bed frame in anger so hard that it got dented. Joel was kind and said all the right things to Nicely until he calmed down enough to go home and get ready to head back to school.
Unfortunately his and Irene's relationship didn't last, only four weeks before summer break began she broke it off saying that it was lovely while it lasted but she felt like she was changing and their relationship didn't mean the same thing now as it did then. Nicely was devastated and it right before exams as well, he just scraped the grade, failing in his Math class. Needless to say his father was not particularly pleased with him that summer as indicated by colorful bruises on Nicely's arms after several bad encounters with him.
He wondered what Irene was up to as well, hopefully not breaking anyone else's hearts. Nicely had eventually gotten over that break up and the two had talked a bit and had decided to be friends but everyone knows that those kind of friendships just sort of stop over time. Oh goodness was that what was going to happen between him and Benny, saying that they were friends while Benny was that worried about. Nicely didn't want to lose their friendship like that.
Nicely spent his summer like most summers; with Joel. This summer was different though because there was a large focus on getting Joel a boyfriend without anyone realizing he was gay. It didn't work in anything except in producing plenty of rumors that both Joel and Nicely (his partner in crime) were gay. Joel accepted quietly accepted but did not confirm his portion of the rumors as they were true while Nicely freaked out about his rumors because he was scared his father might hear them. His father did and was very angry even though he was finally convinced that Nicely was curable with a bit of 'manly fighting' which Nicely thought was more him getting beat up than him fighting.
He was 16 for the next year of school and it was awful, he struggled with grades, ridicule over being dumped and stronger feelings and attractionto more of his classmates. Christmas was no better; Joel was visiting his dying grandma in New York City and Nicely's entire extended family had caught onto the notion that he was gay and treated him horribly because of it. He was almost happy to go back to school after that.
But school plummeted like it had never before, his favorite teacher Mr Kerr got the flu and was replaced by Mrs Owens, dubbed by all the students as the teacher from hell. Nicely started truanting and causing a ruckus in the very few classes he did attend. The principal of the school who was a stern but sensible man just wanted him out of school as early as possible and made an agreement to let him sit his final exams three weeks early and go home straight after that.
His father hit him when he got home but Nicely was beyond caring, he just walked out the door went straight to Joel as soon as Joel finished school that day. He told Joel about the school situation and Joel was kind and understanding. The school year finished without Nicely and he spent more time with Joel. He didn't talk to his father for weeks and weeks and even when he saw him on the street acted like he was a stranger. Another thing that was bothering him was Joel, Joel of course was not being a bother but Nicely's feelings towards him were. He and Joel were friends, sure Joel was gay but that didn't stop their friendship. Besides he had dated Irene, he liked dolls he was sure of it… mostly. He and Joel had been sharing a room, they had spent a lot of time around each other and Nicely was somehow noticing all these little things about his friend. The adorable little lock of hair that wouldn't quite sit flat, the light in his bright and attentive brown eyes whenever he talked about something he cared about and most of all Nicely noticed and loved the way that Joel would walk with the confident swagger in his step, it made him feel like he had a friend who could do anything.
Nicely turned 17 and he and Joel went out for a nice birthday dinner. After they had eaten their meals the two went for a walk along the riverside.
"I have to go home to my father after this" said Nicely morosely "he's demanded that I come home, he wants to see me and buy me a bigger uniform before I pack and leave for the next school year"
"I'll take that as his pathetic excuse for him trying to pull you away from me, his most hated enemy, a gay." Joel replied humorously, trying to cheer him up.
A heavy silence grew, it was the type of silence when there is someone who wants to say something but they are not sure if they should. Nicely looked at Joel through the corner of his eyes observing how his friend's neutral expression still had a smile.
"Nicely, I'm sorry that the whole town thinks you're gay and treats you like dirt" said Joel suddenly.
"It's okay Joel, its fine." Nicely said.
"No it's not, your own father hates you for no reason and that shouldn't happen to anyone. You deserve better and its my fault that the town thinks your gay. I should never have pressured you into trying to find me a boyfriend"
"You didn't pressure me; I did it perfectly happily on my own accord and I'd even go as far to say it was quite fun. I just… oh I don't know, him hating me no reason? I don't know …Joel there's something else I just can't get my head my head around"
"What? Tell me, is it anything I can help with?" Joel asked quietly.
"Is it okay for someone to like guys and dolls at the same time or is that completely bonkers?'
Joel looked at him with a slight smile and laughed gently "yeah, people like that are called bisexual, it's not bonkers at all"
Nicely felt a weight lift off his chest, he met Joel's eye and smiled back "well… um… I guess I'm bisexual then" he said.
"That's quite alright with me" Joel said.
They continued their walk in silence, at one point their hands bumped together. Nicely grabbed and held his hand and didn't let go. He was happy that he wasn't bonkers, he was happy that he could like both guys and dolls. They walked up off the path by the river and onto the back roads where they needed to part ways to their respective homes.
"Goodnight Nicely" said Joel, making no effort to let go of his hand.
"Goodnight Joel" said Nicely, turning and looking into his friend's eyes.
It was the perfect night, the moon hung bright in the sky, surrounded by twinkling stars. Moonlight fell to earth to tousle with the boys' hair. Nicely thought that Joel looked absolutely stunning standing there with a smile on his face. Their eyes spoke a thousand words to each other and Nicely stared into those soft brown eyes that were bursting with happiness and felt hope that maybe things wouldn't be so bad this next year. Joel put a hand to his Nicely's face, cupped it and kissed him gently. Nicely quickly melted into kiss and the two parted Nicely met Joel's eyes and suddenly started laughing joyfully. It was the happiest laughter he had laughed for almost a year. Joel started laughing to and he felt like nothing could go wrong. Nicely pressed their foreheads together and continued to laugh softly until he quietened and just stood there in Joel's arms with a big smile on his face.
"Hey Nicely" said Joel "Can I kiss you again?"
"Absolutely, go for it" said Nicely.
Joel brought their lips together again. This kiss was sweeter than the last, slower and more intimate. Nicely sighed into the kiss allowing Joel to push his tongue through his parted lips and explore his mouth. It was the perfect moment until a loud and harsh voice screamed at them from across the road.
"Anthony Scott Johnson! What in the seven hells do you think you are doing" his father roared.
Joel and Nicely sprung apart faster than he could blink.
"Shit" whispered Joel with a horrified expression on his face. "I'm so sorry"
There it was. Nicely had almost forgotten that it was okay to like guys and now he didn't have his father watching his every move. So why was he hesitant in exploring his feeling for benny?"
To be continued...