This chapter contains spoilers for Leah on the Offbeat, By Becky Albertali! If you have not yet read Leah on the Offbeat, turn back now!
You were warned!
Felix tried his hardest to get to Pilar before she got back into her apartment. He ran all the way back to the building, letting the midnight air hit his face, only to find Pilar already opening the door. All he knew was that he had to talk to her before she got home. He knew that the only way to help Victor was to speak to Pilar first. Seeing her opening the door, Felix stopped and yelled, "PILAR!" He screamed to make sure that he got her attention.
"What the hell do you want, Felix?" Pilar asked, sounding annoyed as she let go of the handle on the front entrance of the apartment building. Felix ran the rest of the way to her and stopped slumped over, putting his hands on his knees to catch his breath when he does. "Pilar, we need to talk," Felix said, panting as he was trying not to have an asthmatic attack. "No Felix, we don't! It isn't my fault that Victor cheated." Pilar snapped at her friend as she turned around to open the door once again."
"Pilar!" Felix snapped back, grabbing her shoulder to get her attention again, "Victor didn't was figuring stuff out, it's not fair to just treat him like he ruined your whole world, because…" Felix trailed off thinking about how to proceed and keep Pilar outside, she was going to be the easy one to talk too, "Victor's whole world has been torn apart, he didn't want to admit that he is gay even."
Pilar was now looking at him as he spoke, interested in where this conversation was going. Felix continued and pointed towards the front stoop and continued talking, "When he came out to me, we were sitting right there. Victor couldn't even look at me in the eyes when he told me, he made me turn around. His sexuality shouldn't be this big of a deal, especially if you love him. He is still the same Victor that you grew up with, the same brother who brought you that slice of pizza when you found out about your mom's affair."
"Felix, I don't care if Victor is gay or not. What I care about is that Victor lied to Mia and kissed Benji behind her back." Pilar spat, letting go of the door and sitting on the front porch. "I can't say as to what Victor was thinking when he kissed Benji, but maybe it was to figure out if he REALLY was gay or not, and I agree, he should have told Mia before anything else happened with Benji, but Victor has been in a confusing place for some time. Pilar," he pauses, looking her in the eyes, "he needs you right now. Especially after how your parents reacted, his whole world fell apart around him." Felix nudges her and smirks and asks in a cocky way, "Do you think that you could be there for him?" Pilar rolls her eyes and says, "I think I can forgive him, he always forgives me."
"Ok, let's get you inside." Felix says as he stands up and then his phone goes off, "Ding," "Ding," "Who is that?" Pilar asks as she stands up.
"FELIX! Heard about Victor, call me in the morning." - Lake
"It's Lake, I will call her in the morning," Felix says making sure his friend is ok. Pilar walks into the building before stopping at the door to say, "Felix, come inside with me. I think my parents need to hear what you told me."
Pilar stops at her apartment door, you could hear her parents still fighting, screaming about what happened earlier in the night. Felix puts a hand on her shoulder and says sincerely, "You are going to be fine Pilar, just open the door. I will be with you every step of the way."
Pilar opens the door, and both of her parents' attention turns to her, "Where the hell did you go?!" Her father yells from the kitchen table. "I went out to find Victor, I found him by the way." Pilar snarls, standing in the doorway, not yet to taking her hand off of the doorknob. "Where was he?" Her mom asks with tears running down her face, looking for her son but only sees her daughter and Felix, with no Victor.
Felix steps out from behind Pilar and blurts out, "Mr. & Mrs. Salazar, if I may be blunt?" Before continuing, not caring about either of them responding, "Your son just told you something that was probably the hardest thing for him to tell you, and the way that BOTH of you acted broke him." Isabel tries to interrupt him, but Felix just put up his hand, not wanting to hear what she has to say, "I get it that you two are going through a hard time too, but you both had each other to figure things out.
Victor has no one. He didn't even tell me about it till yesterday, and when he did, he couldn't even look me in the eyes." Isabel started to cry, putting the Kleenex in her hand up to her face, trying to hide the tears, and Armando just gets up and walks to the kitchen counter, facing towards the wall just sighs. Felix continued, "Mr. Salazar, I respect you like you are family, but how you reacted hurt him, both physically and mentally. Victor couldn't even get the words out as to how hurt he was about this whole thing, he just got down on the ground and cried. I guess all I am trying to say is be better.
Because your son…" Felix trailed off from his thought for a moment but then continued like it was nothing, "no, your children deserve better. Because as I see it, the only adults I see in this house right now, are the children."
Felix turned around and left the apartment, not even saying another word, shutting the door behind him. Pilar just stood there in shock, she couldn't believe that Felix, that awkward kid that lives upstairs talked like that to her parents.
She looks over to the hallway to see Adrian standing there in his pajamas, "Is everyone fighting because of Victor?" He asks his big sister, not even looking at his parents.
"Adrian lets go to my room and watch unboxing videos.
We can have a sleepover." Pilar says to her brother as they walk to her room.
Before she got to the hallway entrance, she turned around and looked at her parents one more time, "Felix is right," she paused before finishing her sentence, "be better." She says as she walks down the hall, not even looking back.
Isabel gets up, sighs, and just walks to her bedroom after hearing Pilar's door shut. Without even saying a word to her husband, she got up and walked away.
Heading towards her room, she just walked in and grabbed the bag that was never unpacked since they moved from Texas.
She hesitated before picking it up.
Once she picks this bag up, it's over, she is admitting defeat. "Am I ready for this? 17 years down the drain?" She thought to herself. She shook her head, after how Armando hit Victor, she knew it was time, no looking back.
After picking up the bag, she walks to the bedroom door, trying not to look back. If she looks back now, she won't ever leave, so she continued on. She walked to Pilar's door that's now closed, put her hand on it, and did not want to say anything to her two children trying to pretend that this night never happened. Saying goodbye would be too hard right now. She turned around and saw Victor's room, she sets down her bag at the entrance and walks in and sits on the bed, just letting the tears flow down her face. She wasn't ready to admit that she had lost her rock.
Feeling revitalized, she got up, wiped away the tears, and picked up her bag again, heading down the hall. She gets to the apartment door to hear Armando ask, "Now you are leaving too?" Grabbing the doorknob, she says without looking at the man she loves but says without choking up, "Mi Amor, I love you so much, but I think that doing this like we talked about, won't work anymore. Tonight has opened my eyes, and I have some of my answers." She opens the door without looking back, closes her eyes, trying her hardest not to cry, "We both have some stuff to figure out."
—- 15 Hours Later —-
"No one wants to see that, what if there were children here!" Some old lady said to Victor as he woke up. Victor looks around, disoriented, and asks, "What's the problem?" She screams, "No one wants to see you holding hands with a boy; it's disgusting, and no one wants to see it!" "I am sorry, ma'am," Victor says as he lets go of Benji's hand, which wakes him up from the sleep he was in and drooling on his boyfriend's shoulder.
"What's up?" Benji asks, smiling at his boyfriend and going in for a kiss, but Victor dodges, and he ends up kissing his cheek.
"What's wrong, darling?" Benji asks, putting his arm around Victor, wanting to know why he was acting strangely.
The old lady gets up and stands next to their seat and gets in Benji's face, "Boy! NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" People have started to notice now, some people began recording the altercation.
Benji stands up and gets in her face but says calmly, "Go back to your seat! Who cares what we do? All we were doing was sleep and holding hands! It's not like we were screwing in front of you!" The old lady notices all the cameras on her, "Just keep it in the bedroom, no one wants to see that!"
Victor stands up behind Benji and starts to cower behind him, holding onto his waist, but trying to keep it out of sight. The old lady looks at Victor and yells, "Sit down and don't be disgusting!" Benji gets in her face, now he was angry, "Don't tell my boyfriend what to do! We were just fine before your ignorant Karen ass got in our face!" Benji turns around, grabs his boyfriend, and kisses him in front of everyone. Victor, who was thrown off because of this, took a moment, but he kissed back, draping his arms around his boyfriend's waist.
Everyone on the bus starts to clap as the couple kept kissing, while he was kissing his boyfriend, he couldn't believe how accepting everyone was, and he couldn't believe how his boyfriend stood up for them.
Victor broke away from kissing Benji, smiling more than he ever thought he could. He sits down, grabbing Benji's hand, pulling him back down to the bus seat.
Both of the boys look over to see the old lady looking forward, ignoring them.
Benji puts his arm around his boyfriend, leaning on his shoulder again, grabbing his hand again. Victor smiles and says softly, "I'm so glad you are here."
Benji smiles back, "She shouldn't have said anything."
Victor shouts, "Oh shit! I forgot to message Simon to tell him we are on the way!"
Benji looking somewhat confused, "Who is Simon?"
Victor looks at his boyfriend as he pulls out his phone and says, "When I first got to Creekwood, Ms. Albright told me the story about how Simon Spier was secretly messaging and texting with another gay kid at the school, and how after he was outed on Creek Secrets, he posted this big romantic post, and how he rode the Ferris wheel all night long until he showed up.
After all of that was said, I found him on Instagram, and I have been messaging him since then, he helped me realize who I am." Victor grabs Benji's hand and holds it up, continuing, "Without Simon, there would be no us." He leans in and quickly kisses his boyfriend.
Benji looks as if he is thinking intensely for a while, until he blurts out, "I know who Simon Spier is." he pauses and stares into Victor's brown eyes and smiles, "Back before I came out, I read his post on Creek Secrets. It inspired me to want to come out, I guess we both owe this to Simon Spier."
Victor leans his head on Benji's shoulder. He couldn't stop smiling and taps his screen to life.
"Simon, so I am on my way to New York, well, I guess "we" are? I brought a +1, or well, he tagged along. Benji, my BOYFRIEND (!), tagged along. He wanted to make sure I was ok. He also told me, "We just found each other" and that he won't let leave without him. I hope it is ok. Love Victor."
Victor puts his phone in his pocket and leans on Benji's shoulder, "Maybe we should get some more sleep? I think we have a few more hours before we will be there."
Benji wraps his arm around his boyfriend's waist, kissing him one more time before they sleep a bit more, "Sleep good, handsome."
—- 7 Hours Later —
"Babe!" Benji gently shakes his boyfriends' shoulder to get him to wake, "Wake up!"
Victor opens his eyes, looking out the window, he recognizes the surroundings, they were there! Victor realizes they have been asleep for hours, he looks at his phone to see Simon's message.
"Victor, we will be there waiting for both of you.
Side note, congrats on the boyfriend! We can't wait to grill him. See you soon! Love, Simon."
Victor smiles and says out loud, "They are waiting for us! Last time I was here, only Bram came to get me!" Benji looks confused and asks, "When were you hear last? Also, who is Bram?" Starting to look like he was getting jealous.
Victor smiles, remembering the last time he was here, then he remembered the reason why he came here, "Remember when I kissed you on the work trip, and it made things really weird?" Victor asks, trying to gauge Benji's response. "You left town to get away from me?" Benji asks, looking somewhat hurt.
Victor grabs his hand, but Benji pulls it away slightly, "No, I just had to figure some things out, and you were dating Derek still."
Victor pauses to look at how Benji is reacting, "Well, if it wasn't for my trip, I wouldn't have come out, or wrote you the letter…" Victor trails off, not wanting to finish his sentence.
Benji just smirks, "I am glad that you came back to me." Kissing him one last time before the bus comes to a stop.
The two get up and stretch, they have been sitting down for what seems like forever.
Victor notices that the old lady looked their way as they got up. He grabs his boyfriend's hand, and they get off the bus passing her. They take a step off of the bus into a crowd of people.
Most of whom were waiting to get their bags from the storage compartment below. Benji grabs both of their bags, and they walk away from the crowd.
Victor points to a street sign and says, "Bram was waiting over their last time I got here." Victor locks his arm on Benji's, and they walk towards where he thought the group would be.
The couple looks around, Victor starts to wonder if he gave Simon the wrong time. He grabs his phone really quick and no messages or nothing. Victor types out a message to Simon that says they are here, which quickly gets marked as read. "On our way!" Simon types back quickly.
Victor has had a question at the forefront of his mind this whole time, so he asks sheepishly, "Benji?" Benji looks at him and says, "What's up?" Victor starts to blush and asks, "When I kissed you on the work trip, were you ma." Victor was cut off by Benji, grabbing him and kissing him passionately, almost making Victor lose his balance. "Honestly, I have had a crush on you since I met you on your first day at Creekwood.
If you hadn't left the room…."
Benji trails off, thinking of what he was going to say, but obviously not wanting to share with his boyfriend.
Victor says, wanting to know what he was going to say.
Benji grabs Victor again and whispers in his ear, "I'll tell you later!"
"VICTOR!" The couple looked towards the voices that were calling their names his name, it was Simon and a group of familiar people. Victor pulled away from Benji and kissed him quickly, grabbing his hand, "You ready to meet my friends?" Victor pulled him towards the crowd of people, all excited to see them. "Hey, guys!" He says, waving at the group of people all smiling to see him, but they didn't want to waive. They all tackled him, giving him the most comforting hug he has ever received.
After the hug, Victor noticed two new girls he didn't know, one was tall and white with long brown hair wearing a jean jacket and a cute pink top and blue jeans, and the other had tan skin short curly black hair and dressed super fashionable.
Everyone but the two new girls ran up to him and gave him a hug, excited to see him. When the hug breaks, the two girls walk up to introduce themselves, the one with long brown hair introduced herself as Leah Burke, and the other introduced herself as Abby Suso. The crowd turns their attention to Benji, and so does Victor's. He grabs his hand, and with the biggest smile on his face, he says, "This is my boyfriend, Benji."
"GURL!" Justin screams, "You didn't tell me that he was a whole damn snack!" Everyone starts to laugh, but Victor could tell Benji was feeling weird about meeting his friends. Everyone crowds around Benji, but Victor walked over to Leah and Abby, who stayed out of the group. "So, you are Si's penpal." Leah says with a smug smile on her face, "Not gonna lie, I am super excited to meet you."
Abby chimes in grabbing Leah's hand, "I heard you came out! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!" "If you can't tell, we are dating!" Leah says quickly, trying not to blush. Victor smiles and stands there, awkwardly. Abby immediately notices and goes in to give Victor a hug, pulling Leah into the embrace.
Benji, who now has broken out of the group hug, is now talking with Victor's friends, and it made him so happy to see his worlds collide his Creekwood world, and now his New York world are now one. Benji notices Victor and understands how happy he is.
Victor, who was the happiest he has ever been, couldn't help but almost forget what had happened a little over a day ago.
As everyone walked in the door of the Brooklynn apartment, Victor wanted to make sure that he and Benji went in last. He pulled him back a bit, trying to make it not so noticeable, but to no avail, Benji looks at him, smiles, and just goes with the flow, grinning from ear to ear.
Everyone is almost in the door, but Bram and Justin notice that Benji and Victor aren't in the apartment yet, so they take a quick look back to watch the boys. From inside the apartment, you could hear Leah's yelling at them, "Leave them alone, pervs!" As she pulls them inside, Victor could see what looked like Abby's head poke out of the door and give him a thumbs up. Leah laughs and joins her, and she pulls her girlfriend back in the apartment and slamming the door behind her.
Victor looks Benji in the eyes and asks him, "Are ok with all of this? I don't want to rush anything, especially since we haven't even had our fir."
Benji interrupts Victor with a quick kiss and says, "Victor. I chose to come with you. I wouldn't have let you leave without me." Benji paused, grabbing his boyfriend's hand, "Is everything ok handsome?"
Victor looks to the floor, trying not to be weird, but he had a feeling that he had already failed on that front.
He quietly says, "I just." He paused, trying to make sure he didn't say anything wrong. Benji puts his free hand under Victor's chin and pushes his head up to look at him gently, "What's up?" Benji asks, sounding worried. "I guess I just feel like we went from friends to boyfriends, to this big New York trip really fa."
Victor says before being interrupted by Benji's hand getting put over his mouth and saying softly, "Babe, we are just fine, I have wanted to be with you since the moment I met you, so no more thinking like that." Benji grabs Victor, pushes them both of them against the wall, and kisses him passionately.
Victor couldn't believe that kissing someone could feel this way. When he would kiss Mia, all he felt was just butterflies, and that was what he thought it was supposed to feel like, but kissing Benji was like time stood still, and they were the only people in the whole world that mattered. Feeling his heartbeat getting faster and faster, was making him weak in the knees. But he didn't want to stop, he never wanted it to stop. The softness of their lips together was more than he could bear. He wondered if Benji felt the same way, but he didn't even think about it, because Benji just pressed closer to him, like he couldn't get enough.
Benji took his lips off of Victor's barely and asked him softly, "Does this answer your ques." Victor pulls him back in, he wanted more of that sensation. The smell of Benji's cologne was more than he could bear, he wanted him more and more with each passing second. The only thing that got them to stop was the sound of people applauding. The two looked over in the direction of the applause to see everyone standing outside the apartment.
Victor just smirks and starts to laugh, Benji looks back at his boyfriend and winks.
Victor goes to grab his bag, but Leah walks over and picks up both of them.
She looks at the two of them, "You two probably need a breather... So, I got these." She seemed amused with herself, so she started to giggle. Victor was blushing now, so he walked into the apartment with Benji following him closely.
As they get in the door, Simon says impatiently, "Victor, with the messages that you sent me, it has me worried. I want to hear what happened when you came out to your parents, you didn't say much about it. Talk to us."
Gesturing for them to sit on the couch, Victor sits down, and Benji sits down next to him. Justin starts to laugh and says, "After that, I am sure he has to sit down, because DAYMN GIRL!"
Kim and Ivy look at him and tell him to stop it but start giggling from what he said.
Kim, Justin & Ivy sit on the floor in front of the couch, ready to listen to what their friend has to say. Bram looks at Simon in the sofa chair and sits on the arm of the chair, grabbing his hand, watching and waiting for Victor to tell his truth. The only ones not right in front of them were Abby and Leah, who was standing by the apartment's front door, looking uneasy about the news they are about to be given.
Victor sighs, he isn't ready to bring the words to life, to tell everyone what happened. If he says it aloud, that makes it real, and he wasn't prepared to relive that pain again. He could feel himself start to cry, and I guess Benji noticed because he put his hand on his back and asked, "Victor," he paused, waiting for a response, but Victor just started to cry now. "Babe, what is it?" Benji asks, looking worried. Justin quickly asks Benji, "Wait, he hasn't told you anything?" Victor shook his head, he had only told Felix what happened.
He didn't want to worry Benji at all.
Victor wiped away the tears on his face and looked to his friends and boyfriend, they were all looking at him looking concerned, ready to give him a hug at a moment's notice. That was precisely what he needed right now.
"Well, obviously, Mia and I broke up." Victor started, and everyone laughed at the comment.
Victor grabbed Benji's hand because he wasn't sure if he could gather the courage to finish, but he continued anyway, "After she found us kissing after the dance, my sister and I walked home. When we got there, our parents were in the living room waiting for us, they wanted us to sit down with them. They had something big to tell us, and it was that they were splitting up. We all saw it coming, but it just hurt to hear them actually say it. I was going to come out until I heard them bring the words to life, it made it all too real…" Victor trailed off, not wanting to go onto what happened next. Bram broke away from Simon, to sit on the couch next to him, putting his hand on his shoulder.
Victor turned his head and closing his eyes, not wanting to see everyone's reaction and kept on with his tale, "I was so ready to come out, until that point. I started to walk away, but I figured with my family, I had to say it now, or never."
Victor opened his eyes, not ready to bring the words he was about to say to life, "After… I told them, my mother couldn't even look at me, I think she was praying or something. My sister blurted out that I cheated on Mia. AND my dad got." Victor stopped talking, he wasn't ready to say it just yet.
He paused for what seemed like forever. It was then that Leah noticed the pain on Victor's face and blurted out, "He hit you, didn't he?" putting her hand to her face, wishing that it wasn't true. Here come the waterworks, he didn't want to say it.
That would make it real. The warm tears were trailing down his face now, he was sobbing, and it was uncontrollable now.
Benji gets up and kneels in front of his boyfriend, trying to look at him in the eyes, "Babe, what happened? Are you ok?
Pushing him away, still sobbing, he could barely form any words. He looked around at everyone now, and they were all crying too, which made it worse.
Simon gets up and sits in front of his friend. Looking right in his eyes, he says softly, "Victor, we are all here for you."
Victor couldn't muster the words to tell his friends, so he grabbed the bottom of his shirt and starts to pull up, revealing a deep purplish bruise the size of a baseball on his dark complexion skin.
The only reason he knew it was there was because he checked to see if he had one on the bus, but he made sure Benji was asleep.
"OH MY GOD!" Justin screams, bawling his eyes out now, getting up and having to look away.
Abby starts to cry, not knowing what to say, she leans over to her girlfriend, falling into her embrace, not wanting to see Victor's pain. She couldn't look at the sight of blemish on his stomach. Ivy and Kim just embraced each other, not wanting to look at what his father had done. Bram gets on the floor next to Simon, holding his hand, they both put a hand on Victor's leg, not knowing what to do or say to make this better.
Benji grabs his boyfriend's and rests his forehead on his shoulder and started to cry. Victor couldn't believe that his friends cared so much, and he didn't want to see them in pain like this way anymore. He broke free of Benji's grip, not saying a word, and got up to head out the door.
Leah tries to grab him, to pull him into her embrace with Abby, but Victor pulled away, tears still streaming down his face.
Opening the door, he heard his friends try and get him to stay. He had to be alone right now.
Victor got outside of the building and sat down on the front step, taking a deep breath. He couldn't believe that he lost it like that. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders though after he told them.
"Babe, are you ok?" Benji asks as he sits down next to his boyfriend, wresting his hand on Victors'.
Victor tries to look away, but he knew he couldn't, so he turned his head to Benji. "I think so?" Victor says, questioning if he was sure if he actually was ok. Benji looks at his boyfriend and asks, "Why didn't you tell me?"
Victor looks him in the eyes and says sheepishly, "I wasn't ready to tell anyone, I could barely tell Felix, and saying it out loud would make it more real." Victor trails off thinking about the other night again, but Benji interrupts his thought, "You can tell me anything, babe, and I mean anything." Grabbing Victors' hand and holding it tight.
Speechless at how amazing HIS boyfriend is. Victor scoots closer to him, leaning his head on Benji's shoulder. "I know it's hard, but it's what a boyfriend is here for. No matter what, I want you to tell me anything." Benji said in a way that made Victor feel safe.
Wiping away the tears, Victor turns his body towards Benji, "I won't hide anything from you anymore." He leans in for a kiss, but Benji beats him to it. Victor pulls away from the kiss quickly and says softly, "I promise." Immediately going back to kissing him.
The sound of cheering interrupts them again, all Benji does is laugh, but he continues kissing his boyfriend. Victor didn't want to stop either, but with the audience above, it was getting weird. Pulling away, even though he didn't want too, he says softly, "We should probably get back inside." Benji kisses him one more time and nods his head. The two get up, trying not to laugh at the crowd who was still cheering from the window upstairs.
"Ding," "Ding," Victors' phone went off. Benji curiously asks, "Your family?" But Victor just shook his head as he read the message.
"Victor, are we just not even going to talk about what happened?" – Mia Brooks
"It's Mia…" Victor paused; he wasn't ready to talk to her yet.
"Ring," "Ring," his phone started to ring now, it was Felix.
"Hey, Fe." Victor started to talk, but Felix blurts out before he could finish. "Victor!" Felix pauses, not wanting to finish his thought, "So... Funny story, Lake was asking about you today, and I kind of let it slip about New York..." he trailed off. "FELIX!" Victor yelled, not wanting to know where this was going. "Well, the funny part is that we are at LaGuardia right now," Felix responds sheepishly. Sounding worried, Victor asks, "Where should we meet you?"