Kicking And Screaming
by Beth C.

"Fucking Wizard outed me!," Banky yelled angrily, throwing the magazine down.

Fuck Wizard for doing this.

Fuck Hooper for telling them.

Fuck Holden for starting it all.

The cover screamed at him "Diversity and Acceptance in the Industry".

There was an article about characters of color, one about comics addressing discrimination, and then one featuring minority artists.

The first page was Alyssa and Hooper's smiling faces at Gay Pride Day.

He didn't know if he wanted to fuck Hooper or fuck him up.

The former would be immediate satisfaction, but the latter would keep him smiling for days.

He did it on purpose. Hooper's version of punishment for something Banky did. Maybe it was his refusal to go to Gay Pride Day, maybe it was his refusal to make out with him at the movies, or maybe it was because Banky refused to meet Hooper's mom.

The phone rang, he didn't answer.

"Probably my company, ready to cancel me," he muttered to the empty apartment, throwing himself on the couch.

"Hey Baby, I'm not coming over tonight for obvious re-," the voice started over the machine.

Banky jumped up and tried to control himself long enough not to break the machine into a million pieces. He grabbed the receiver quickly, "God Damn It! What the fuck! How could you?" he started screaming into the phone.

There was a little chuckle on the other end, "I guess you read the article."

"Oh I read it," he said angrily, "and I quote 'I came out because I'm proud of who I am and I wanted to be able to go to functions with my boyfriend Banky Edwards. He does 'Baby Dave' and we've been together for about a year. We both believe its important Ęto be open about who we are.' What the fuck were you thinking Hooper?"

"Oh calm down, It's just a little push out of the closet," Hooper said calmly, "You are overreacting."

"Overreacting! You say my name, the book I draw, and then some lie about a commitment. Why not just print a big picture of me in the fucking magazine?" Banky answered back, "You had no right to do this without my permission."

There was a moment of silence before Hooper answered back just as angrily, "What do you mean a 'lie about commitment'? We're monogamous, and we've been together for 9 months. How do you think it feels to have your own boyfriend deny you? I can't believe you would dare do that."

"Well guess what? You aren't my fucking boyfriend!" Banky screamed, "You're a fucking mistake, an anomaly, a fag."

"A mistake you share a bed with most nights of the week, and you spend the majority of your time with," Hooper snapped back, "Well guess what Banky, as much as you try to deny it; you are just a big of a queer as me. You fuck guys, you are gay. Deal with it!"

"You had no right Hooper, no right to do this to me," Banky said angrily, "Why couldn't you just be happy with what we had?"

Hooper sighed loudly, "Banky, I was hoping this would give you a wake up call, but I think it really did it for me. I thought I was more then a fuck-buddy to you, but I guess Holden still reigns supreme in your little heart."

"What do you mean?" he said quietly, instantly softened by the mention of Holden.

"Come on Banky, you've been fucking me with your eyes closed from day one," Hooper said sadly, "I give up. I can't be your replacement. Call me when you get your life straightened out."

Banky started to hang up the phone, but before he could, it started ringing again.

"Fuck off Hooper, you're not coming over for one last fuck," Banky answered angrily.

"Hi Banky," Holden greeted him, "how are you?"

He wanted to act nonchalant; to answer back calmly as if this wasn't the first time they had talked in years. To show Holden that he was living a happy, wonderful life without him, and that he didn't miss him at all. But his voice betrayed him.

"Holden?" he said shakily. "Is it really you? I've missed you."

"Is the article true?" Holden asked.

He felt his cheeks growing red with anger. More then two years of silence and Holden calls him for fact checking purposes. "You heard how I answered the phone, what do you think?" Banky snapped at him.

Holden paused before asking his next question, "Is it because of me?"

Banky didn't know how to answer. 'Not technically,' 'Sort of,' and 'I'm not gay, I just love you,' all seemed like really bad answers. "Aren't you pretty self-absorbed?" he answered instead.

"Do you mind if I come over?" Holden asked with that nonchalant tone Banky wished he could fake.

"Why?" he questioned suspiciously.

"To do something I should've done a long time ago," Holden said, "To let me set things right."

Banky didn't cry. He wanted to be able to break down, weeping with happiness that his weird little dream had come true. But the old bitterness crept back in, "Fuck you Holden, you think you can just call and I'd let you fuck me. Or do you think I'll bottom for you, or just suck you off, so you can pretend I'm a girl."

"Fuck you Banky. How do you even know I want to fuck you?" He answered gruffly before reverting back to his calm tone, "Let me come over. Don't push me out."

A voice softly came out, "You haven't talked to me in years. You're just going to hurt me like last time."

"I lost the two people I loved the most that night," Holden said reassuringly, "I don't know if I'll ever be able to have a true relationship or even a friendship with you, but I'm willing to try. Don't worry, I would never hurt you again."

"Fine, you can come over," Banky answered, "But we're watching the hockey game, and you're bringing a pizza."

"One last thing, how is Hooper in bed?" he asked in that smart-ass tone Banky missed.

Banky chuckled softly, "Just come quickly Holden, I've missed you."

He waited for that little click on the other end. "I love you," he smiled to himself, and thought of days where he might be able to tell Holden himself.

Maybe he would write Hooper a thank you letter.

Maybe he would write Wizard a letter to publish a correction about who he really dates.

Maybe he would write his own "Chasing Amy" except with a happy ending. He hoped there would be a happy ending. He needed a happy ending.


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