Inclination by Mia Kerick –
Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans. Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications.
After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too. Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?
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Just Fooling Around
The next day at school, David is way too quiet in lunch period—no sarcasm, no harmlessly inappropriate wit, no outrageous stories recounting the Del Vecchio family’s visit to Journeys Worship Center. And no flirting, whatsoever. It’s like we’re strangers.
I take the blame for his distant and aloof behavior. After all, it is my fault. By pulling my hand from his like he had a disease and snapping at him yesterday after the tennis match, I proved I was ashamed of our relationship, one time too many.
And when I see him this cold and distant, even beyond the coldness of the at-school-David I knew before we were friends, I understand the meaning of the term bitter regret. Everything we’ve built together, as friends and more, is crashing down around my feet because I can’t make up my mind if a virtuous gay Christian can exist. I haven’t treated David right—I haven’t valued his compassion or his affection. I’ve honestly taken him for granted. This guy means more to me than anyone outside of my family, and judging by the way he’s acting now, I’m convinced he’s had enough of my uncertainty.
The very second I realize I’ve lost him is the same second I become sure of one thing. And that is how much I want and even need David Gandy in my life.
In the hall after lunch period, I grab him by the arm and pull him toward the hallway in front of the boys’ room. I don’t even check around us to see who’s looking. “David, talk to me a second.”
He brushes my hand from his arm with equal harshness to how I’d yanked my hand from his yesterday, and he stares past me with glassy eyes, like he’s bored. “What do you want?” I haven’t seen this side of him in a long time now. No, I can honestly say I’ve never seen this facet of David.
“Can we talk? After tennis practice?”
David pretends not to hear me. He tugs a black elastic off of his wrist and pulls his hair back into a low ponytail, as if I’m not there.
“Look, I’m sorry. You’ve done so much for me and I haven’t… I haven’t showed you how I feel for you.” I realize how confused David must be with my hot and cold behavior. I’m confused myself.
He looks at me squarely, his blue eyes shining. “And how is it that you feel, Del Vecchio? Huh? Maybe it’s time to fill me in.”
This is extremely hard for me to do, especially in public, but I can’t lose David. I’m fairly certain he’s worth the effort as well as the awkwardness. “I… I feel like I want to be your….”
“Spit it out dude.” No change of expression—a cross between bored and all-business, with the added bonus of sparkling, pissed-off eyes.
I make a serious effort not to lower the volume of my voice. “I was hoping that we could be…like, boyfriends.”
David possesses an excellent poker face. I still can’t tell how he’s feeling. “Like boyfriends?”
Again, I fight not to lower my voice. “No. Boyfriends, period. I want us to be boyfriends.” I can feel my cheeks burning, but I hold his gaze. This is hard for me, but I need to do it. I have too much to lose here.
“Boyfriends hold hands. Like, not everywhere they go in a total PDA way, but once in a while.”
“I know.” I so hope I can handle that.
“Here’s the big one, Tony. Boyfriends don’t think they’re sinning when they’re together—at least not the kind of boyfriend I want.”
David’s right—and this part is huge. “I guess I think it’s okay with God… how we feel for each other. And, um… maybe I didn’t realize that till…like, today.” I’m trying to be honest, but I’m trying harder to hang on to him. Maybe it’s possible that I’d say anything to keep him right now, because I’m freaking out at the thought of losing my one dependable connection to God.
David very obviously looks me up and down, clearly sizing me up. “You mean that, dude?”
I nod, but it’s partly a lie. “I really think I do.”
His brittle expression softens, and then he fake-punches me on my bicep, breaking the tension a little bit more. “Okay, then. Come over after tennis and we can talk more about this.”
Intense relief causes my forehead to break out in a cold sweat because David buys it. He believes that I’m sincere when I say I’m fine with being a gay Christian. I nod again. “Okay, I’ll be there.”
I watch as David walks away, not with his usual cocky saunter, but with what more closely resembles Cam’s grandmother’s speed walking. I think maybe I’ve thrown him off his coolness game.
I sigh loudly and give in to the urge to glance all around me. I don’t think anyone heard our conversation.
There are no cars other than David’s black Honda truck in the Gandy’s driveway, which makes me pretty sure that we’ll be alone. I park and jump out of my car, then I run up the walkway to the front door. There’s nothing cool and collected about me—sweating profusely, I’m like the polar opposite of a guy on an Axe deodorant commercial. But I’m dying to see him, to make sure everything’s okay between us.
This is very unlike you, Anthony. Why are you acting impulsive like this?
David answers the door after three short knocks, and I wonder what took him so long. “David!” I pull him into my arms on the doorstep.
He hugs me briefly and then pushes me back with purpose. “Aren’t you worried that somebody from Wedgewood High School will see us all over each other at my front door?” His voice is soft but the tone is bitter—he’s testing me.
He knows I still have doubts.
“I…I don’t care right now.”
“Right now?” He repeats my words, and I think, I just can’t say or do the right thing with this guy.
“Can I come in?”
“Be my guest.” More sarcasm.
As soon as we’re in the living room, I say, “I’m sorry for yesterday at the field. I wish I held your hand, but I was confused. You know, with Father Joseph and Laz…and I made a mistake.”
“You screwed up, that’s for sure.” But with raised eyebrows, he nods slowly, in the way of a person accepting what is nearly impossible to believe, and then he cautiously asks, “Wanna come up to my room and listen to some tunes?”
“Yeah, I do. More than anything.” I follow him up the stairs wishing he’d move faster. And when we get to his bedroom, I close the door and lock it. Part of me wonders what the heck I’m doing, but I can’t fight the desperation any longer.
“Wh-what are…why did you lock.…” I don’t let him finish whatever it is he’s planning to ask me, and I don’t even give him time to start the music. In fact, I don’t even allow myself time to think this through—I’m already on top of him, pulling his body against mine, still trying to assure myself he’s really here with me.
And then something comes over me and I start grinding my hips into his as we stand in the middle of his bedroom. He pulls back a little bit, but I drape one arm around his shoulder and hold his backside firmly with the other. “Kiss me.” My voice is deep and husky and demanding. I’m acting reckless and I know it and it’s like I can’t stop myself.
David leans down quickly and complies. His eyes are closed. I’m incredibly relieved by his action and I don’t hold back, kissing him with an open mouth.
This kiss proves he’s still into me, doesn’t it?
But a kiss isn’t enough. The fact is—and I don’t claim to understand why—that I’m still incredibly scared. Not so much scared of what I’m about to do here in David’s bedroom, but scared I’ve already lost him. I haven’t treated him right and I regret it—bitterly. With a firm grip, I take his hand in mine and lead him to the bed.
“Lie down, David.” I don’t know this Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio. He is rash and impulsive and needy.
He stares at his bed for a moment, like he doesn’t know what it is or what it’s used for, but then he climbs on.
I join him without hesitation, dropping onto my back, and then I pull him down beside me. “Face me.” It sounds like a command. I have no idea what I’m doing here, but yet, I press on.
Again, after a brief hesitation, he does as I ask.
Feeling frantic and possessive and terrified along with other emotions I have no words for, I stretch my arms around him and soon we’re back to kissing. And if I thought we made out passionately before, well, I was wrong, because this time is different—it’s frenzied even. This time I’m initiating, and David, taken aback by my enthusiasm, is feeding my fervor with tiny whimpers and moans. I lean up and drag off my T-shirt with one hand, and then I roughly pull his shirt over his head. When I press my bare chest against his, we both groan. The feeling of all this skin on skin is so intense.
“David….” I push him back so he’s again flat on the bed. I want nothing more than to touch his smooth skin, to assure myself he’s really here with me and that I haven’t lost him. Even though my fingers are trembling, I do. As a matter of fact, I do everything I can think of to tease his chest with my fingertips, and then with my lips, in my effort to excite him so that he can’t deny that he wants me. Based on the pounding of his heart, I think I’m succeeding. “You’re so beautiful…just perfect,” I tell him, and I mean it.
David’s hands are shaking even worse than mine, but within a couple of minutes they find their way to my bare skin, as well. And when David traces the contours of my chest with his fingers, I can almost feel the agitation in his touch. But instead of pulling away, he raises his mouth to mine and we start making out again. My head is flooded with relief, which is strong enough to wash away most of the inner knowledge that this isn’t what I truly want to do.
I haven’t lost David! He still cares! He wants me too!
It doesn’t take long until the touching and the kissing leaves both of breathless.
But I’m feeling greedy, and it still isn’t enough. “Want to touch you…down there.” I can’t believe my own words, even when I hear them with my own ears. But I’m forced to believe what I just said because I make a bold move to get my hand inside his black skinny jeans. And I’m surprised at how easily my hand slides into the front of his pants. I think maybe David sucked in his belly a little to make it easier for me. My hand slips down beneath the soft cotton of his underwear. He jerks backwards when I reach my target, but soon enough, he’s pushing his way back into my hand. At this point, I am beyond rational thought and am acting on impulse.
I grab his dick in my fist and start to do what I’d want done to me if I was in his place. He moans and then I moan. Doing this to him is all I want—it’s every desire I’ve tried hard to push out of my mind at night when I’m in bed. It’s awesome and thrilling and…and everything in my head is a blur and…and I like it this way.
This can’t be wrong and I love his sounds… and I don’t know what I’d do if he left me… and maybe be I can forget everything if I lose myself in this…. Yes, this closeness is all I need because it’s perfect… it is…it really is.
Thoughts and feelings race around each other in my brain.
If I say it over and over, maybe I can get past the persistent badgering of my conscience…the voice that’s telling me this isn’t right…not here…and definitely not now….
I silence that voice by focusing on what I want, and what I want is more—although I’m sure quite what more entails. Soon David is squirming and panting and even grasping for my crotch as I bring him closer to what I’m sure we both want and need and… and I can tell he’s almost there.
Suddenly, his entire body stiffens—but not in the way I’m trying for.
David never calls me Anthony.
“Stop it, dude… just stop!” David turns away from me a little and I start to lose hold of him. “I care about you tons, but we can’t do this!” He weakly swats at my arm a few times and so I yank my hand from his pants. Then he flips onto his side to face the wall, and his long hair covers his face. I feel like a criminal. “We can’t do this,” he repeats, and I notice that already his voice is calmer, but I think he may be panting softly. I’m sure that I’m panting, and the sounds I make aren’t quite as subtle.
Next thing I know he’s sitting upright, groping around the bed for his T-shirt and then tugging it over his head. He pulls it on inside out but I don’t mention his mistake.
“Here’s your shirt, dude. Maybe you should put it on.”
I snatch my shirt from his trembling hands with my more trembling hands, and do as he suggests. I am in a state of shock.
“Listen, we aren’t doing anything wrong because we’re gay, here, but we’re Christians…and it’s not the right time for this kind of…like, intimacy.”
I push myself from the bed, still gawking at David. But no matter how hard I look, I can’t see him clearly. It’s like there’s a thick fog surrounding him.
“Talk to me, Tony. Everything’s gonna be fine, ‘kay?” He’s rambling. “We need to talk to God, tell him how we feel. To pray for patience and guidance and lay this at his feet and—”
Come to me, and lay your problems at my feet, Anthony. I will give you rest.
“Oh my God!” The words shoot from my lips, but in my mind they seem to bleed directly out of my heart. Because the reality of this situation has hit me so hard.
I just tried to seduce David Gandy.
I’m fairly certain I’m going to be sick.
“Calm down, Tony. We aren’t criminals.” David slides over to the edge of the bed to be closer to me. He tries to put his hand on my arm, but I step out of his reach. “It’s totally normal for us to feel this way. And to want this sort of thing.”
I have nothing further to say at this point except, “I’m outta here.” I spin around and walk quickly across the room. As I open his bedroom door, I think of another important thing I need to say. “Don’t think we’re boyfriends ‘cause we’re not—we’re not anything anymore.”
I will ignore this situation. And it will go away.
My bedroom feels damp and sticky and claustrophobic like the basement storage closet it truly is. It’s hard to escape from my thoughts in this confined and secluded space—there’s nowhere to run. And there’s no TV, hanging on the wall over my desk. Why don’t I have a TV in my bedroom, so I can watch 80’s sitcoms till I crash? Everybody else in town has a TV in their bedroom. And it’s what I need because there’s no way in heck I’m going to be able to fall asleep tonight.
My phone rings and I know it’s David again, calling to check on me. I pick my phone up from beside me and turn it off, and then let it drop to the floor.
I glance at the floor beside my bed and I see the word lists I printed to prep for the SATs. I grab the papers, curl up around them, and proceed to run vocabulary words through my brain, forcing out the other thoughts, until I fall asleep.