Self Image Part 3

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Blair watched Jim disappear into the locker room. Jim would be a while, so he decided to see where the boys went.

He packed up his materials and left the gym. There was no sign of them, but one of the doors to the outside was open, so he went through it.

The two boys were leaning against a car in the student lot. They were just talking to each other, but there was an air of watchfulness about them. They were clearly waiting for someone.

Blair debated waiting with them, but it could be anyone, including a girlfriend.

Just as he'd decided to go back into the building again, one of the boys saw him. The boy grinned, mouthed the word "faggot" and shot him the finger.

Blair decided to ignore this bit of disrespect for the moment, and went back in. He memorized their faces, though. Unlike the ones teasing Billy his first day, these boys may be more than talk.

Jim didn't say much on the way home. He just drove the truck as if it needed all of his concentration. Blair wanted very much to talk to Jim, but knew it would be futile to try it when Jim was in this mood.

The mood continued while Jim tossed dinner together. Blair tried to concentrate on lesson plans and even some of his real classes, but found it impossible.

He took a deep breath when they sat down to dinner.

"Jim, what is bothering you?"

"Nothing."

Blair shook his head. "I know you better than that. Don't try to stonewall me, Jim."

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Jim...something is wrong, and it has to do with this case."

Jim put his knife and fork down.

"You really want to know? Okay, I'll tell you. There is a rumor that *we* are gay."

"So?"

"So!? Chief, did you hear what I said? They think we're gay. They think *we* are lovers."

Blair shrugged. "Does that matter? I mean, it's not like we have to worry about our jobs in the long term."

"It doesn't bother you that they think you're a...fag?"

"Nope. I know what I am, and who I am, and that's enough for me. One of my mother's lessons."

"Well, it bothers me. I don't want people thinking I'm something I'm not. I want people to see me the way I see myself."

"How do you see yourself, Jim?"

"I'm a man."

"Yes. That's pretty obvious. You'd make a strange looking woman. I'm a man, too."

"Men do