Rachel Summers : Author


How Queer It Is To Grow Up by Rachel Summers

6th Grade

"Heyyy Rachel." Erik grinned while waving to his sister from across the lunchroom. Rachel waved back. Rochelle stood exactly where she was, and did not move.

"Hi Erik." Rachel waved back while rolling her eyes. "Don't you see I'm hanging out with my friends now? Older brothers aren't cool at the moment. Say hi to me in a few years, when your in high school. High school brothers are supposed to be cool." Rachel shrugged. Zach shook his head.

"No Rachel, that's college brothers. Sorry Erik, you won't be able to say hi to Rachel in a while..." Zach frowned and Rachel laughed.

"I was only kidding." She said. Rochelle stared at Erik for three long seconds.

"What?" Erik asked her bluntly. Rochelle tried to glare as she felt the heat rush to her face.

"Nothin'. What do you mean?" She asked casually, trying to hide the blush by turning her attention elsewhere, but Erik didn't seem to notice.

"Hmm, nothing. See you around Rayyychel." Rachel twitched in annoyance as Erik streched the 'a', and he went to sit at his table with Jaden, Erika and Natalie.

Why is it so hard to talk to him?

9th Grade

"Heyyy Rachel! Welcome to highschool! I can give you the grand tour if you want." Erik asked as he approached his sister. Rachel shook her head.

"No, Erik. A cute boy is going to give me the grand tour. Not my big mouthed brother. No offense." Rachel thought of the idea of Alex giving her a tour of highschool. That was a good idea. Erik looked annoyed.

"Bigmouth? I'm the quietest kid ever." Erik said to her, getting louder and louder as he talked. Rachel laughed.

"Yeah right. I'm so sure." She turned to her locker. Rochelle approached them.

"Hey Rachel, I found my locker. It's not that far away and Katie gave me some stickers to paste - " Rochelle stopped talking when she saw Erik. "What do we have here? Erik Thomas. Hello, General Bigmouth." Rochelle gave a mock salute. Erik looked even more annoyed.

"Ohhh, it's you." He frowned and waved to his sister. "I gotta go, see ya around." Erik turned and left. Rochelle smirked. Rachel shook her head in disbelief.

"I thought you liked him?"

"Pfft, two words ; keep imaginin'." Rochelle said matter-a-factly and watched Erik walk down the hall.

It wouldn't work out anyway if I did tell him.

10th Grade

"Heyyy Rachel." Erik smiled at his sister. "So, you reconsider going out with Jaden?" He asked. Rachel scowled.

"Yes. And instead of no, I've decided on never." She scoffed. Erik looked behind Rachel.

"Oh - hi Rochelle. Who's that guy? Another Amasawa? Good God, I thought there were only two - then Joey shows up. Now this one..." Erik shook his head as if it was bothersome to keep track of the triplets.

"No, fathead." Rochelle growled. "This is a Tsukishima. His name is Shinichi and he's my boyfriend. Treat him with respect." Rochelle waved her fist in Erik's direction and Shinichi waved.

"Hi. I'm - well, you already know my name. You must be Erik?" Shinichi asked while holding out a hand. Erik burst out laughing.

"You - you sound exactly like Evan!" Erik wiped the tears from laughing out of his face, reffering to his stepfather. "Way to pick 'em Rochelle!" Erik laughed and walked off in the opposite direction. Rochelle was enraged.

"Shut up!" She yelled after him. "You sound like my Mother, so what the heck does that say about you!?!" She shouted, but Erik was too far away. Shinichi put a hand on her shoulder.

"It's okay Rochelle. Calm down." He told her. Rochelle snarled and looked to her feet.

So much for making him jealous.


"Heyy Rachel." Erik smiled. His sister walked right past him and into the house. Erik's smile faded. Rochelle stood on the sidewalk. "What's up with her?" He asked. Rochelle shrugged.

"Meh, the usual. She's in a bad mood." Rochelle replied. "She's been in a lot of bad moods lately" Rochelle sighed.

"Growing pains?" Erik asked in a scholarly manner, as if he was an old aged man that had gotten a PHD, and was a psychologist. Rochelle scoffed.

"What would you know?You're still experiencing 'growing pains' yourself, fathead." Rochelle said playfully with a smile. Erik tried to glare at her but couldn't help but smiling back.

"She'll get over it. She's Rachel." Erik yawned. "So how's Tsukishima doing?" He asked casually. Rochelle's smile faded. She shrugged again.

"How am I supposed to know?" She said. Erik's eyes widened.

"You mean he dumped you?!"

"Yeah, so what?" Rochelle looked away. Erik frowned.

"That's too bad. You were cute together. Y'know? But I suppose nothing lasts forever." He looked upset. "I just got dumped myself. Well, I dumped someone. Star Calloway wasn't as nice as I thought..." He trailed off. Rochelle laughed.

"Yeah, Rachel told me that she was milking you dry of cash!" Rochelle blurted out. Erik scowled.

"No she wasn't! She was just...well..." Erik tried to explain what you would call it when you had been used for money by an ex girlfriend that you still kind of liked.

"She was what Erik? Your soulmate?" Rochelle said a little too unsympathetically. 

"I don't know, maybe I thought she was! Anyway, what would you know about true love? You're just my sister's annoying friend!" Erik snapped, and walked inside, leaving a perplexed Rochelle on the sidewalk. Rochelle looked down at her shoes and played with her mittens.

Just his sisters annoying friend. I hoped for more than this.

11th Grade

Erik was sitting at a table solemnly, when Rochelle sat down.

"Wotcher Erik." She asked with a smirk. Erik looked up.

"What? Where?!" Erik looked around in alarm.

"Not "Watch ya," "Wotcher". It's British slang for hello. I just came back from the theater, Zach paid for Rachel and me to see Harry Potter." Rochelle explained. Erik sighed.

"Oh. Well, that's nice for you I guess."

Rochelle raised an eyebrow.

"Did you do anything interesting today?"

"...no...." Erik admitted. Rochelle slammed her fist down on the table. "What?" Erik asked.

"You always want to talk about you! You're the biggest bigmouth I've ever seen! What's the matter?" Rochelle exclaimed. Erik frowned.

"Hmph, I am not. Anyway, maybe I just don't have anything interesting to say." Erik turned away from Rochelle. Rochelle smirked and said bluntly,

"Who ditched you?" Erik looked up in surprise.

"How'd you - "

"Easy. Two plates here, you checking your watch looking glum. Who didn't show?"

"Debrina." Erik sighed. Rochelle laughed.


"Debrina. You know, the magician. I asked her out yesterday. She should have shown up an hour ago..." Erik sighed. Rochelle snickered.

"You were just asking for it. Debrina? Please, you gotta be kiddin' me - "

"Look who's talkin' Rochelle Le France." Erik sneered. Rochelle scowled.

"Hey, don't put my name on that with the same boat as Debrina. It sounds like a bad cough." Rochelle sniggered, but then grew silent. "Don't feel all that bad." Rochelle said.

"I do. I just don't have any luck with girls. First Ashley, Star, Lavender, Star again, Ashley again, and now Debrina. Why does fate not like me?"

"Pfft, don't be st-nevermind. You're right. You just don't have luck. Mayybe you should....see other option - "

"And besides that fact, I'm headin' off to college soon. I don't know what to major in. First I thought that I wanted to do theatre, then I wanted to major in fashion, but now I just don't know." Erik sighed. Rochelle scoffed.

"First of all, only gay men major in fashion, second of all, were you listening to - "

"Hey! That is not true!" Erik snapped. "Plenty of straight men major in fashion." Rochelle snickered.

"You name five and I'll believe you. I need names." She put her feet on the table, and began to eat off of the absent Debrina's plate. Erik either A, didn't notice, or B, didn't care.

"That's not the point, the point is that I just don't know."

"Your gender?"

"NO! What I want to major in! I tried talking about this with Shelia, but she told me to 'just pick'. And Evan just wants me to be a doctor. Or his assistant. I don't want to be a doctor. Or a doctor's assitant." Erik continued to complain to Rochelle.

"Okay, but listen to me - "

"And now Debrina has me in a bad mood and - "

"ERIK, LISTEN TO ME!" Rochelle exclaimed, and even Mikey the cashier looked over.

"Whaaaat?" Erik asked in a whine. Rochelle jumped up from her chair and kicked it aside.

"You are so self centered. I asked who dumped you, not your whole life story. You won't even consider what I have to say. You didn't even ask how I was. You are so selfish sometimes!" Erik looked up in surprise.

"So you hate me?" He concluded. Rochelle fiercly shook her head.

"I love you!" Rochelle said. "Because even though you have terrible luck and terrible bad points you're cute and nice and I really like you!"

Erik's face was plastered with shock. He stared at her wide eyed, mouth open for around a total of ten long seconds. Even Mikey stared with shock.

"I....I..." Erik stammered. Rochelle leaned against the counter and waited for a reply. She couldn't pick the dirt from under her fingernails forever. Rochelle stood exactly where she was, as Erik silently got up from the table and left the restaurant.

Rochelle just stared as Erik got in his car, started the engine, and drove away.

"Harsh." Mikey commented.

"You need something?" Rochelle growled. Mikey shook his head and handed Rochelle a piece of pizza.

"On me." He said to her. Rochelle glared for a while, before eating the pizza and leaving as well.

That wasn't really the answer I wanted or expected...

Year One Of College

Rochelle was staring at her uneaten sandwich in front of her. She was usually the first person to eat a sandwich, but now she didn't have much of a stomach for it. Zach was at college. He had gotten accepted at Berkley. In California. Rochelle missed his stupid innuendos. She missed his grin. She missed him. But he was gone, and wasn't coming back until spring break. Thankfully, Rachel, Rochelle, and Anthony were still going to be staying in Illinois. and even more convenient, they were all going to the UIC. Well, they still had a year before thinking about all of that, seeing as how they were a year younger than Zach. And Rochelle seemed to like putting it off as long as possible.

She was staring at her uneaten sandwich, when she saw someone sit down a table from her. She looked closer and recognized the face of Jaden Parker, one of Erik's friends. Rochelle turned her face away from him and picked up her sandwitch and was about to take a bite when she heard Jaden say to a waitress, 

"Can I have a coffee? Black, please. Sugar too."

Rochelle wondered why someone would need a black coffee. Maybe he needed to catch up on homework or something. Or maybe he needed to stay up to do something else important.

She leaned over her seat, and asked,

"Hey, you Jaden? Jaden Parker?"

Jaden looked up. Rochelle noticed that his eyes were red, as if he'd previously been crying.

"Yeah." He murmured. "What's it to you?" 

Rochelle stood and sat down at his table, across from him.

"Nothin'. But, do you know Erik Thomas then?"

"Yeah. Do you?"

"Uh huh. I'm Rochelle, his little sisters friends." Rochelle held out a hand. Jaden stared at it, and she awkwardly let it fall.

"I remember you, you're the one who wanted to join the boys baseball team. You said it was sexist to have groups separated like that. I used to think you were crazy." Jaden said thoughtfully. "Rochelle, right?"

"That's my name, don't wear it out." Rochelle grinned, and Jaden gave a small reluctant smile back. "Where's fathead hanging 'round these days?" She asked casually. The ghost of a smile Jaden had suddenly vanished. It was replaced with a look of pure loathing and anger.

"Oh, how am I supposed to know?" He snapped. "Probably being a jackass somewhere, with his stupid stardom." Rochelle gasped. Sure, people had thought Erik was one at times, but they never actually expressed this.

"You don't seem too thrilled." She observed, smirking.

"Probably because I'm not." Jaden mumbled, glaring out the window.

"Is it because you're totally gay for Erik?" Rochelle inquired, and Jaden's face contorted to disgust.

"What? No." He said.

"Then why are you mad at Erik?"

"Because he's a jerk." Jaden said simply. Rochelle leaned over the table with interest.

"Yeah, I picked up the vibe that you thought that. But why?"

Jaden looked like he was forcing himself not to start to cry by just telling her,

"He missed my sister's funeral." Jaden let his head drop, and his curly black hair hung in his face, and Rochelle saw him shaking. At first she thought he was shaking with anger, but then she realized he was crying.

With a perplexed look she placed a hand on Jaden's shoulder.

"Er...it's alright I guess." Rochelle concluded that she ultimately failed at soothing. Jaden stood up from the table.

"I-have-to-go-" He said between sobs, and Rochelle followed him as he fast walked out of the restaurant. 

Jaden got in his car faster than Rochelle expected, and she surprised herself when she flung open the car door and got in.

"Get out of the car, Rochelle." Jaden said exasperatedly, wiping his face with the back of his hands, in a manner that reminded Rochelle of a grubby three year old.

"No." Rochelle protested.

"This is breaking and entering -"

"Your car. I'm not car jacking you. '911, there's a strange woman in my car!'. Sorry, but 'a strange man in my car' sounds more serious than a strange woman." Rochelle smirked. Jaden opened his mouth for a comeback, but he could find none.

"Sorry I seem kind of insensitive. But I couldn't let you run away crying, could I?" Rochelle asked. Jaden looked pained.

"I'm sorry you had to see that."

"Uh, I've seen crying before. You aren't any special, you know."

"No, I mean, sorry for the outburst. It just...it still hurts to remember..." Jaden closed his eyes tight, and Rochelle put a hand on his shoulder, less awkwardly.

"No problem. I understand. You probably just remembered that you'd never see them again." Rochelle saw the look on Jaden's face and added, "Sorry. I'm a little apathetic, aren't I?"

"How do you understand?"

"My mother died a while back." Rochelle said casually. "I was heartbroken."

"Sorry to hear that."

"Me too. Oh, and sorry about your sister."

"...so did you just come to interrogate me about Erik?"

"Nope. Just wanted to see if you were really Jaden. Are you ok?"

"...yeah. Want a ride home?"

"If you don't mind." Rochelle shrugged, and Jaden drove her back to her apartment.

"See you, Rochelle." He smiled, and waved. Rochelle waved back as he drove away.

So close, yet so far.

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