It sucked. That was the only description Kyle could allow for the school year so far. He had known the last two years of school wouldn’t be easy; he’d heard about the exhausting lessons, the tons and tons of homework. But no one had prepared him for his mother. Sheila Broflovski was out to kill him, he was sure. She took his phone until he was done with his homework, she allowed him to watch TV for only one hour per day, she made him study for 3 hours every evening, and she didn't allow him to be out after seven in the evening. When he wasn't home on time she blew up Kyle's phone with calls and texts. Sometimes Kyle tried to rebel and ignored it, but that only led to Sheila tracking his phone and picking him up personally. Which happened once at a small party at Bebe's. It'd been a friday evening, and he thought he actually deserved a little break and fun at the end of the week. But, oh, had he been wrong. His mother had been slaughtering the doorbell, screaming furiously at him to get into the car. It had been one of the most embarrassing moments in his life.
Most people in school found it funny, not having experienced an overprotective parent themselves, and laughed at the poor redhead. He tried not to feel bitter about it, even when it was Kenny who laughed. He knew his friend didn't mean to make him feel shitty.
He did have friends who understood, though. Stan, of course. His best friend always knew how stressed he was because of school work and his mother. Wendy and Token, who had similar problems at home trying to meet their parents' expectations. Craig, who – after dating Tweek Tweak for 4 years – recognized a nervous wreck in 0.3 seconds. And, surprisingly enough, Eric Cartman, who didn't really get his feelings, but hated Sheila with a passion. They usually spend their free time together, studying, playing games, or just drinking coffee and talking about everything and nothing. Most of the time Wendy and Eric, or Kyle and Eric got into a fight and the others tried to calm them down for the rest of the afternoon. It wasn't too bad, though. They didn't get into physical fights anymore. Except when Eric implied that Wendy was on her period for some reason. That was never a good idea. But otherwise they got along very well.
It was only the middle of October but with the strict schedule of his mom, Kyle already felt burnt out. Too much school work, not enough free time to compensate it. It wasn't healthy, and he had tried to tell his mother on several occasions, but she didn't want to hear it, always sending him back to his room to study until late at night. So when friday morning came, Kyle hadn't slept in a week, he was weak, he was awake, and nearly passed out when he reached the lockers.
“ Wow, dude, you look horrible.”
“ A good morning to you, too, Stan”, Kyle replied to the comment of his best friend and tried to remember which books he needed for first period.
“ His mom probably forced him to memorize his history textbook”, another voice suggested with a giggle. Kyle looked up to see Kenny smiling at him. Right, history, the redhead remembered and took the book, putting it into his backpack. He greeted Wendy when she arrived to go to her first class with Stan, and then turned to find his own classroom. He had never longed for a coffee more in his life. As he entered the room in his half-asleep state he tripped over his own feet and would have fallen if it weren't for a hand grabbing him by the neck of his sweater.
“ Woah woah, you tryin' to get a role in the next season of Walking Dead? I don't think they hire Jew-zombies.”
He should have retorted something. About the other's weight. Anything. But he was way too tired to think of some smart remark, so he just groaned and made his way to his seat. Cartman sat down right next to him.
“ Okay, you must be really fucking out of it”, he stated before pulling out a notebook and a pen. From experience Kyle knew the other wasn't actually going to use it for taking notes, but doodling throughout the lesson.
That was exactly what he did, while Kyle tried hard to stay awake and listen to the teacher. As he was abut to doze off, a folded piece of paper appeared in front of his face. He blinked a few times before unfolding it to read.
R U coming to the hippie's party?
Right. Stan's birthday was coming up, he would turn 16 on sunday. Naturally, his best friend wouldn't miss it.
Of course. You?
Dunno. Heard there's food tho
Kyle rolled his eyes.
It was sunday evening and Kyle was putting on his jacket. He had put on a pair of jeans and his favorite hoodie, Stan's present right next to him in a bag. He was already on his way to the door, when a voice stopped him.
“ Where do you think you're going, young man?”
Kyle turned around and looked at his mother, a little confused. “Stan's birthday party?”
“ Oh no, you have a test tomorrow.”
“ Yes, but I studied for it the past 4 days!”
“ Well, that won't help you when you get yourself drunk or full of drugs.”
“ What?! Mom, when have I ever done something like that?”
“ Never, and that's the way I'd like to keep it”, he said, and it sounded final, but Kyle couldn't just give up. It was his friends' birthday after all.
“ Mom, please, Stan is my best friend, he counts on me.”
Now Sheila crossed her arms in front of her, and Kyle knew it meant she was losing her patience. What was her problem? Why wouldn't she let him go? The test wasn't even this important and he had been studying for it for days.
“ I said no, Kyle.”
“ Mom, please, just an hour!”
“ No! You are not going! You are having a test tomorrow and you are going to study for it today to be prepared.”
“ But...”, he tried to start, but his mother was already walking into the kitchen.
Kyle threw his jacket on the floor and ran upstairs, locking himself into his room, and trying not to let the tears of anger spill.
On monday after school their little gang sat together in Cartman's basement in silence. Silence meaning they didn't talk, because Eric was busy devouring a bag of potato chips rather noisily. Otherwise, it was quiet and the atmosphere was down.
Everyone felt bad for their friend, and even though Stan told him it wasn't his fault and that he wasn't mad, Kyle still beat himself up for not coming to his best friends' birthday party.
“ That's why I call your mom a bitch.”
“Shut up, Eric”, Token said, throwing a small pillow at his chubby friend.
Eric caught it and threw it right back.
“ He's not wrong though”, Craig supplied, flipping Token off when he sent him a small glare for being unhelpful.
Wendy, as so often being the voice of reason, decided to speak up before anybody got emotionally riled up. She was honestly too tired to keep up with a turmoil right now.
“ Guys, I know this is a shitty situation, but it won't help if we keep insulting other people.”
Cartman was opening his mouth, ready to argue with that statement, but Kyle spoke up.
“ You are right, Wendy. Insulting her won't get me anywhere.”
“ Glad you think the same.”
“ I need to really get back at her for this.”
“ What?!”, Wendy exclaimed, completely thrown for a loop. This was not like Kyle.
“ She needs to realize that what she did was wrong and that her stupid schedule is wrong and that she can't treat me like a little kid!”
Now everyone in the room was all ears. This was special. Not that they hadn't seen Kyle seeking revenge before, but never on his friends or family. None of them knew how much pain and stress Kyle felt. The weeks and weeks of work, studying, strictness, more work, sleep loss, and even more work had been building an emotional breakdown, and his mother not allowing him to go to his best friends' party was the last straw. He was going to do something about this.
The only problem was he didn't really have a concrete idea how.
“ So what do you wanna do?”, asked Craig. “Burn the house down?”
Kyle shook his head. He did want to be crass but he didn't want to end up homeless. So he let his gaze wander around the room, looking at everybody, silently asking if they had any ideas.
Token suggested to run away, but Kyle didn't even know where to, didn't know a place to hide. Or at least a place nobody would directly come looking for. After 16 years of living together, and Kyle not being the secretive type, his parents knew his favorite places and even some hide-outs. That idea was doomed.
Stan proposed to fail a test. Or a lot of tests. But that would only make Sheila set new rules. Probably even stricter ones. He knew his mother. She would be all over the fact that she'd been right all along and cut his TV time and confiscate his phone probably. This would not do.
Token told him not to talk to her anymore, but Wendy countered that she probably wouldn't even notice. And sadly, she was right. Sheila was so busy with her life, even now she mostly just talked to her son about school or college. The thought saddened him
Suddenly, Craig sat up straight in his bean bag. “How about you come out?”
Kyle's eyes grew big, just as his friends' did.
“ That is perfect, his mom will freak!”, Stan contributed with a big grin. He wasn't happy that Kyle's parents weren't really accepting of homosexuality, but in this case, it might actually be helpful.
“ Guys,... I don't know. This is a very sensitive topic, should I really...”
“ THAT'S IT!!”, Wendy suddenly screamed, interrupting Kyle's sentence and everybody's steady heart frequency.
“ Jesus, Testaburger, calm your tits!”
“ Shut up, Eric, and listen. Kyle, isn't your grandma's 80 th birthday being celebrated at your house this weekend?”
“ Uhm, yes. Most of my family is going to visit and take part. Why?”
Wendy started grinning, almost manically, and everyone in the room felt the hairs at the back of their necks stand up.
“ Perfect! Not only are you going to shock your mother by coming out in front of your whole family, but you will shock your mother by coming out in front of your whole family and bring your boyfriend. Eric Cartman!”
Kyle looked like he would faint for a few seconds, while everyone else in the room scolded and congratulated Wendy on her evil side.
“ Hell, no”, Kyle managed to get out after he finally remembered how to breathe.
“ Hell, yes!”, Cartman interjected and crawled closer. “Testaburger, I must say, I underestimated you.”
“Thank you. Look Kyle, this is perfect! Your mother will get a double shock plus the humiliation of her whole family being there!”
“ Why, thank you for calling my homosexuality humiliating”, Kyle commented with a sour face, putting his chin on his knees.
“ Come on, honey, you know I didn't mean it that way. I'm just saying this works in your favor right now. Trust me, if your mom thinks Eric is your closest social connection she will give you all the free time you want.”
“ She's right”, Token said with a shrug.
Kyle thought about it. This was a crazy idea. Coming out in front of most of his family members and introducing Eric as his boyfriend? His mom would probably get a heart attack.
His dad would chop his head off. He would have to act like a couple with Cartman. A couple that's in love. Holding hands. Cuddling. Kissing. The thought made him shudder.
And that was when he realized how perfect Wendy's idea was.
“ Okay, I'm down.”
“ Yes!”, Wendy and Cartman shouted simultaneously, the rest started to grin.
“ Well, sweetheart , let's form a story about how we got together and fell madly in love!”
Kyle raised an eyebrow. “Will that really be necessary?”
“ Maybe not, but we better be prepared just in case, darling .”
This was going to be disastrous.
And very funny.