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one for the road

Chapter One

June 10 2006

If I would have known that it was him along side of the road, then I probably would not have stopped. Damn my helpful side. When I saw that car along side of the road, hazards flashing, I knew I had seen the silver Cutlass somewhere before but I could not place it. I pulled up behind the car and got out. A voice came from inside the car asking me if I had a mobile phone on me. Within seconds the figure emerged from the car and to my horror I recognized the man instantly. I knew him well, at least my fantasies did. His name was Jason and he was one of the objects of my fantasies. As one of the top jocks at our school, I have thought about him frequently. His blue eyes and dusty brown hair perched on a face more beautiful than any model I have ever seen. Yes, it was the classic lust of a gay nerd over a jock. I knew it and I accepted the fact that it could never be.
"Oh hey Kyle, how you doin?" He asked catching me off guard. I muttered an 'alright' before Jason followed up with, "do you think you can call a tow truck for me? My mobile's dead."
I fought past the visions in my head and fumbled in my pockets for my out dated cell phone. Locating it in the front left pocket of my jean shorts and my wallet in my right, I used the AAA card I had gotten when my mom signed me up for my 16th birthday and called the service number. The call took no more than a few minutes and afterwards a tow truck was dispatched to our location. While waiting for the truck to come, Jason took a seat in his Cutlass and beckoned me to join him in the passenger side. Like a lamb to what my instincts told me was the slaughter, I accepted his invitation and took a seat on the passenger side. He turned the car on and the speakers boomed Dave Matthew's Band's Crush. Jason turned down the volume so we could talk. "Hey man I want to thank you for stopping. My breaks went out so I had to e-break off to the shoulder."
"No problem," I said to the forbidden apple of my eye.
Silence enveloped us for the remainder of the time until the truck came. When it rolled to a stop in front of Jason's car the two of us got out. "Is this the car?" The older looking tow truck driver said. Jason answered and the truck driver worked silently hooking up Jason's car.
"So how much do I owe you?" Jason asked when the mechanic was finished.
"Nothing. Your friend here is an AAA member, he gets free tows," the mechanic said nonchalantly. The mechanic got into his truck and sped off leaving Jason and I alone.
"Hey Kyle, I got another question for ya. Do you think I can get a ride home from ya?" I nodded my head in agreement. Jason followed me to my ugly white '91 Delta 88.
On the way back to his house we struck up a longer conversation. We talked about his sports and about what we do for fun. His consisted of hanging out with friends, sports, and a medley of things, and all I had was writing and my daily four-mile jog. When Jason asked who I was going out with, I let out a nervous chuckle and told him nobody. This surprised him apparently. I shrugged it off and when he asked me whom I liked I tried doing the same thing but he was persistent. "Come on, there has to be someone you like," he tempted.
Without thinking I said, "well, there is this guy…" Damn. Dirty son of a bitch god damn it fuckin a Barbara Strisen.
"Thought so…" whispered Jason. I stole a glance over at his face, which would probably be the last time I would ever see it, but instead of pure anger like what most teenage jocks would have, Jason had a sly smile on his face. "I thought that was the case," he repeated.
"Listen, Jason," I begged, "please don't tell anyone at school I-"
"Kyle, calm down, I'm not going to tell anyone. I just thought you were, well, I could see it in your eyes at school. Anyway, I'm sorry but I'm taken and I don’t think my boyfriend would like it if there was another guy," he smirked.
Hopes completely shattered, I drove up Jason's driveway a broken man. He thanked me again and then walked up to his house. I found my way back to the main road and back to my house with my thoughts blasting away in my head. Wait a minute, his boyfriend?

Friday night turned into Saturday, then Sunday, then Monday, and soon Friday rolled in. What Jason had said about his boyfriend was blasted from my mind because I had worked the past few nights so I didn't have much time for a lot of other things. Friday was my last day before my glorious day off for the weekend. Unfortunately, my big plans of sleeping in before work were shattered along with the beautiful dream I was having when the phone rang. Blindly I stumbled around my room looking for the phone. Success came and I answered it before the machine came on. I mumbled a sleepy hello and was surprised when the voice on the other side asked for me. I told it that it was I and almost dropped the phone when the voice on the other side identified itself as Jason. He invited me to join him and 'a few others' to a club tomorrow night. Before I knew what I was doing I agreed and he told me to be at his house by eight pm as he said 'dressed to kill'. We said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone, still unable to apprehend what I had done. Jason had a boyfriend, and now he's inviting me out to go clubbing with him. His boyfriend is going to be mad and if this guy was able to capture Jason's heart then I don’t think I want to mess with him. What did Jason have up his sleeve?
That night at work I could not focus on my task. Thankfully I was not at the cash register tonight; I was put on janitorial work. Sweeping, moping, retrieving carts from the parking lot, that sort of stuff. Tonight I was my own boss so I could pretty much do what I wanted if it dealt with cleaning up the store. Jason was running through my head, disrupting my concentration right when I started to focus. Eleven o'clock seemed to be so far away and then 10:30 appeared on the clock. The next half an hour flew by faster than the drive home. When I got home my father was in his usual spot in front of the television on his padded armchair. Whenever he gets home from work he sits with his beer and doesn't move until late at night. I remember looking one time and seeing an ass groove in his chair. I sneaked past my father and slipped into my room. I shed my clothes down to my blue boxer briefs and crawled under the covers. Sleep drew me into its warm grip and I disappeared from the world of the conscious.
I slept in on Saturday until late in the morning. The clock was flashing noon when I finally got up and out of bed. My body took its time waking up but when it did I was ready for my run. I took my normal four-mile course around my neighborhood. The soreness in my muscles kept me from thinking too much in depth about tonight. Unfortunately, before I knew it my run was over and I was at the foot of my driveway.
After a shower I laid back and relaxed for the day. I did not want to tire myself out for whatever Jason had planned. The clock chimed seven and signaled me to get off my ass and get ready for Jason. After a quick search for my favorite clothes I had my outfit put together: my lucky purple FTL boxer-briefs, a FTL white undershirt, my favorite khaki pants, and my green lacrosse t-shirt that matched my emerald eyes. After consuming the synthetic pizza rolls I had for supper it was seven thirty so I headed to Jason's house. I could not have timed my arrival better. The second my watch started beeping eight I was at the foot of his driveway. I parked along side of the street incase his parents came home while we were out so I was not blocking their way. Jason met me at the door in khaki shorts, a baby blue shirt that magnified his azul sapphires, and one of those plastic seashell necklaces that almost every hot jock I see seems to wear. Damn he looked good. Real good. He beckoned me to where his fixed Cutlass Sierra stood parked in the driveway. "Let’s take the Silver Bullet tonight," he told me while getting into the driver's seat.
"Wow," I said half mocking, half serious, "you actually named your car? I thought I was the only one nerdy enough to do that."
"Look at this beast. Silver Bullet seems to fit it perfectly," he explained with out looking at me.
"Well, I'm looking at a beast, but he's not silver." Jason glared at me with his eyes but also had his lips curled into a faint smile. "Anyway," I continued, "it's a lot better than my car's name."
"And what would that be?" Jason beckoned.
"What would you call the giant white delta 88 that I drive?" I asked him.
The faint grin turned into a full-fledged smile displaying to me his beautiful pearly whites. "How about the White Wagon, or the Wonderwheel, or the SuperStud 23?"
I raised a solemn eyebrow at the fantastically weird and far out names he obviously created on the spot. "Wonderwheel? Superstud 23? Where did you come up with those names?" I paused a second to re-gather and redirect my thoughts so I could focus them back at Jason. "No, no, that 'Wonderwheel' over there is known as the mighty White Weasel." Jason let out a mocking sound of impression. The conversation died when Jason started up the car. The setting sun to our left, Jason and I drove through town to the highway and temporarily out of civilization for a few minutes. Soon the barren countryside turned into steadily the normal suburban habitat and soon after into another city.
When Jason had said we were going to a club, I had assumed it would be one of the clubs downtown. Jason read at least part of the confused look on my face and said out of nowhere, "have you ever been to Club Level? It's one of the biggest clubs in South Point."
This still did not answer my question. The reason for driving over half an hour to a club in another city when there are a few clubs minutes away from my own house. "Um…Jason, these friends of yours live in Grand Ledge right? Well then, why are we going all the way to South Point when we could have met them in one of the clubs downtown?" During the moment's pause the answer backhanded me across the face. "Wow…Never mind; stupid question. So anyway, who are we meeting? All you said was 'some friends'."
"You'll see," he said. Feeling slightly rejected, I turned my attention back to the window and the scenery. Dusk turned itself into full-fledged night and the light spewing out from the streetlights and the neon signs of the clubs, restaurants, and bars of the street permitted passerby's a glimpse of the rest of the road. This street was much different than the quaint hospitable shops in downtown South Point. The edge of the street was dotted with cars making 24th street one of the more popular places to be tonight. The dull buzz of the bass coming out of the buildings along side the road signaled to us that Club Level was near. Jason pulled into the parking lot behind the club and the two of us, after passing ourselves off as a pair of twenty one year old college students looking for a good time, entered the club. Heavy techno music echoed from every corner of the room. Everybody on the dance floor was dancing with everybody else, be it male or female. My eyes flew from body to body, face to face taking in what I could of the building and the faces in the dim lighting. As Jason and I moved farther into the building, the crowd grew more dense and made moving together almost impossible. I was staying right behind him as much as possible but we got separated. I lost sight of Jason for a moment in the thick crowd. I scanned as far as I could see for a glimpse of where Jason had gone off to but I could not find a trace of him amongst the crowd. A thud against my chest brought me back to the situation at hand as I looked at what disturbed my vision's quest. A slender blond haired woman was pressed almost flat against me moving her body to the music. Her obviously drunk eyes screamed what would definitely be a score for almost any other college guy. But then again I was not in college and I was not exactly overjoyed to have her pressed up against me. There were plenty of choice guys in the room that I would rather be grinding up against.
A grip of my wrist and a sharp jerk away from the dancing ninny led my body away from the dance floor where I was finally able to see the person who saved me from the blond. Jason had found me and was leading me away from the dense crowd to some tables away from the action. I could not make out what he was yelling over the loud music, but by the look on his face I could tell that it was a sarcastic comment. Jason had led me to a staircase leading to a deck outside of the club overlooking a park. The owner of the club must have had the deck built as a more romantic place for people to get to know each other after meeting on the dance floor. The two of us moved from the main level to the deck. The second the door shut the music died down tenfold allowing for a pleasant conversation. I looked up at Jason and saw he was wearing a rather sly smile. He led me over to where two rather good-looking guys were talking. He cleared his voice and the pair stopped talking and glared at Jason. It was then that I saw just how beautiful they were. The one on my right had deep gray eyes with sandy blond hair and was wearing a ruby shirt that magnified his eyes. The one on my left had shockingly brown eyes and a brown mop top that ran untidily over his head. A light dusting of dark facial hair conjured up an image of the Marlboro man sans cowboy hat. "Kyle, this is my boyfriend Adam," he pointed to the Marlboro man, "and this is his friend Josh," Jason pointed to the one on my right.
"Hey," they both said to me.
"Adam, Josh, this is my friend Kyle, he is the one I told you about Adam," Jason added.
Adam turned his deep brown eyes and locked them with mine. "So you’re the hopelessly adorable guy who has his eyes on my man? Well back off, he's mine," spat Adam. The three of them started cracking up with laughter. "Man, you should see your face. It's as white as a sheet," I let the breath that was stuck in my lungs escape through my gaping mouth. "I was joking Kyle. It's a pleasure to meet you," he continued truthfully and after a moment's pause added, "and I see you have good taste."
Jason's cheeks turned an instant scarlet causing him to turn away. "Anyway, it's a pleasure to meet you two," I said bypassing Jason's apparent acting.
Josh got up to shake my hand and said rather loudly, "the pleasure is, or will be, all mine." As hard as I tried not to blush, I pulled a Jason and turned a deep ruby. "We're here for a reason aren’t we?" Said Josh as the party came back to reality, "let’s go hit the dance floor." Jason followed Adam back inside while Josh snagged my tentative hand and said, "May I have this dance?" As if he was asking me to join him in a waltz. I nodded my head in agreement as this stud led me down to the dance floor.
Josh and I moved into the thicket of the masses where we were pressed up against each other. I could feel his hard muscles through the thin material of his shirt as he and I both swayed to the music. The fast tempo of the music and my being rhythmically glued to Josh was doing wonders to my sex drives as my sleeping monster slowly awoke between the two of us. The song died away and for a moment there was a brief peace, but then the speakers blared ‘I fell in your arms, you held me so close, we lived in a dream, I adored you…' and the room lit up with cheers and energy from the sweaty couples, male and female.
Josh and I picked up our pace to match that of the song. We were grinding our bodies to the tempo of the song but all too soon it ended. Another cheer came from the crowd. I took this time to tell Josh that I was tired and I was going to go sit at the table outside. Grabbing a firm grip of Josh's hand, I led him through the crowd to the majestic door perched on top of the staircase. As close as we were to the staircase, it might as well have been a mile away. The thicket of bodies swaying to the next song prevented us from moving forward at a good rate. Every time I maneuvered around someone or dodged a wanting dance partner, someone else was right in front of me grinding against my already swollen crotch. It was only when I pulled Josh around the next bend that most of them lost interest in me; all except for the blonde from before. Her eyes were still glazed over from the first time I saw here and when she spotted me again right next to her, she predictably ground her breasts into my chest. She shocked me though when I felt one of her hands slide down my chest and abs and run over my hormonally driven cock where it lingered for a little too long. When Josh emerged from the wall of bodies behind me I thought that our joined hands would be enough to convince her otherwise but from her actions I guess it was not. When Josh moved around the wall of people Chesty Laroo stayed on me but positioned herself on Josh as well. She was moving back and forth between us, making her wishes obvious. Josh looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders. Either way I moved she stayed fixed upon my groin. After a few seconds of Busty McBoobs flaunting herself against Josh and myself, I had an idea. I circled around towards Josh and pushed her away from us. When she looked up I kissed Josh on the lips and looked at her scornfully. Chesty hiccupped and the harpy stumbled away looking rosy.
Josh and I danced and dodged around the room searching for the stairs. The trip up the steep staircase seemed easy compared to the search. Josh all too gleefully flung the door open and the cool night air blasted against my sweat-drenched shirt. The two of us found our table and I collapsed into my chair. The air that was cooling before was now cold and a chill was running through me. The wet shirt that I was wearing was now becoming more and more of a bad mistake. My body started shaking as the late night air continued to cool me off. Josh must have noticed this because he came around behind me and wrapped his arms around me. His body heat helped to warm me up, but what really did the trick was the incredible warmth I felt inside. Being in the strong arms of this, this, Adonis made me feel safe and secure. "You're hot," he whispered in my ear.
"Look who's talking my stud," I replied.
I turned my head to look at his beautiful face but instead of the beautiful boyish face I came across a look of concern and worry. "No I'm serious. You're burning up. I think you might be coming down with a cold," he told me.
"Aw, look at them. They just met and yet they are so deeply in love." If I didn't know that that was Adam I would have been really pissed. But since it was I said nothing as they made their way over to the table. "Man it be cold out here. Anyway, me and Jason are taking off. I, um, suppose you two will be going home together?"
"Yeah, I'll go and drop Kyle off at home. He's feeling a little under the weather," said Josh as he rubbed my shoulders.
"Aw man that sucks. Well I hope you get better Kyle. I'll give you a call tomorrow to see how you are doing," said Jason. Adam gave an agreeing nod. The two of them left the slowly emptying club in Jason's Silver Bullet. Josh and I on the other hand snaked our way through the club to the parking lot to a rather nice black '01 Civic. When we reached the car Josh went to the back seat and grabbed a white hooded sweatshirt. He tossed it over to me and soon I had two lacrosse sticks adorned across my chest. The drive back to Grand Ledge went by peacefully. When we got back I told Josh to drop me off at Jason's house so I could get my car. Without a word of directions Josh pulled up to the empty driveway of my house. A huge smile ran across my face as I thought about where Jason was and who he was with. I did not know who to be happy for, Jason or Adam, both are good looking studs and both are probably in the arms of a hot stud. If it were not for this cold then maybe I could be sharing the same fate with the stud following me home.
I was half asleep by the time we arrived at my house. I told Josh that my car was still at Jason's house and my parents were home so he would have to park down the street and we would sneak in so that my parents would not know that we were home. Not having a reason to sneak in or out of my house, I really had no idea of the art of stealth. I knew that my parents probably thought I was going to spend the night at Jason's house. This meant that the front and probably the back doors would be locked. My room was upstairs which would mean a climb if a door would not open. After all of my choices were exhausted, I was left to my upstairs window. Josh gave me a boost up to the roof above my garage. I had left my window half-open to catch the warm spring breeze. All I had to do was disconnect the screen from the window and slip into my room. I was use to sneaking down into the kitchen at night, so I had no problem letting Josh into the house. The room next to mine was generally used as a storage room or a spare bedroom for company. Josh chose this room to stay in on account of my illness; otherwise we would be doubled up in my bed. We exchanged a goodnight and the two of us trailed off into our rooms.
I slept hard and did not wake up until my internal alarm told me it was time to drain the snake. After I answered nature's call I stumbled downstairs to see if it was Josh watching television. To my surprise it was not just Josh there, but Jason and Adam. It took me a second to register who was in the room and ogling me in nothing but my pair of boxer briefs. When it finally did click I was not too embarrassed. To have these three studs trace my body with their eyes was definitely a compliment. I was flattered to see that each one's eyes strayed to my tightly covered groin for obvious moments.
After the sleepy haze faded I plopped myself down in a chair. "So to what do I owe the honor? Or is this just a social visit?" I murmured.
"We came to drop off you car and see how you are doing," Jason said.
Wow, friends are great. Three weeks ago that never would have happened. "I, I'm fine thanks; a little hungry though. How does breakfast sound to everyone?" Adam, Jason, and Josh let out murmurs of agreement. "Well, I'll just go upstairs and change then. Be right back."
"Or you could just go like that. I think I speak for all of us when I say that that, or maybe less would be fine," shot Josh. I gave him a huge smile and his dismay got up to change upstairs. I was not gone but a minute when I returned fully dressed in a pair of shorts and a Warrior Lacrosse t-shirt. The four of us took Jason's car to a more rural part of town on the outskirts. This was home to suburbs galore and the family businesses. I have not been out this way much seeing as I really have no reason so I was kind of lost.
The dinner said 'Remember When' on it. It was a small café that I had never been to let alone heard of before. Being a Sunday morning, the few parking spaces next to the restaurant were all filled and half of the tables out in front of the restaurant were filled with people enjoying the warm morning sun. Inside the café the first thing that assaults the eyes are all of the 50's memorabilia scattered all over the walls. Everything from signed photos of the Three Stooges to little Shirley Temple to I Dream of Genie dotted the walls in random order. It was obvious that the owners of the little restaurant did not choose this theme solely for the mystique of it. These people had to be old school television fanatics, and from the look of the place, it was fairly popular. The room was not overly crowded, but seating was quite a thing to come by.
"Well if it isn't my favorite pair of reckless teenagers!" Came a booming voice from behind the counter. A man in what had to be his late twenties or early thirties was working behind the cash register. "It's good to see you. You want your usual table guys?" The man asked.
"Actually Drew," Adam said, "we're not here alone. Two of our friends will be joining us for breakfast this morning."
Drew looked at Josh and me and his face curled into a smile. "So this is a double date then? Well then, over to this corner here," he said to us as he showed us to our table. "I'll be back shortly with some menus for you guys."
After Drew walked back to the cash register Adam said what was on everybody's mind, "damn, Drew looks better than ever," which in fact he did. This guy was HOT. He had arms that rivaled those of a Greek god and everything I could see on him was chiseled. This guy has to work out every day but amazingly that's not what made him so appealing to me. He had about him an aura of good feeling, a hint of a gentle soul surrounded by a good looking and muscular shell with blonde highlights. But if Drew was a ten, then the guy behind the counter was a close second. He was slimmer, more trim than Drew but the definition was an obvious swimmer's build. His dark brown hair was matted down in a just-under-control fashion that took his chiseled face and magnified it. Looking at the pair I felt a twinge of jealousy. Their wives were probably some of the luckiest women on earth to have guys like that.
I spent so much time eyeballing the guy behind the counter that I was oblivious to Drew until someone at our table cleared their throat. I looked up in a dazed stupor until I realized that Drew was handing me a menu. Drew accepted my mumbled apology and took my order of some eggs, toast, and a glass of orange juice. Relatively similar orders were taken from the others and Drew gave them to the guy at the griddle. Drew came back to the table and pulled up a chair. "So tell me, who are these two studs you're with? Are they friends of yours or are they friends also?" He inquired.
Without even thinking about it Jason blurts out, "they're together."
A look of disgust flooded my face. How could Jason just betray our trust and tell Josh and my secret to a complete stranger? But now that the secret was out there is nothing I can do about it. "And what a fine couple they are," came Drew's voice. "They remind me of Lee and myself, both of us were so far in the closet we were finding Christmas presents. Wow, that was so long ago. We've been together for fourteen years now and I love every minute of it."
Wow, that figures. I should have guessed. A beautiful guy like Drew working with another stud and also knowing about Jason and Adam as a couple. Why else would Drew know and be so great about it? He was gay too, but it was not be who interjected. Josh almost screamed at Jason when Jason told Drew about us. If only Josh knew how to cool and calm himself like I do. Living with my oh so oblivious parents is one of the reasons I did not explode on Jason like what Josh is about to do. But it never came. I could have sworn that Josh would just blow up on Jason for outing us. That's what I have learned from him in the past few days of knowing him. He was pretty bold and outgoing, but when it came to his sexuality he was so far in the closet that he was hanging out with the spooky monsters.
But it never came. Josh didn't even bat an eye at Jason. "I'm glad to see new members of the gay community coming together and being so happy," Drew finished.
"I accept the fact that I'm gay, no problem there," I said tentatively, "but I just don’t feel right. Something feels off, out of place." I looked around the group to see their reaction to my statement. I'm sure that they all probably felt that way and I was rewarded to see Josh and Adam nod their heads.
"Yeah, that's just the feeling of our lives slipping away into oblivion," Josh said. My nervous laugh was joined by Josh and Adam's.
"No, no," said Drew. "What feels missing is just your need for acceptance by your peers." Drew held up his hand to silence what would have been an interruption from me. "I know you don't feel like it now, but you crave everything that a normal human craves. Along with the basic physical needs, you have the same emotional needs as everyone else. The need to be loved, the need to be happy, content, accepted. Each of those feelings each person has and even though you accept each other, you still need to feel accepted by more than this studly little group. What all of you crave is to be accepted by your classmates, your teammates, your parents. Everybody feels that way. Even Lee and I felt that way back when we still lived in Australia. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I still avoid talking to my father after the bullshit he put me through back in my last year of school." At that point Drew put a hand on his left shoulder and his eyes narrowed a little bit. There was a story there, but now was not the time for it.
We were all silent for a moment until a voice said, "but that was a long time ago and it is a long ways behind us. Now we are who we want to be and I for one couldn't be happier." I turned around to see Lee standing behind me holding our food. Lee handed everyone their plate and when he was done he lent in and gave Drew a peck on the cheek.
The silence surrounding the table was dreadful. It was obvious that Drew was mad about something but nobody wanted to ask what, and yet to leave the silence stand was awkward but for the most part nobody could think of a topic to change to. Thankfully Josh came to the rescue. "So tell me, why did you pick this theme for your restaurant?" Josh asked.
Lee's eyes screamed thank you and Drew's eyes lit up. "Well," he said in a much lighter tone of voice, "Lee has always been in love with old television shows, you know stuff like the Three Stooges, and he's always been a wiz in the kitchen and we had dreams of opening our own restaurant and so we thought that a 50's memorabilia diner was a great idea so we moved here from Australia and started up what is now the 'Remember When' café. That was six years ago."
"Adam and I have been coming here for about a year now since we first found it after the first day we met," Jason said.
"Yeah, I remember that," said Drew. "You two were both so desperately upset and when you two saw each other standing on other ends of the room from each other I knew that you two were in love even if you didn't know it."
"Anyway, after a party one night, I still cannot remember what happened at the party, but when I woke in an unfamiliar bed almost totally naked and wrapped in Adam's arms, I freaked out. I jumped out of bed, which was hard because of my hangover, and quickly got dressed. I remember Adam you tried to stop me to talk to me but I took off. I couldn't let anybody at school who was there that morning know that I was in a bed in another guy's arms so I took off." Jason gave a slight laugh, took a deep breath, and continued, "The funny thing is that I had never thought that I was gay or anything so I had a lot to think about. I drove and drove around in circles until my stomach got enough into my head to make me stop to get something to eat. I found this place and absentmindedly walked in and sat at the counter. When Adam walked through the door a few minutes after I did I know that I didn't say a thing but after you walked up to the counter I couldn't control my emotions. I think we both were crying when we met at the counter."
"You two were so cute, I'm just glad the place was empty so that nobody disturbed you,” Lee chimed in.
"Yeah, same here. Anyway, I cried my eyes out and when we sat down and talked and found out that you felt the same way about me and you didn't know what had happened the night before either, I realized that I loved you and I always would." Jason took a deep breath to finish his story.
I sat in awe at the intrepid love and beauty of the story. Jason and Adam’s love was just like a story; boy meets boy and they find rue love. But if that’s the way true love is found, then what is it that I have? Nothing like that happened with. I just met Josh and kinda fell into the whole thing. We keep telling each other that we love one another, but now that I think about it, do I really love him? I know that I’m attracted to him but I don’t think that I am right for him. I’m never right for anybody.
Josh checked his watch and cursed under his breath. “Hey guys, sorry but I gotta go. I’m supposed to be home at 1 so I can watch my little sister.”
“Yeah, I probably should be getting home too,” I added. I still had some homework to do plus I really need to clear my head and get things strait between Josh and myself. The four of us said good bye to Drew and Lee and I made a mental note to eat there more often. Josh and I held hands in the back seat of Jason’s car the whole way home. When we reached my house Josh gave me a quick kiss goodbye before he got into his car and drove off. I watched him drive until he finally turned out of site. I had a deep feeling of loneliness in my stomach. I had gotten to know this feeling very well over the past few years but when I met Josh was the first time since I recognized the problem it had gone away. Except that now that he was gone I felt more alone than I ever did.
I walked back into my house to find my mom reading the newspaper in the living room. She looked up from the top of the paper and greeted me as I walked by. “I don’t remember seeing those boys before. Who were they,” she asked blindsiding me.
“Oh, they were just some friends of mine,” I replied.
“Well they seem like a nice bunch of kids. You should have them over more often.”
Wow, she was way too happy that I had some friends over. I guess that’s what I get for being a loner. I climbed the stairs up to my bedroom. Josh was still fresh in my mind. I know that he has feelings for me, feelings that I cannot properly return. I knew that I was not a particularly moody person, but I usually acted on my feelings and knowing that I’m not able to give him the love he desires is killing me. Is this just how I feel about Josh, or will I feel this way with everyone? I fell asleep on my bed with these thoughts haunting my unconscious mind.
My dreams were filled with faceless shapes standing over me, dissecting my innermost thoughts. These faceless people seemed to examine them, making me feel the hot passion or cold fury flow through my body, depending on the emotion. It wasn’t until the probing limbs reached my feelings about Josh did I finally end up identifying the people standing over me. One of their faces came into focus showing what was Josh’s beautiful smile shining brightly back at me, but now Josh was horrified at what he found in my thoughts. “No, Kyle, this can’t be… I thought you loved me…loved me…me…” he voice faded away into oblivion, waking me up from my nightmare; or was it a daymare seeing as it was only 6:47 when I woke up. Homework and my normal late-night routine of chatting on the internet entertained me as I ticked the hours away. Despite the long nap I took earlier today at 11:00 I started to feel drowsy and fell asleep again, only this time the nightmares were warded off and I succumbed to a dreamless sleep.
At first I thought that it was part of my dream, but as the clouds lifted from my mind I realized my alarm was screaming at me to get up from my wonderfully warm bed. I reluctantly obeyed my master and stepped onto the cold carpet. I followed my normal morning routine of getting dressed, breakfast, and the relishing the few moments I had before my dad woke up and I left. As soon as I heard his alarm for work I took off from the house to a nice little park not too far away. I spent most mornings collecting myself and just admiring the intrepid beauty of the heavily wooded park. As usual, the entire park was deserted save for the lady who jogs the trails every other morning. I still haven’t found out her name but we always say hello when we see each other.
Josh was still fresh on my mind this morning. That dream I had weighed heavily on my conscious mind and I really wanted to know what it means. Was I suppose to be with Josh or am I suppose to be with someone else or am I suppose to be alone forever? I watched a flock of sea gulls frolic and play as I pondered this question, and after some long minutes of deliberating my situation I concluded that whatever the outcome I should just wait and let things happen. The ancient wisdom of the trees which surrounded me were never wrong and they were telling me to be strong and wait things out. If it was meant to be then it would happen.
With the wisdom of the trees in my head I pushed on to school. I was still a little early for school so I decided to listen to some music in my car. There were a few other people in the parking lot and to me it looked like they were doing the same. Nothing was on the radio so I popped in one of my many mixes and listened to the ever true lyrics of Papa Roach’s song Scars. I had always had a special attraction to this song; so much of it I felt true about my own life. About half way through the song I looked out the window of my car to see Jason leaning into my car, his face just inches away from mine. He shocked the hell out of me and I let him know it. “Sorry,” he said, “I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“It’s no problem,” I told him.
Jason walked around the front of my car and joined me in the passenger seat. “So,” he said, “how about Josh? Cute guy huh?”
“Oh yeah, he is pretty hot,” I started, “but I don’t know if we’re right for one another.” Jason looked questioningly at me so I explained myself before he could ask. “He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, but I just feel like, like, I’m not right for him. I like him, but I don’t know if I could ever love him, or anyone for that matter. In my opinion, I just don’t think that I’m boyfriend material, I’m hardly friend material.” For some reason, these words stung me as much as they seemed to sting Jason.
The stern look on Jason’s face was chilling. Something had suddenly come over him, it was eerie. “Kyle, don’t say that.” Jason visibly eased. “I’m sorry for getting mad. Anyway, please don’t say that about your self. You’re a great guy and who knows, Josh just might grow on ya.” It was pointless to try to sway Jason. Even if we feel differently, I agree with my feelings.
School shot by as usual. I never have too much trouble with classes so I just pass the time doing sudokus and reading books. The day wasted itself away until my last hour of the day: sports education. Sports ed. is one of those classes you take just to get an A and help your GPA. Nobody tries in the class and nobody likes each other. To put it frankly, its sports at its worst, but I still love it. The physical activity is a great way to help myself unwind from the day and it really lets me think. Today in particular I really needed to think. A fresh view on my life as of now gave me a new thought. I couldn’t shake the thought that maybe I do want to be alone for the rest of my life. If nobody is close to me then nobody would be hurt by me. My only problem now is how to get everyone who is close enough to me away from me.
I felt something hit my face. It wasn’t too bad, but after it hit me it made my eyes blurry and for a few seconds I lost my vision. When I did get it back, the first thing I saw was Mario Mankin standing next to me. Mario was a beautiful Latino who had a quiet strength about him that I loved. Mario was standing next to me mouthing something. It took me a minute to realize that he was telling me about my face. I dabbed at my nose and felt a sickly warm ooze had started flowing. Instantly I knew it was blood. Pain erupted across my face. I started to loose my footing and slipped into Mario’s arms. Before I knew what was happening he led me up from the softball diamond and into the school. The athletic trainer was not in her room, but the door was unlocked and the supplies to stop a bloody nose were not exactly hard to come by. Mario handed me two cotton swabs and I shoved them up my nose to stem the bleeding. Next he told me to lay down on my back on the floor. I looked at him questioningly but he told me with a straight face to lay down. I did and he closed my legs and kicked me in the middle of my feet. Instantly I could feel the blood in my nose clot itself. Mario helped me up off the floor and onto one of the benches in the room. “Thanks Mar,” I told him, “it feels better already. But why did you kick me in the feet?”
“Oh, that’s a trick I’ve learned. I have low iron in my blood so I use to get bloody noses a lot, and a coach of mine taught me that if I have someone kick me in the feet while on my back the shock caused by the blow causes the blood to clot and it stops the flow.” I was impressed. Mar really knows what he’s talking about; and if I’m not mistaken, I think he’s pretty cute. “But what I really want to talk to you about,” Mar said turning to me, “is you.”
“Me?” I said in surprise. “Well, there’s not much about me. I’m just an average guy, not a whole lot going on.”
Mar looked at me in with accusing eyes. “To start things off, I know that you’re gay,” I winced in pain at this. How could he know? Who else knew? “And don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me, I would never tell anyone.”
“How did you find out?” I blurted out.
“Well, for one thing, I overheard what you and Jason were talking about this morning. I was in the car next to you; but before that I just had this feeling.” I started to sweat a bit and my knees felt weak. I could feel my stomach knot around myself as my heart sped up its pace. “Calm down Kyle, calm down, I don’t want you to have a panic attack here,” Mar said as he helped me sit down. “Anyway, to be more specific, I wanted to talk about us. I have had a crush on you for a few months. To be honest, thinking about you made me realize that I’m gay. I have been thinking over the past few weeks and now seemed to be the best time to talk to you about it. Only thing is that it seems that you already have someone, at least that’s what it sounded like this morning.”
It took a few moments for this to sink into my brain. I knew for a fact that Mar has had at least one girlfriend in his past. But what about this sudden change of heart? “I,” I began, “I don’t know what’s going on in my life anymore. Last week I was the loneliest guy in school all of a sudden I’m finding out that like everyone is gay and now all these guys want to be with me but I don’t know what I want to do.” Tears were starting to brim my eyes now. “Just when I was finally becoming happy being alone all these guys expect me to like them back –“
“It’s alright Kyle,” Mar interrupted, “I understand that you already have someone, I was just thinking that if things don’t work out then maybe, I don’t know…”
“I don’t know if I even like him. And besides, I’m not exactly the boyfriend type,” I replied.
Mar looked at me and asked, “why do you say that you’re not boyfriend material? From what I hear you’re the perfect guy for a boyfriend; cute, smart, sexy, you have it all.”
I looked at Mar and smiled meekly. “Mar, there’s a lot about me that you don’t know, things that would probably horrify you,” I told him, “and I don’t want to put anybody through any shit that still exists in my psyche.” But the look on his face I could tell that he wanted to know what kind of baggage I was carrying but I was no way in the mood to explain myself. Thankfully the ending bell rang and ended the interrogation. Mar joined me on the walk out to my car in the parking lot. The sharp line of questioning had ended and now we were just exchanging friendly banter but the damage was done. I now saw Mar in a new light through different eyes.
Jason was waiting for me at my car. When Mar and I reached my car Jason greeted me heartily but looked at Mar quizzically. “Ho Kyle, Mar. How are you boys doing today?”
“I’m alright now I think,” I told him.
“What do you mean ‘right now’? What happened?” Jason asked.
I looked around the parking lot to make sure nobody was in earshot. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened in fifth hour. I got lucky with Mar, but I won’t get that lucky again. But before I could answer Mar said, “listen, Jason, I know about you and Kyle. I overheard you two talking this morning.” Jason balled his hands into fists. His grip on his own hands was so tight I could see the veins in his powerful forearms bulge.
“Jason, don’t worry, Mar is cool with everything,” I said, trying to cool his emotions and break the uneasy silence.
“And besides,” Mar continued, “I’m just like you, so why can’t we be friends. It’s hard enough being gay in this school without anyone to talk to. But to be rejected from both sides is enough to make a person desperate.”
Jason stared at Mar for what felt like hours, but in actuality was only a matter of seconds. Finally Jason’s hard, weathered face broke into a smile. “Alright Mar, you’re in. The four of us were going to go out to eat after school today. You are invited if you want to join us,” Jason said. I look at Jason questioningly but he just winked at me. Mar agreed to join us. Mar and myself followed Jason to the unknown restaurant.
I had been to this restaurant many times before. The parking lot of Mr. You’s, a small restaurant chain within the greater Grand Ledge area, was dead this time of day. Jason, Mar, and I spotted Josh and Adam at a table outside the restaurant. We murmured a quick hello before we got in line for our food. After a few short minutes of waiting in line I had my rice bowl toped with sweet and sour chicken and the three of us took a seat at the table. I quickly sat next to Josh while Jason sat next to Adam, as expected. Mar decided to sit next to me, which was fine until he moved over enough so that he was sitting right next to me with almost the entirety of his leg firmly pressed up against my own.
“So who’s your new friend?” Adam asked Jason. “He can’t be another Lacrosse teammate, I don’t recognize his face. What about football?”
“Actually,” I said, “his name is Mario Mankin and he’s a…friend of mine. He had nothing going on after school so Jason decided to invite him along with myself which reminds me, why exactly are we here?”
Jason, Adam, and Josh looked at each other and then said in almost perfect unison, “happy early birthday Kyle!”
All I could do was blink my eyes. I haven’t celebrated my birthday since I was twelve. For the past six years it has mostly been only a small family get together. For them to know that it would be my birthday let alone celebrate it was pretty amazing. “How did you guys know it was my birthday?” I asked.
“When we were at your house on Sunday-“
“Before you woke up-“
“We were in your kitchen and saw it on the calendar by the door,” the medley said, “so we decided to take you out to lunch today.”
“Happy birthday hun,” Josh said before he leaned in close and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I could feel my face heat up to what felt like a million degrees as my face turned a deeper and deeper shade of red. A quick bump on my leg and then the sudden reduction of pressure told me that Mar was shifting in his chair. I passed my eyes over his clearly uncomfortable and what looked like somewhat hurt face and made eye contact for a brief second. When I was sure I had his eyes locked with mine I gave him a quick ‘I’m sorry’ smile.
The rest of lunch went real well. Mar became more and more a part of the group. At the end of the meal I went to go wash up in the bathroom. A few moments after I walked in the door swung open behind me and Josh stormed in. “What’s going on between you two Kyle,” Josh almost shouted at me.
“Nothing,” I protested. “Mar and I had a chat today, that’s it.”
“I saw the way he was looking at you out there and it looked like to me there was much more than that,” Josh spat. I walked over to him to try to consol him but when I got within a few feet of him he turned his back to me and said, “I thought we had something special. I thought we were friends. I thought you loved me.”
What could I say? The only thing he wanted to hear right now was that I did love him, but yet I don’t know if I do or not. We sat there for a few moments in complete silence. “Listen, Josh,” I told him, “the complete truth is, I’m not sure if I do love you or not. So much shit has happened to me in the past few weeks that I don’t know what is going on. But I can promise you this, there is nothing between Mar and myself right now.”
Bad move on my part. “RIGHT NOW!” He hissed with enough venom in his voice that it physically hurt. “I thought we were together. After everything that I did for you, everything that we did you’re telling me that you don’t even love me? Why would you do this to me?” Before I could say a word Josh stormed out of the bathroom.
My world shattered. The one person who I had any sort of feelings for that possibly could blossom had just walked out of the bathroom and quite possibly my life for ever.
A few moments later I emerged from the bathroom. I hid everything on my face as best I could when I reached the table. Josh was sitting down and not looking at me. I muttered something about having to take off and quickly made my way to my car. The moment I pulled out of the parking lot the walls of Kyle came crumbling down as tears leapt from my eyes. Everything Josh had said was right. He was the only person that could make me happy, the only thing in the world that made me happy, the one person I needed and I just threw him away by inviting Mar. Was I really that dumb, that blind not to know what kind of destruction I would invoke by inviting him when I knew that Josh loved me? I am a horrible person. I don’t deserve friends like them, I don’t deserve a boy friend like Josh. I knew I was wrong for him, but now it is clear that I am wrong for everyone. I must make sure that I never fall in love with anyone ever again just to make sure that I do not hurt them.
Through all of my mindless driving I had pulled up to Sanctuary Woods and into my normal parking spot. I walked out of my car and aimlessly through the woods. When I felt like I had walked enough I sat down. The burning sensation was back in my eyes so I let them cry themselves out silently. Even if I am never happy again, even if it kills me, I will make sure that I will never be with someone.
These thoughts were fresh in my mind the whole way home. When I got home I said a quick hi to my mom and made my way up to my room. I had no homework that I could loose myself in so I was stuck with these thoughts for the night. I decided to clear my mind by going for another run. I picked my pace up enough so that exhaustion fought Josh out of my mind. When I got home I showered and turned on the tv in my room. The television consumed my consciousness until sleep caught up with me. My clock was flashing midnight and my stomach was empty. In the kitchen I made myself a sandwich and ate it while watching television in the living room. My parents had gone to bed so I was free to channel surf, but the only thing on were either re-runs or old shows that nobody really liked any more so I left it on a random channel for background noise.
I had finished my sandwich and was heading back into the kitchen when a guy on a commercial caught my eye. “He’s hot,” I said out loud, “well almost as hot as Jason or Josh.” And there he was again. What he had said came flooding back through me shaking me. Tears formed under my eyes again but I wiped them away. The time for crying was over with. So why didn’t the urge or the feelings of hopelessness and loneliness follow them? Instead they hung around in my mind and slowly drove me to madness. All of this mental anguish was more than I could deal with. It had to be done away with. I knew I could not hold on much more so I ran into the kitchen and looked for anything that might be helpful to regain control over myself. The uncontrollable mental pain was spreading over my body. In my blind rampage I had an idea. Grabbing a relatively sharp knife from a rack by the stove, I used what I could muster from my body to steady my hands as I made an inch and a half long gash in my left fore arm just below the elbow. The physical pain from the cut blocked out some of the uncontrollable mental pain. Slice after slice I cut into my arm until the physical pain shut out all of the mental pain, and once I knew the exact source of the physical pain it was easy to phase it out and my problem was over. I was back in control over my body and feeling fine. Using a paper towel I wiped up the blood on my arm and I used some surgical tape and another section of towel to create a bandage for my wound. I used the absence of emotion to get ready for bed and soon after word I fell asleep.
Morning hit me like a hammer. I’ve never been a morning person and this one was not being too kind to me. My arm still had a dull throb from where I cut myself last night and the memory of what happened dimmed my already bleak day. I was falling a bit behind my usual schedule so I decided to skip my normal breakfast. In my opinion, my morning sit in the woods is more important than breakfast, all breakfast does for me is make me feel bloated while the woods helps me clear my mind and today more than ever I need it.
The wisdom of the trees helped me clear my mind enough to get everything from the past few days out of my conscious mind and into storage. I continued my normal routine at school by sitting in my car and waiting for school to start like the rest of the people who come early. My passenger side car door opened and without looking I knew it was Jason. After a few minutes Jason asked, “So, how was yesterday?” I was about to answer him when Jason continued with, “by the way, what happened to your arm?”
I didn’t know how to answer him. There was no way I could tell him that I cut myself last night. If he found out he’d make a huge deal out of it and that is not what I want right now. “I, um, I cut myself last night, it’s nothing,” I told him. “And yesterday was, how should I put it, horrible.”
“What happened? You didn’t like the birthday lunch? I’m sorry if you don’t like Chinese but hey, at least we tried,” Jason said in a very annoyed voice.
“No, Jason, it’s not that. Josh freaked out yesterday when I brought Mar to lunch. You remember when we both went to the bathroom? He gave me hell in there because of it. Despite all that he said, he was right. Everything that Josh said to me made me think about all the bad things I’ve done to him. He treats me so well and does everything in the world and more for me and how do I pay him back but by bringing another guy into things. It was like I was cheating on him,” tears brimmed my eyes just reminiscing about what happened.

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