Chapter 33
(c) 2006

My summer job was at a Gold Coast surf shop. According to Brett, the hardest thing I did all day was wrap something. He worked for a yacht-building firm nearby--hot, demanding work that improved his tan as well as his fitness. "I got muscles I didn't even know I had." Of a morning, we traveled separately but regularly met for coffee not far from our respective jobs. However, spending quality time in each other's company, as we did at school, was rare.

One Thursday evening, after a hard day's labor, Brett phoned and invited me over. Dressed only in gym shorts and looking awesome, he opened the door.

"G'day, hunk."

"Jesus, don't ever say that in front of Susan."

"Why?" I asked as I followed his cute butt through to the kitchen. "She knows you're a hunk."

"She doesn't need the competition--especially from a guy."

"So, what's the plan?"

"Supper. I made lasagna, and I got a bottle of Shithead's cabernet."

"Not sure I know that brand."

"And I got a joint I can either smoke by myself or share with you."

As we ate and drank in the garden, I had to admit the cabernet was very much to my liking. Not being a regular wine drinker, however, it zapped straight to my head.

"So it's not just my bod?" Brett asked, referring to my enthusiastic appreciation of his culinary skill.

"It helps. So, who's gonna do the cooking when you and Susan get married?"

"I'm just out of high school, Kyle," he reminded me, "then there's college."

"Anyway, I think your cooking is sensational. It rules."

"You think everything about me is sensational," he laughed.

When the dishes were done, we returned to the garden with coffee. He lit his joint, took a drag, and offered it to me. I declined. "The cabernet's already given me enough of a buzz."

The conversation flew through the hours, ranging from job routines, my boss' invitation to take us SCUBA diving and Brett getting the eye from his boss' wife. "She's worse than you!"

Our first SCUBA dive was less than thrilling. My boss insisted on teaching us to breathe underwater in a pool before tackling the real thing. The air tanks were much heavier than I imagined, although more buoyant in the water. The rush of breathalyzer air bubbles also surprised me; louder than expected. According to the instructor, we would wreck dive the following weekend.

After the SCUBA lesson, I invited Brett to my house for a dip in the pool. My folks were home so we dressed in Speedos. "Pity my `rents are here," I lamented as we trod water, "we could've gotten naked."

"When has that ever stopped you?"

"Hey, you're right!" I slipped out of my Speedos and tossed them onto the lawn.

"What if your mom walks through the back door?" No sooner had the question left Brett's lips than my mom appeared. Time for some fun, I thought. To my mate's horror, as well as my mom's, I walked casually up the pool steps.

"Kyle! Put your Speedos back on before the neighbors start rummaging around for their binoculars."

Instead, I walked up to my mother and planted a kiss on her cheek. "They don't need binoculars, mom. Do you think?" I looked down to my almost six inches of flaccidity, causing my mom to respond with a hearty laugh. She then disappeared inside, probably to tell my dad. So I dove back into the pool.

"I can't believe you just did that!" Brett said with shocked amusement. "My mom would freak out totally!"

"Don't believe that, mate. Moms are cool. Hey, if you wanna get naked it won't faze my mom at all."
"Not bloody likely! What if I get an erection?"

"She'd feel pretty special," I grinned.

"Piss off, Kyle. That's your mom you're talking about."

"Yeah ... she's got good taste."

On the weekend, the four of us clubbed at Green Room, then stopped off at Purple Alien for drinks. A friend offered Brett and Susan the use of her Kombi van for a bit of hanky panky. They accepted. Melanie, meantime, pressured me to do likewise but I insisted on waiting until we got home. "I don't even know the chick." Besides, I detested the idea of having sex with Melanie in the back of a van parked in the street.

After seeing the girls home, I asked Brett if I could sleep over at his house. He grabbed two beers from the fridge and noted my stained pants. "How did you get so messed up, Kyle? Did the condom slip off your little dick?"

"I didn't have one."

"You crazy or something?"

"Did you see the mood Melanie was in? Anyway, I pulled out before I ejaculated."

"Doesn't matter. When Susan's in a mood like that we go straight to the dispenser. No rubber? You're a mental case. What if she gets pregnant?"

"What if, what if. Let's drop it." Brett then refused my request to remove his shirt, so I took control of the matter and, without resistance, lifted his shirt over his head. "Cool, now I can sit here and gawk."

"Piss off, Kyle."

Then the bombshell dropped right out of left field, surprising even myself, inebriated though I was. "I love you."

"Yeah, and I love you too," he shrugged.

"No. I mean, I love you."

Brett's response was uncertain, even fearful. "Like how?"

"Like I'm in love with you."

"You're trashed, Kyle."

"Does it make you mad?"

"Scares me when you talk like that."

"Can't help it. I dream about us."

"They're just dreams, Kyle."

"On the mountain ... when you said you loved me. What did you mean?"

"I love you like a brother. Okay, maybe more than a brother. But it's not like you're thinking." Brett stood, went to the fridge, grabbed a glass of water and poured it down his throat. He then placed his palms on the fridge door, leaned forward and lowered his head. I asked what bothered him. "I'm not sure. Yes, I am. It's you-the way you are with me--what you're doing to me."

I was genuinely puzzled. "Like what?"

"Like I'm terrified of where we're going with this. It feels right, then everything in my head tells me it's not. Then, when we're together again it feels right again."

With my arms wrapped around him from behind, I rested my cheek on his shoulder blade. "Why shouldn't it feel right? We're best mates, yeah?"

Brett turned to face me, took my hands in his and gave them a gentle squeeze. "We are best mates, Kyle. I don't know why but we are."

"I love you, Brett. Have I ever told you you got a beautiful bod?"

"A hundred times already. And I love you for saying that. You're good for my ego." He paused, then added. "And I need a joint."

We sat in the garden while he puffed away, escaping to wherever the THC hijacked his thoughts. "I dig your hair too," I continued, "looks better at normal length. And I love the way you spike it up in the mornings before work. It suits you; makes you look even more beautiful."

"Beautiful? What kinda word is that? Guys aren't beautiful, Kyle."

"Since when?"

"You're off your rocker, Kyle. You know that? Nuts."

"I never thought I could love another guy as much as I love Rick. My love for Rick hasn't diminished; it's just that I love you too."

"And Melanie?"

"Yep, I also love Melanie--a stack. But you're different."

"I hope so."

"I think it's because you and I have been through so much together, y'know, like a bonding thing. I feel so damn close to you."

"That's what worries me. Well, it does and it doesn't. It's like what they say about women: you can't live with `em and you can't live without `em."

"I'm not a woman. I'm a guy."

"Not just any guy, Kyle. Not just any guy. They threw the bloody mould away when they made you."

Later in the week, the whole gang took in a horror movie then hit the pizzeria. Graham and I were still in hysterics laughing about the movie when, from time to time, Brett caught my attention, rolled his eyes and shook his head. What was that all about? I discovered the reason after I orchestrated everything to ensure Brett and I were the last to arrive home. "So what was all the eye-rolling crap about?" I asked when we stopped by his front gate.

"Kyle ... you animal!"


"Susan's been burning my ear about you and Melanie being on fire."

"So Susan wants me, huh?"

"Yeah, right. Susan says Melanie was on the phone to her, describing in sordid detail every sensation you gave her. Were you on Viagra or something?"

"Piss off. But, hey, that's cool--Melanie boasting about me."

"She says you were an animal, and I know what you did this summer."

"Har-de-har, so what did I do besides make love to Melanie?"

"Cunnilingus! And you said you didn't like seafood!" With that, Brett jumped up and down with unrestrained glee and threw his arms around me. "I can't believe you ate her out! And she said it was like you knew exactly what to do to drive her wild!"

Despite his exuberant hugging, I remained calm. "Hey, I'm not fussy what I eat. Want me to show you?"

"Not fucking likely--go wash your mouth out first."

"Then can I?"

"See what I mean? I can't take you anywhere--except a second time to apologize for the first time."

One morning, we met for coffee as usual before work. When the young waitress approached our table I told her that Brett thought she had cute tits. Brett kicked my shin under the table and glared at me but the girl nonetheless gave him a sweet smile. When she headed to the kitchen with our order, Brett glared again and threatened to kill me.

"Hey, she's been giving you the eye since we walked in here," I reasoned.

"How can you say that? You got no damn culture."

"Did you see the smile you got?"

"I can't believe you did that. Do you know her?"

"Not yet, but her left tit's name is Sam."

"What are you on about?"

"The name tag on her left tit says `Sam'."

"You're impossible," he grinned. "Unbelievably impossible."

Not surprisingly, Sam popped into the surf shop later to quiz me about my mate. She wanted to know if either of us was unattached. Sorry, babe.

My folks organized a Christmas day barbecue to which they invited their own friends as well as mine. Prior to Christmas, Brett and I promised not to buy each other gifts; our main priority was to save for college. Yeah, right. "I know we had a deal," he apologized, "but I had to buy you a little something."

He watched me unwrap the gift. "Hey! A surfer wristband! Cool!"

"There's a message embroidered on it."

It read: `No fear'. "Of what? Sharks or you?" Then I admitted to also breaking our promise. "It's just a little pocketbook thingy. Nothing major."

Brett opened the gift and read the first page. `To a special friend. Thanks for listening even when I'm not speaking.' "What am I gonna do with you?" he asked as his strong arms enveloped me.

"You'll think of something."

"Okay, this book is pretty special, but what does it actually mean?"

"It means thanks for understanding me."

"Not in a million years."

Shortly after Christmas, we received the results of our final exams. The first thing my folks did was break out the champagne. Then Brett phoned with the news he also passed with a matriculation exemption. We were both eligible for university. "Congratulations, Kyle. I was kinda worried..."

"That I would fail? You're not the only one, mate! I'm stoked!"

"Me too--for you."