By Mark The Good Pen
By now I'm sure you know the drill, so I won't bore you with another disclaimer to ignore.
Thank you to everyone who has sent me their feedback on this story. You're feedback is very much appreciated!!
Feedback is always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Wanting Perfection in the subject of your e-mail. I will try my best to respond to all e-mails.
My other story on Nifty:
Sierra Inn (Gay Male Adult/Youth)
My mind began to race as soon as Rick's words hit my ears. I didn't know what the rest of the house was like but I did know that it wasn't very big. I instantly got a mental image of Rick showing me his bedroom, and in another flash us lying on the bed naked.
"What do you want to show me?" I asked, as I felt my throat starting to close.
"You'll see," Rick said, a smirk on his face. "Come on, it'll only take a minute," he added before heading down the hall that lead away from the living room.
The feeling in my stomach hit at me at that second, stronger than it ever had hit me before. My palms got sweaty, and my heart was pounding in my chest as I slowly started to follow Rick, leaving my trumpet and music on the chair. I wondered what he was going to show me. I didn't think he possibly could have had anything more related to music in the house. That living room had more music stuff than I had ever seen crammed into one spot. So as Rick lead me through the small kitchen and into another small room that looked like it was meant to be a spare bedroom I was more than a little suspicious. Instead there were two black beanbag chairs in the middle of the floor. A desk with a computer sitting on top was pushed up against the far wall of the room. Next to the computer, there was a red lava lamp. All four walls of the room were covered in posters and pictures of bands from the sixties and seventies.
"Ever see one of these?" Rick asked, pointing to the lava lamp as he stood next to me just inside the doorway to the room.
"On T.V," I choked.
"I call this my hippie room," Rick said with a proud smile. "I guess it was more hippie before I put the computer in here, but I can still pretend."
Not knowing what to say or do, and trying to figure out why exactly Rick was showing me that room I just stood there silently looking around at the various posters on the walls. Rick meanwhile had plopped himself down in one of the two beanbag chairs, in the center of the room.
"You have awhile before you need to be home?" he asked.
"I guess," I said with a shrug as I stood seemingly glued to the spot just inside the door.
"Then why don't you have a seat?" he asked patting the vacant beanbag chair next to his. The two beanbag chairs were separated by only a couple of inches so it was easy for Rick to reach over to the other one.
Slowly I made my way over to the beanbag chair, and kind of fell into it. I looked over at Rick who was smiling, probably at the way I had fallen onto my chair.
"Comfortable?" he asked, as I fidgeted around.
"I guess," I said. "I've never sat in one of these things before."
"I can tell," Rick said, with a chuckle. "This is where I come just to relax, for whatever reason this room just helps me clear my head," he said as he started to look around the room at his posters. Do you have a place like that? You know somewhere you go just to relax?"
"My room, I guess," I said. "I go there when my parents are fighting."
"Do they fight a lot?" Rick asked, with a concerned tone in his voice.
"They fight enough," I said, looking down at my hands which were folded in my lap. "But when I'm in my room it's harder to hear them."
My parents had begun fighting almost weekly the year before for what to me was no apparent reason. By the time I had started going to Rick for trumpet lessons the fights were coming just about daily. They were never violent or anything, just a lot of arguing and yelling. I had become convinced they were going to get a divorce, most of my parents friends had and I didn't see why my parents would be any different.
"I used to go into the backyard," Rick said, with a chuckle. "I couldn't hear my folks at all out there."
"Did they get a divorce?" I asked cautiously. It was more than I would usually venture to ask but I was looking for reassurance.
"Yeah," Rick said with a nod as he crushed my quest for reassurance. "But that doesn't mean your parents will," Rick said quickly, probably having seen the look of disappointment on my face. "All couples fight, doesn't mean they're going to split or anything. My parents never should have gotten married in the first place. But that's a different story."
I just nodded, not knowing what else to say. Rick gave me his best reassuring smile before my attention drifted back to the walls of the room. I think Rick had a poster from just about every band that had any type of hit during the sixties and seventies. At the time I didn't know of most of the bands, but the posters were interesting. Then suddenly I felt something warm on my knee closest to Rick. The warmth of his hand on knee seemed to radiate all over my body. I could instantly feel the palms of my hands getting sweaty.
"Justin," Rick said, in a soft tone. "I don't do this at all, really. But if you ever need a place just to relax, and really get away from whatever is going on at home, feel free to come over here. If I have a lesson or something you can always hang out back here."
"Thanks," I said, my voice cracking slightly.
"You're welcome," Rick said, as a smile came to his face as he left his hand on my knee. "Justin, is there anything you want to talk about?"
"What do you mean?" I asked, wondering when Rick was going to move his hand off of my knee.
"Justin, I'm going to be totally honest with you," Rick said. "But I need you to be totally honest with me. Can you do that?"
"Yeah," I said, as I nodded my head slowly.
"You see I'm very good at reading other people's body language," Rick said. "I always have been, it's just a gift I guess. Anyway, you always seem to tense up around me. And you really tensed up when I said that I wanted to show you something. What did you think I was going to show you?"
"I wasn't sure," I answered honestly as I looked down at my hands which were folded together in my lap.
"You know what I think?" Rick asked me, with his hand still on my knee.
"No," I said.
"Justin, when I was your age I had a Math teacher," Rick said. "His name was Mr. Adams, for some reason every time I went into that class I got nervous. I would get this weird feeling in my stomach that I just couldn't explain. My heart would start beating faster, my palms would get sweaty, I just couldn't understand what was going on. Then one night, I had a dream about Mr. Adams and me. You know what happened in that dream?"
"No," I said, as I looked up at Rick for the first time since he had asked me if something was wrong.
"We were having sex," Rick said. "Justin that was when I realized I was gay. Ever since then I have been very good at telling when boys feel for me what I felt for Mr. Adams. I'm no hunk, so it doesn't happen very often but it has happened a few times..."
"I think I should go home," I interrupted Rick before he could say anymore.
"Justin, it's okay," Rick said, his grip getting firmer on my knee so I couldn't get up from the beanbag chair. "I understand you're scared and confused. You don't get why you're feeling the way you are. I know all of it, I was there, I can help you. But you have to let me help you."
I don't think I had ever been so scared before in my life. Rick was pegging every emotion I had without me ever telling him anything. It was like I was a book and Rick had read every word. I didn't want to talk about anything, and I certainly didn't want to admit anything he was talking about. So instead I did the only other thing that seemed reasonable to do in that situation since I was being prevented from running. I started to cry, and cry harder than I had since I was a baby. Rick quickly got off his beanbag chair and walked on his knees over to me, grabbing me into a tight hug as he just let me cry on his shoulder.
"It's okay, Justin," Rick said. "I know what's going on, I understand."
"I-I," I started to stammer into his shoulder. "I-I don't k-know w-what's w-wrong w-with me," I blubbered into Rick's shoulder.
"Justin, nothing's wrong with you," Rick said quickly. "There's nothing wrong with you at all. You have feelings you can't explain right now and that's okay. You'll get to the point where you do understand them and they won't be so scary anymore. And you know what?"
"What?" I asked, as my crying slowed.
"I can help you get your feelings sorted out," Rick said, gently pushing my shoulders back so he was looking straight into my eyes.
"You can?" I asked with a sniffle.
"I sure can," he said, nodding his head emphatically. "But I only can if you talk to me."
"I don't know what to say," I said, honestly. "I don't get what's going on with me."
"It's called discovering yourself," Rick said. "And it's one of the weirdest times you'll ever go through. But everybody goes through it, and everybody survives it and I promise you will too."
Maybe if Rick had been telling me all of that a couple of years later I could have truly digested it. But at the time I was too embarrassed for having cried like I had in front of him, all I wanted to do was crawl into a whole somewhere and not be seen for a very long time.
"Can I please go home?" I virtually pleaded.
"Justin, if you start running from this now it's going to be very hard to stop running," Rick said, his hands firmly planted on my shoulders. "Just tell me what's been going on in your head."
"I just want to go home," I said, as I started to cry again.
I didn't want to tell Rick about the feeling I would get in my stomach every time I saw him. I didn't want to talk about all the confusion that I had about the way I felt around him in general. I was barely ready to approach the subject of my sexuality in my own mind so I felt light years away from being ready to discuss it with anyone else. Much less a person I had known for only a week.
"Okay," Rick said, releasing his grip from my shoulders as he saw the tears start to run down my cheeks again. "You can go."
Since I could remember my response to something that scared me was to run. I guess you could call me a wimp, you wouldn't be the first, but it had become a reflex for me to run. So without saying another word I darted out of the room, and charged my way through the house until I virtually ran out the front door leaving my trumpet sitting on the chair in the living room. I started essentially running home, crying the entire time. I kept hearing Rick's voice in my head, essentially telling me that I was gay. It didn't make sense to me, how could he have known everything I was feeling without me ever saying a word about it. Though the thing that was making me cry the most was that I knew he was right. Maybe I hadn't had the same type of dream about him that he had had about his Math teacher but I was getting the same types of feelings around him that he had described. He had even mentioned that he had gotten a weird feeling in his stomach every time he saw his Math teacher. The sweaty palms, the racing heart had hit me when Rick had said he wanted to show me something in the other room. My mind had instantly conjured up images of us doing things, things I didn't think I'd ever want to do with a man.
"Justin!" I heard a familiar voice call as I passed Shawn's house, still in a fast jog. "Justin hold up! What's wrong?" the voice called again.
I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around. Shawn was walking across his front lawn towards me with his skateboard secured underneath his arm.
"Dude what happened?" he said. "Why are you crying?"
"I'm fine," I said even though I obviously wasn't.
"No you're not," Shawn said, shaking his head. "Were you at the perv's house?"
"Yeah," I said. I wanted to say that Rick wasn't a perv but the words never came out. "I just had my lesson."
"Then where's your trumpet?" Shawn asked, a look of confusion clear on his face.
"Oh shit!" I almost yelled, realizing for the first time I had left the trumpet at Rick's house. "I left it at Rick's."
"You want me to go back with you?" Shawn asked.
"No, I don't want to go back there," I said quickly. "I never want to go back there."
"Dude you're scaring me," Shawn said, as he put his skateboard down on the grass in front of him. "What happened?"
"Nothing," I insisted. "I just don't want to go back there."
"Why not?" Shawn asked.
"Because he's a prick," I said. I didn't know why I said it even as the word was coming out of my mouth. I guess I was angry at Rick for making me deal with stuff I really didn't want to deal with. A part of me felt like he had no right to tell me what or how I was feeling, even if he was spot on. But at the same time I felt horrible right after the word slipped off my tongue because deep down, even with the anger, I knew Rick was not a bad person.
"What did he do?" Shawn asked. "Did he look at your crotch? Did he touch it?"
"No," I said, shaking my head quickly.
"Your ass?" Shawn, who clearly had a one track mind at that particular moment, asked.
"No he didn't touch me!" I said, a little angrily. "I just don't want to talk about it right now."
"Okay," Shawn said, as he either relented or lost interest.
"I need to get home," I said. "I'll be over tomorrow."
"Okay," Shawn said. "You'll be okay tonight?"
"Yeah," I said nodding my head.
I snuck into my house and went straight into my room so Mom wouldn't notice the absence of my instrument. I wasn't in my room two minutes when there was a knock on the closed door.
"Justin," I heard Mom call from the hall. "Don't you say hello?"
"Sorry," I said through the closed door as I lay on my bed staring up at the ceiling.
"Why were you so late?" she asked, still through the closed door.
"I was talking to Shawn," I said, not being totally dishonest.
"Okay," she said. "Dinner's almost ready so go wash up."
"K," I said, as I sat up on my bed.
After I heard my Mom's footsteps heading back towards the kitchen I got off my bed and opened my door. Knowing that my face was probably showing evidence of my crying that had only stopped towards the end of my conversation with Shawn I made sure that neither my Mom nor Dad were going to see me. I quickly crossed the hall into the bathroom and shut the door behind me. I turned on the cold water in the sink and splashed my face several times before looking in the mirror to make sure there were no longer streaks of tears on my cheeks.
As I looked at my reflection in the mirror I started feeling angry. Why couldn't I just be like everybody else? All the boys at school the year before had had a crush on the science teacher Ms. Newell. She was twenty three, blonde and had tits that could poke an eye out if you weren't careful. I didn't understand why everybody seemingly drooled over her, to me she wasn't anything special. I would have been okay with that if it had ended there. I mean maybe busty blondes just weren't my type but then Rick had to come along. I had to get that feeling in my stomach, he had to take such in an interest in me which only made the feelings I could not understand even stronger. The fact that Rick knew exactly how I was feeling scared me. Nobody had ever been able to read me so well, not even my parents. Yet it almost seemed that Rick knew me better than I knew myself and we had only met a week ago.
The longer I stared at my face in the mirror the angrier I became. I wanted to be one of those seemingly perfect people. That type of kid that could try a new sport and become the best on the team within weeks. The kid that was good at everything including wanting and getting girls. I didn't want to have the feelings for Rick I had, I didn't want to be gay. Yet those feelings were there, just like Rick had described his feelings for his Math teacher which led me to one conclusion.
"Faggot," I said under my breath to my reflection as it was staring back at me. "Fucking faggot!" I said a little louder as I grabbed the towel from the counter next to me and threw it at the mirror.
Leaving the towel trapped on the small strip of counter top in between the back of the faucet and the bottom of the mirror where it had landed I left the bathroom and headed into the living room where my Dad was sitting on the couch watching television.
"There you are," he said, looking up at me as I walked into the room. "How was your lesson?"
"Fine," I lied.
"Was Rick impressed by how much progress you're making?" Dad asked. "It doesn't sound like anything's dying when you play anymore."
"He said I'm doing better," I mumbled as I sat down on the other end of the couch from Dad.
"Good," Dad, who was used to my mumbling, said. "That Rick guy seems to know what he's doing. You like him?"
"I don't know," I said, with a shrug.
"Well he's definitely improving your play," Dad said. "I guess he knows what he's doing."
I just shrugged in response, there was no arguing that Rick had improved my playing because he had. And I couldn't tell my Dad any of the rest of what was going on. I was, for all intensive purposes, stuck. I was stuck in a situation I didn't quite understand but knew I definitely did not want to be in. Dad and I continued to watch television until dinner was ready.
"Terrance called me today," Dad told my Mom as we ate dinner. Terrance was my Dad's best friend from childhood, yet while Dad had a career and family Terrance was still living the life of a partying fraternity dude. "He's going to be in town this weekend, wants to get together."
"Well don't invite him over here," Mom said quickly. "The last thing we need around here is some stumbling drunk fool."
"I already invited him, he's coming over Friday night," Dad said, in a matter of fact tone, as he looked across the table at Mom.
"You what?" she asked, angrily. "How could you do that without talking to me first?"
"Excuse me, I didn't realize I needed permission to have my friend come over, Mom," Dad said sarcastically.
"You don't need to be sarcastic," Mom said quickly.
Seeing that my absence wouldn't be noticed I slid out of my chair, brought my plate to the sink and headed for my room. By the time I got my parents had graduated to yelling at each other and even shutting my door wasn't totally blocking them out. I turned on my small television, turning it up loud in an attempt to block out the yelling in the other room, and plopped down on my bed to try to forget all that had happened in the past couple of hours. Time seemed to melt away as I lay on the bed just blankly staring at the television set not even really paying attention to what was happening on it.
I must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing I knew it was morning and my Mom was knocking on my door before leaving for work.
"Justin honey, I'm going to be late tonight," Mom said through the door. "Dad's going to bring home dinner."
"Okay," I said, sleepily as I rolled onto my back on the bed. "Have a good day," I added.
"You too, sweetheart," she said, before I heard her footsteps heading down the hall.
It took me a moment to wake up but once I did all that had happened the day before came back to me in stunning clarity. Trying to get my mind off of everything I made my way into the bathroom and turned on the shower. I stood underneath the spray of the shower, just letting the water fall down over my head as I tried to forget the day before. I still couldn't figure out how Rick was able to read me so well, or why he even cared enough to do so. It was not that I didn't have other people in my life that cared about me, because I did but it just seemed like they were always too busy with something else to pay that much attention to what was going on with me. It just seemed to me that Rick would have been the least likely to take that much of an interest to me. He was a music tutor who I had only known for a week, he was being paid to spend one hour a week with me. He could have seen me for that one hour a week and been done with me. But instead he added on two additional lessons a week, for no extra charge and he seemed to want to spend even more time with me than that. It was like he was in love with me or something, but I knew that wasn't possible.
I got out of the shower, my mind as confused as it ever had been, and got dressed before heading into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal. Before I could even get the cereal box out of the pantry the doorbell rang. I went to the door and looked through the peephole. Standing outside was Rick, holding my trumpet case in one hand and my music book in the other. He was the last person I wanted to see that day. I was still embarrassed for having cried in front of him the day before, and for some reason I could not explain I was angry with him for having made me feel the way I did, even though he didn't do it on purpose. Reluctantly I opened the door, figuring if he had bothered to walk down to my house the least I could do was acknowledge him.
"You're going to need these today," Rick said with a small smile after I opened the door as he held my trumpet case and music book out to me. Even though I didn't want it, the second I opened the door and saw Rick standing there the feeling in my stomach came back.
"Thanks," I said, taking the book and instrument from him.
"You're welcome," he said. "Justin can we talk?"
"About what?" I asked, not wanting to repeat the day before.
"About yesterday," Rick said. "I think I owe you an apology."
"You do?" I asked surprised, usually I was the one doing the apologizing.
"Yeah I do," Rick said. "Is it okay if I come in?"
"I guess," I said as I slowly opened the door wider to let him in.
Rick followed me into the living room and we sat on opposite ends of the couch. I waited for him to start talking, but he seemed to be deep in thought, as he scratched the back of his head just above his pony tail.
"Justin," he said, finally. "I shouldn't make assumptions about you, and I definitely shouldn't talk to you about them until you're ready. But I see a lot of myself in you, and I really do feel like I can help you. But I need to learn not to help people who don't ask for it. What I said yesterday was wrong I mean I shouldn't have said it. I guess you're confused or whatever, and I probably didn't help you any so I'm sorry. I hope you can forgive me."
Rick's voice was genuine as he spoke he seemed to mean every single thing he said. His apology was totally not forced at all it was totally natural and seemed to be from the heart. I was someone who had very rarely been apologized to for anything, so I was taken back by Rick to say the least. For some reason, hearing say what he did made the feeling in my stomach grow even stronger. All the anger I had felt towards him the previous day slipped away. And even though I still wasn't totally sure what I was forgiving him for, the words came out of my mouth.
"I forgive you," I said, looking down at my lap. "You just kind of scared me a little," I admitted.
"I know," Rick said. "That was wrong of me, and that's why I felt like I owed you an apology."
"What did you mean when you said you see a lot of yourself in me?" I asked, still not understanding what he had meant by saying that.
"Well," Rick said with a little sigh. "Your quietness, your lack of confidence I used to be like that believe it or not. It took me a long time to get over it too, but my life is a lot better now that I did. There's other things too, but after yesterday I don't think I should mention that either."
"You think I'm gay," I said, figuring that was the elephant in the room anyway so it didn't really matter if I brought it up, we both knew it was already there.
"Justin, I shouldn't..."Rick stopped himself mid sentence and seemed to lapse back into deep thought. "My opinion of that doesn't mean anything to be honest I guess I was hoping you are. So I could be seeing things that aren't there."
To say I was surprised would have been an understatement. Why would Rick hope I was gay? That just didn't make any sense to me. I sat there silently trying to wrap my mind around what I had just heard, but then Rick continued.
"Justin, what I think about that doesn't matter," Rick said. "Only you will know for sure, nobody else will know for you not even me."
"How will I know?" I asked.
"It's a feeling you get in your gut," Rick said. "I can't really explain it, but you'll know when you get it."
Part of me wanted to tell Rick about the feeling I would get in my stomach when I saw him, if for no other reason than to try and bring some clarity to my very foggy situation. But then I realized Rick had answered my question for me without even knowing it. I definitely had that feeling in my gut it was only a matter of me acknowledging what it meant. That was something I wasn't able to truly do for years but that moment sitting on the couch hearing what Rick had to say definitely made a deep impact on me.
For a reason I couldn't explain the fear I had felt the day before suddenly changed to a feeling of comfort. I guess it was the difference in Rick's approach but what ever it was that day made me feel comfortable where I had felt scared the evening before. Rick did seem to know exactly what I was feeling, and maybe that wasn't a bad thing. I had never had anybody I could talk about anything with. I always seemed to end up dealing with problems on my own and when I would try to share how I was feeling it would usually blow up in my face. My friends were people I hung out with, not people I shared stuff with. My parents were too wrapped up in their own worlds to be concerned with what was going on with me, and if I tried to talk to them about something I usually would feel like they were judging me. Maybe in a weird way Rick was exactly what I did need at that time in my life. Somebody I could talk to, some one that would listen without judging. The only question that was left was whether or not I was ready to have somebody like that in my life.
Rick had said the day before the longer I ran from what was going on the harder it would become. And at the moment sitting on my couch only a foot or two away from Rick, I had no where to run to. And for some reason I didn't feel like running either.
"Rick," I said slowly still looking down at my lap. "What if you get that feeling in your gut when you don't want it?"
"Unfortunately we don't get to control who we're attracted to," Rick said. "Believe me if I could change who I was attracted to it would make my life a lot easier. But that isn't up to me. The main thing is you can't let it upset you. Sometimes it's just better to roll with what you are feeling rather than fight it. Does that make any sense?"
"I think so," I said, with a little shrug.
"Good, I wasn't sure," Rick said with a little chuckle.
We fell silent again, Rick staring at the blank television set and me looking down at the floor in front of me. I would be lying if I said that I was feeling good about myself, I still didn't want the feeling in my stomach that I was getting around Rick. But I was definitely feeling better, because at least now I felt like I had somebody I could talk to about things, when I was ready. Just as I was sinking back into my own mind, I felt movement on the couch. I looked up and saw Rick scoot over until he was sitting right next to me, before putting his hand on my knee. Just like the day before I felt the heat of his hand spread from my knee seemingly all over my body. For the first time since we sat down I allowed myself to make eye contact with Rick, who gave me a little smile.
"Justin, whatever you are feeling is okay," Rick said. "You don't have to be scared of yourself. Your heart will tell you what you want."
"But what if that's what's scaring me?" I ask, as I suddenly felt bold. "I mean what I think I want, it scares me."
"I know it's hard," Rick said, looking down at his hand which was still on my knee. "But you just have to fight the fear. Trust me if people always let their fears stop them, hardly anybody would get anywhere in life. Justin, I know what you're going through, I went through it too. And I know it's scary but sometimes you just have to look your fear in the face and say I'm not going to let you beat me. And after awhile the fear will go away, and you'll start to feel better."
"I guess," I said with a shrug.
"You're an amazing kid, Justin even if you don't see it," Rick said. "You're smart, and you're deeper than most adults I know. I can tell you have a good soul and that the end of the day, that's really all that matters. So don't let this thing, whatever it is, stand in your way. Remember what I said before, sometimes you just have to roll with your feelings, even if you don't understand them."
"Is that what you did with your Math teacher?" I asked, as I rolled with my new found boldness.
"Well not exactly," Rick said. "It's not that I didn't want to, but I couldn't. He was as straight as they come, and the town I grew up in wasn't exactly the most open minded place in the world at that time. I wasn't able to be really true to myself until I got out of there. But things are different for you, if you realize that you are gay. You have the support I never did."
"I do?" I asked, not knowing that I had any support when it came to something like being gay.
"Yeah you do, kid," Rick said. "You have me."
To Be Continued....
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Chapter 4 Coming Soon!!