Donny Mitchell felt completely numb. All around him, the world was painted in various shades of gray, and everything he heard sounded dull and distant. He found himself standing at the end of the school corridor, directly in front of the Chatsworth High Chronicle office. Suddenly the door opened, and two police officers stepped out.
"Thanks for your cooperation, Sean," the older cop was saying. "We'll let you know if we find out anything more."
The two uniformed officers edged past Donny, and he stared into the office at the lone occupant.
"God, Donny. I'm so sorry about what happened to Jeff."
Donny's eyes slowly came into focus, and suddenly he was being held by Sean McIntosh. He remained silent, but tears began streaming down his face.
"Please," he whispered hoarsely. "You gotta tell me what happened."
Sean broke their embrace, then sat him down in a chair to the right and closed the door.
He took a deep breath. "After the fight yesterday, I told Jeff not to take any of it seriously. He wasn't hurt that bad, but he called me later that night."
Donny stiffened. On the way home from school, Jeff had told him not to worry, that he'd be okay.
"He was really upset," Sean continued. "Around 10PM, his dad came home and asked him why he had blood on his face, and... well, he told him."
"No," Donny whispered. He knew Jeff's dad was a total homophobe. If he had told him everything...
Sean sighed. "His dad went totally ballistic and threw him out of the house."
Donny wiped his face and looked up. "Why didn't he call me?" he asked, almost angrily.
"It was already after 11," Sean explained. "He knew I'd be up, and he didn't want to piss-off your mom. I let Jeff crash on my couch, but he got up early this morning before I could stop him, and... well, you know the rest."
The boy felt his heart harden. "Those bastards. They're gonna pay for this."
Sean leaned forward and put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "It's not worth it, Donny. Look over there." He pointed at the words on a nearby poster: "'Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.' Harvey Fierstein said that more than ten years ago. You gotta keep that in your head, man. If you try to fight these guys physically, they're gonna win."
That's unless I find a way to even the odds, Donny thought to himself.
"Donny! Are you listening to me?" Sean stared at him with concern on his face.
The other boy nodded. "Yeah," he said, in a small voice.
"Listen to me, Donny," Sean said, holding him by the shoulders. "Talk to Mrs. Lemaire. She's the school psychologist. She'll get you through this, and she won't tell anybody anything, not even your mom. And please, don't do anything without talking to me first. Promise me that."
Donny closed his eyes. All he could see was Jeff's face... innocent Jeff, his Jeff with the dark brown eyes and beautiful smile. The first boy he'd ever known, the only one he'd ever been with. Now gone forever.
"Please, Donny. Promise me."
He opened his eyes, looked up at Sean and nodded. "I promise," he said, his voice trembling slightly.
They embraced, and finally Donny broke down in tears. They cried together, their sorrow overflowing, and their bodies shook with emotion.
* * * * *
At 4:45 on the practice field, the coach was almost apoplectic. "No, Callahan! God-dammit, son! You're screwin' it up again! I told you before -- fade left after the handoff, then sprint to the right!"
Dylan shook his head wearily. Since the announcement of Jeff Stewart's death earlier that morning, the entire school had been a beehive of activity. They had spent the entire first period confined to homeroom, while the police detectives combed the hallways for clues. And the corridors that lead to Chancellor Hall were all still cordoned off with police tape.
They cops had already figured out that Jeff was gay, and that he was getting harassed at school. No doubt they'd already found out about the fight yesterday. Rumor was that Stewart's father had thrown him out of the house the night before. It was anybody's guess as to which drove him to suicide. Suddenly, Dylan was struck by a horrifying thought: What if Jeff was being blackmailed, too?
"C'mon, Callahan. We haven't got all day!"
Dylan looked up to the perplexed face of Jordy Chandler, looking over his shoulder as he crouched down in front of him. That asshole as much as killed that kid, he thought. It's as if Jordy handed that kid the rope, even though he didn't put the noose around his neck. Maybe if I had just tried to break up the fight sooner...
"CALLAHAN! You with us, son?" yelled Coach Highland.
"Yes, sir! I'm ready." Dylan gritted his teeth and ran the play through his mind again. He leaned forward and called out, "hut one, hut two... hut... hut!" Seconds after the snap, he darted left and sent the ball spiraling out nearly 40 yards to running back Julio Martinez. "Good one, Martinez!" he called.
The coach jogged up to him. "I was gettin' worried about you, Dylan. Looks to me like your mind's not on the game today."
Dylan took off his helmet, ran his fingers through his hair and nodded. "I'm kinda freaked out about... what happened this morning."
"Yeah. I guess we all are. Uh... look, kid." The coach looked around and dropped his voice. "Dylan -- I'm concerned that you're not gonna be up for the game Friday. We've only got three days to get you ready."
"I won't let you down, Coach."
Highland eyed him carefully. "You'd better not. Don't forget: Williams is just waitin' in the wings. If you can't handle QB, he can."
Dylan glared at the coach. If this is his idea of a pep talk, he thought, I'd sure hate to see him when he's tryin' to piss me off.
"That's good to know, Coach," he said quietly.
Highland wagged his finger in front of his face. Dylan had to fight the urge to grab it and snap it in two.
"Don't smart-mouth to me, son. Just think about what I said, and learn those goddamned plays! And tell your friend McDermott if he misses one more practice, he's out of the game."
Dylan took a deep breath. "Kyle told me he was sick. If he's sick, he's sick. He'd be here if he could."
The coach jogged away, shaking his head. "If he's too sick to practice, he's too sick to play," he called over his shoulder. "You tell him that for me!"
"Yeah, I'll be sure to do that, asshole," Dylan muttered under his breath. Just then, the assistant coaches blew their whistles, signaling the end of practice. Two other players laughed and ran up nearby. Dylan looked up just in time to see Jordy Chandler say something to Ron Williams. Williams laughed loudly, and they both glanced at him.
"See ya tomorrow, Callahan," Jordy said as they jogged by.
They grinned at him, as if they were in on some kind of secret joke, and Dylan was the punch line.
He decided to pretend he didn't notice. "Yeah. See you guys."
Dylan trudged wearily back to the back locker-room door, pulling off his sweaty jersey as he entered. The room stank of dirt and sweat, and he could hear the showers spraying in the distance. Half the team was already dressed and in the process of leaving. Dylan reached his locker, pulled off his pants and jock and quickly dialed the combination, then reached in for his towel.
His heart stopped. There was a small piece of folded paper lying on top of his gym bag. Hands trembling, he opened it and read the words:
One down, and one to go.
You're the next queer to die, Dylan!
Wait 'til the whole team knows you're a faggot!
Die, you cocksucker!
"NO!" he screamed. Several of the other players turned and stared as Dylan went completely berserk, smashing his locker door over and over again. He pounded the metal with his fists so hard, his hands bled. The crashes of flesh on metal echoed throughout the locker room, and players came running down the corridor to see what was going on.
"GODDAMIT!" he yelled, smashing the metal door, which bent with every blow. One player tried to stop him, but Dylan shoved the boy back. Then, using every bit of strength he had, he finally ripped the door off the hinges and slammed it to the ground, sending several pieces of metal scattering across the floor. The crash thundered through the locker room and echoed all the way back into the distant shower stalls.
Dylan stood there, trembling, blood dripping down his fists. The other players stared at him, shocked, too stunned to say a word. The only sound in the room was Dylan panting, catching his breath.
"Damn!" said Buck Johnson, finally breaking the silence. He whistled and shook his head. "Remind me not to ever piss you off, Callahan!"
A few of the players laughed nervously. Dylan turned and stared at him, shaking with rage. The larger black teen took a step towards him and put his hand on his shoulder.
"Dude -- chill out, okay, man?"
Dylan started to push Buck's hand off him, then thought better of it. He finally nodded.
"Yeah," he said. "Sorry. I'm just... kinda pissed-off."
"Freaked-out is more like it," muttered Jordy, looking out safely from behind Buck.
One of the assistant coaches darted out from his office to investigate the racket.
"Callahan!" he called. "What the hell did ya do now?"
Buck grinned and pointed his thumb over his shoulder. "He just had a fight with his locker, Coach, and I think the locker done lost."
"Sorry," Dylan muttered as the man examined the twisted piece of metal on the ground. "I'll pay for it."
"Damn right you will. These things cost us a hundred and ten bucks. You're lucky we got some spare doors." The coach looked down at Dylan's hands, which were shaking. "Take it easy, willya son?" he said, his voice filled with concern. "And let's put some bandages on those hands."
Dylan nodded and walked with him to the training room.
* * * * *
"Baby doll? That you?"
He slammed the door and started up the stairs. "Yeah, it's me, Yo. I'll be up in my room."
Yolanda stuck her head around the corner and looked up the stairs. "Angel called for you again. Says it's important."
Dylan's heart sank. He wasn't in the mood to deal with Angel today. On the other hand, he hadn't gotten laid in several days. And he had to do something to take his mind off...
He stared at his hands. Shit. They were beginning to really swell and ache, now. He'd probably have to put some new bandages on later on that night.
"Dylan!" cried Yolanda. "What in the world have you done to your hands, child?" She started up the stairs.
"Forget it, Yo," he said, tossing his books on a side table and hurrying back downstairs. "Just football shit. I'll be okay."
"You really oughta let a doctor take a look at that, honey!" she warned as he brushed by her.
"I'll be okay. I'm gonna go over to Angel's house, then I'll be back in an hour. Where's Mom?"
"She'll be stopping by at 8, then she's gonna join your father in New York."
He started down the hall. "If I'm late, tell her I'll see her before she leaves, 'kay?"
Before she could answer, he slammed the door and jumped back in his car.
* * * * *
Angel was even more enthusiastic than ever in his lovemaking. After a long kiss, he rolled on top of Dylan and nuzzled his neck.
"That tickles, lil' dude!" cried Dylan, overcome with laughter.
"I know," he laughed, then gently bit the older boy's neck.
Dylan let out a comical yipe, then rolled over abruptly and pinned the smaller boy.
"Hey!" Angel cried. "What're you doin', man?"
"I'm just takin' advantage of you," he whispered, then kissed him passionately.
Angel reached his hand back and pulled Dylan's face to him. Finally, they broke apart. "Hey, Dylan..." he said, then stopped.
Dylan stared at him curiously. "What?" he said. "You got somethin' in mind?"
"Maybe," Angel said slyly. "I wanna try something a little new."
"Well, I dunno... maybe something back here..." he said, reaching for Dylan's posterior.
Dylan laughed and quickly rolled out of his way. "C'mon, man," he said, smiling. "We talked about this before. I'm just... I dunno. I'm not into that stuff. To me, that's an exit, not an entrance -- y'know?"
Angel pouted. "You never wanna do anything cool," he said, turning away.
Dylan walked around the bed and embraced the boy from behind. He brushed Angel's long black hair out of his eyes, and kissed him gently by his right ear. "Look, lil' dude... I got a lot on my mind. This kid died at school today..."
"Yeah," said Angel, nodding as he rolled over. "It was on the 4:00 news. They said he hung himself just 'cause he was gay! What a total loser!" he said, shaking his head.
Dylan glared at him. "Shut up, Angel. I just saw the guy yesterday when he was still alive. A couple of the guys on the team were pickin' on him and slappin' him around and shit." He sighed and shook his head. "I guess he'd had about all he could take."
The smaller boy nodded. "I hadn't thought about that. If somebody picked on me about this shit, I'd fuckin' kill 'em."
Dylan saw a disturbing flash of anger in Angel's eyes. For a moment, he looked like he really could kill somebody.
"I mean it," he continued. "Nobody fucks with me."
Dylan sighed. "Yeah? Well, somebody's still fuckin' with me. Look at this." He reached in his pocket and handed Angel the note.
"Hmmm," said the boy, turning the paper over as he examined it carefully. "Last time, it was in red ink. Now it's in black ink, and it's a different kind of paper. And the guy seems to be spelling better now."
"You think it's a guy?"
Angel nodded. "Yeah. This is definitely a guy's handwriting. Guys print stuff; women usually write cursive." He cocked his head thoughtfully. "Twice before, it's been in your locker inside the football dressing room, and once they sent an email. You think it could be somebody on the team?"
Dylan thought for a moment. "Maybe. I know a couple of assholes on the team who'd like to see me kicked out. Even the coach thinks I'm a jerk."
"I don't think you're a jerk. You're cool, man."
Angel smiled at him and Dylan's heart melted.
"Thanks, lil' dude. You don't know how good that makes me feel."
He hugged the smaller boy and kissed him on the mouth, then his neck. Angel giggled, then pulled him down to the bed.
"Wanna go one more time?" he whispered.
Dylan grinned. "You're insatiable, you know that?"
* * * * *
By Friday night, the team was primed and ready. Dylan took a long drink at the water fountain, then stared at the scoreboard in the distance. 12 to 6, he thought. That's not much of a lead, but we could still make it.
Over the din of the marching band doing their halftime show, he heard a voice off to the left.
"Hey, Dylan! Over here!"
He turned and saw Kyle on the sidelines. Dylan jogged over, and his friend clapped him on the back.
"Dude! That last play was dynamite!"
Dylan shook his head wanly. "Yeah. But I'm awfully fuckin' tired. And it's starting to rain!"
As if to answer his remark, a nearby trombone player slipped on the wet turf and landed flat on his back, producing a roar of laughter from the grandstands.
Kyle nodded. "Yeah. Shit, I'm really sorry Coach pulled me from the game this week."
"Don't blame him, asshole! You're the one who stayed out sick two days in a row," Dylan snapped.
"I told ya, man -- I had the fuckin flu!" Kyle said, indignantly.
Dylan rolled his eyes. Stoned off your ass is more like it. "So which was it?" he asked. "Weed-flu or Jack Daniels-flu this week?"
Kyle laughed, then held up a paper bag with a bottle hidden inside. "Speakin' of which, you want a snort?"
"Maybe later. Look... I gotta go."
"You comin' with me to Jason's house after the game?" Kyle looked at him expectantly.
Dylan thought for a moment. Tracy was sick that day, so their date was cancelled. What the hell.
"Sure, dude," he said with a grin. "And in case we lose, get me a spare bottle."
Kyle roared with laughter. "You got it! I got another fifth of JD, with your name on it!"
* * * * *
One minute left on the clock. The teams were now tied, and Burbank High was desperately blitzing them at every opportunity.
The rain was now coming down in sheets. Half of the crowd in the bleachers had fled, and the electric scoreboard at the far end of the field was dim and indistinct. The constant splatter of raindrops on his helmet made it difficult to hear anything. Dylan's uniform was damp and muddy. He felt exhausted; that last tackle had knocked all the wind out of him, but he was determined to go all the way.
The coach clapped him on the back. "Son, go with the Slam Pass, just like we practiced yesterday. I tell ya, it'll work."
Dylan stared glumly at the older man. "Coach, with all this rain..." he began.
"Come ON, Callahan!" the man bellowed. "Don't let a little goddamned rain take the fight out of you, boy! Go get 'em!"
He nodded and trotted back on the field and joined the huddle.
"Okay. Coach wants the Slam Pass. Slant out, roll left. Williams runs a fly. I'll fake it to you, then hit Martinez on the slant. Julio, don't be late. If they run another blitz, I'm not gonna have time to wait."
Julio shook his head. "Murrda! Coach has gotta be crazy! Nobody passes in the fuckin' rain! Are you even gonna be able to see me in this fuckin' downpour, cabron?"
Dylan grinned. "I'd better, or else these guys are gonna kick our asses."
They all clapped and moved back to the line-up. Dylan called the play, then moved back as the linemen collided. He tore left, faked a pass to the right, then turned for Martinez. Not there!
"Fuck!" he sputtered out loud.
Dylan continued charging left at top speed, then finally found his target. Suddenly, Lionel Jackson was sliding into him in the mud. They tumbled together, bodies flailing, and a roar came up from the crowd. In a slow-motion blur, Dylan threw the ball with all his might towards Martinez at the 20.
A split-second later, Dylan hit the ground with a tremendous thud. Another player stumbled in the mud and slid forward, slamming down on his right hand with his full weight.
Dylan screamed in agony. The body fell against him, and suddenly six players were on top of him. He blacked out from the pain.
* * * * *
"Coach! He's comin' to! Dylan! You with us, kid?"
Dylan opened his eyes, then winced and felt his hand. It was still raining, and there was mud on his hand. He looked down. No -- it was blood, all around the back of his thumb. One of the assistants was daubing it with disinfectant, and Dylan sucked in his breath and cursed.
"Steady, Dylan. You were out almost a whole minute. Can you walk?"
"Yeah. Did we win?" He stood up and stared at the scoreboard, still visible despite the mist in the distance. Yes! Final score: 18 to 12!
Coach Highland clapped him on the back. "I knew you could do it, son. That play worked great."
Dylan's eyes narrowed. "The play was fucked, man," he said quietly. "I got totally creamed, just like I knew would happen."
"Don't use that kinda language with me, Callahan," the coach snapped. "We won, and that's the only important thing. Don't forget that."
"But I gotta..."
"But nothing!" the Coach shouted. "All you've gotta do is to concentrate on the goddamned game, son!"
"Hold still, Dylan," soothed the assistant coach. "Let me wrap this bandage on your hand."
"I'm fine," said Dylan, struggling woozily to his feet. "But I'd feel a lot better if the coach would get his head out of his ass."
"THAT'S IT, CALLAHAN!" screamed the coach. "You just earned yourself a ten-day suspension! I won't tolerate this kind of disrespect -- not from you, not from anybody!"
Dylan started to make another retort, but caught the eye of Bobby Guiterro, who stood nearby, shaking his head and silently mouthing the word "no." Dylan caught himself and nodded.
"And that goes for the rest of you jerk-offs!" snarled the Coach, as he angrily strutted off the field.
"Fuck him," said Guiterro, walking up beside him.
Suddenly, they were surrounded by their team-mates. "EIGHT AND OH!" they chanted, over and over again. "EIGHT AND OH! EIGHT AND OH!"
They were engulfed in a chorus of cheers. Suddenly, neither the pain in his right hand, nor the non-stop downpour seemed to matter.
Dylan grinned. Yeah, he thought.
Suspended or not, it was good to be a winner.
* * * * *
By 12:45AM, the party at Jason's house was spinning totally out-of-control. Creed's "My Sacrifice" was blaring on the living room speakers at an ear-splitting level, and the pungent aroma of cigarette and other smoke wafted over the room. The place was so jam-packed, Dylan found it hard to even find a place to sit down.
He took another swig of beer, then shook his head. Fuck, he thought. I'm really gettin' toasted. He looked around, slightly dizzy. He hadn't seen Kyle for the last fifteen minutes. Kyle had been out on the back porch, getting off on some new shit with a couple of friends. Purple weed, he'd called it.
Dylan winced, then felt his hand, which was still throbbing. Maybe some purple weed would help me deal with this fuckin' hand. He opened and closed it again. It definitely wasn't broken, but he wasn't gonna be able to throw any passes for at least four or five days, that was for sure. Suspension or not, he was definitely going to be out of commission for this week.
He glanced around the room, then spied an empty chair in the adjoining den. Dylan pushed through the crowd, then sat down on an armrest and up glanced over at the big-screen TV set. Six or seven kids were sitting on the couch and a nearby end table, and they roared with laughter at the on-screen image. It was some kind of black stand-up comedy show.
"What is this?" Dylan asked a girl to his right. Several other kids turned and immediately shushed him.
"Hey, Dylan! We're watching Kings of Comedy. Isn't Bernie Mac great?" She was laughing so hard, she was nearly hysterical.
He nodded, then watched the comedian, who was in the middle of a routine.
"So my little six year-old kid... he actin' like some kinda faggot!" the man said, in a ghetto-tinged voice. "He say... 'I gots to go downstairs... to gets me some milk and cookies!'" The comedian put on an affected, effeminate accent, then took several mincing steps and wiggled his ass. The crowd immediately screamed their approval.
Dylan winced. Man, it never ends, he thought. He took another long swig and finished the bottle, then sat it beside the couch. That makes what... five beers for the night?
Suddenly a warm hand caressed his neck, and lips kissed him passionately on his left ear. He turned, and it was Randi Webber, looking as hot as ever. Randi had the reputation for being the horniest bitch in the whole school, if not all of Chatsworth. The story was, most girls will do 69; Randi was so bad, she did 71, but every one of them had to wear condoms.
Dylan grinned. Her white-hot hair seemed to glow, and he was almost overpowered by the sharp aroma of her perfume. Randi was rumored to actually have breast implants that rivaled those of Britney Spears. And like everybody else, Dylan was curious if the rumors were true.
She took him by the arm. "Come with me, Dylan, sweetie," she purred into his ear, making her way down the crowded hallway.
Dylan was too drunk to argue. He staggered along with her, following her as she entered a room on the right. She giggled, then closed the door behind them as she pulled off her top.
The room was plunged into darkness. She turned on a night light, which bathed the room in an eerie blue glow.
"Let me help you," she whispered. She tugged off his T-shirt, then unbuttoned his pants. Dylan reached for his shoelaces, then half-stumbled, half-fell to the bed. She giggled, then rolled on top of him and kissed him savagely.
"Mmmmm," she said, running her tongue across her lower lip. "You taste great."
"Yeah," he replied. "You, too." He reached out and nuzzled her breast, then licked and gently bit the flesh. She immediately moaned.
Real or not, he thought, these tits are fantastic. Dylan felt a surge from his groin; he felt like his erection was steel, encased in concrete. He kicked off his shoes and yanked his pants and underwear off and tossed them in a heap on the floor.
"Please," she whispered. "I need you... now." She reached over to a drawer and pulled out a small foil packet.
He started to reach out for the condom, but she stopped him. "No," she said. "Let me do it."
She tore it open with her teeth, then quickly slipped it around his arousal. "There," she said. "A perfect fit."
She lay on her back, then shyly opened her legs. "Please. Do me now."
Dylan nodded nervously, then knelt down close to her. He hesitated.
"I've... I've gotta tell you something," he whispered.
"Please, hurry!" she implored. Her desire was so great, she was almost trembling.
"Randi, I've... I've sorta never done this before."
She giggled. "Don't worry. I have." She reached out and guided him in place, then pulled him down towards her.
He was instantly enveloped by a glowing kind of warmth. The sweat between their bodies melded together, and she kissed him again, insistently. Her aroma was intoxicating.
He moaned. God, he thought. This was much better than watching porno.
She slipped her tongue deep into his mouth, and growled like an animal. "Fuck me," she hissed. "Fuck me harder!"
He increased his thrusts. "Oh, yes!" she cried out. "Do it!"
Dylan leaned back and caressed her breasts and nipples. Gotta be a boob job, he thought. These are fucking enormous. But they look great.
She bent her knees and pulled him closer. "That's it! God, that's so good! I love you, Dylan!"
He looked down, and saw her face, her eyes closed in a paroxysm of pleasure.
Suddenly, his eyes blurred. It was as if he could see Angel's face, angrily glaring at him. You betrayed me, he seemed to say. Fuckin' some stupid bitch, instead of being with me. Dylan's erection immediately began to wilt.
"What's wrong, Dylan?" she said, sitting up. "Don't you like me?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Please... lemme just catch my breath. I've been... drinkin' a lot, and I hurt the shit outta my hand in the game." He leaned over and kissed her.
She reached out and caressed his chest, which was already moist with sweat. "Mmmmm..." she said. "I love your muscles."
So does Angel, he mused. He shook his head. Shit! Gotta stop thinkin' about him.
Randi leaned out and licked his chest, then worked her way over to his right nipple and gingerly bit it.
"Hey!" he said.
She smiled. "This never fails. I know you can do this, Dylan."
He leaned back on the bed as she covered his body with kisses. Her mouth was like a mindless creature, consuming him like he was the last meal on earth. Behind him, he heard the bedroom door open, then quickly close.
"Wha?" he said, starting to turn his head.
"Ssssh!" she said, putting her fingers on his mouth. "Just relax."
He heard some clothes hit the floor, then the bed sagged on the left. He looked up.
It was Kyle, completely nude, grinning from ear to ear. He leaned over and took Randi in his arms and kissed her passionately.
"Hey, loverboy!" she cooed. "I was wonderin' when you were gonna get here."
Dylan stared. His friend was fully aroused, and by the looks of it, was even bigger than he was.
"Let me help you with that," she whispered, leaning back to move her face towards Kyle's groin.
Kyle moaned as she took him in her mouth. "Fuck! Shit, Randi... you are definitely the best, no question about it."
After a few trial thrusts, he looked up and grinned. "C'mon, man," he said quietly to Dylan. "You need this as much as I do."
Dylan's heart raced. He hated to admit it, but he was completely turned on by the sight of his best friend being serviced by this girl. He nodded and leaned forward.
Randi pulled off of Kyle for a moment and looked up at Dylan. "This is so fuckin' great," she marveled. "I've got the two hottest guys on the team... well, at least the two hottest white guys!" She grinned and stroked Kyle's muscular chest.
Kyle chuckled. "Like I always say... I'm pretty fly for a white guy." He let his erection wiggle back and forth comically, and Randi giggled.
Dylan smiled and sat up on the bed. Kyle laughed and gently pulled him up to his feet, and he stood next to his friend, still slightly woozy from the beer. Randi leaned forward and grabbed both of their groins, then effortlessly slipped off Dylan's condom and let it fall to the floor.
"You guys are so fucking hot," she moaned. She sank to her knees and took both of them in her mouth simultaneously.
Dylan tried his best not to stare at Kyle. His friend seemed oblivious to him, and he reached out and stroked her long blonde hair with his left hand. "That's great, baby," he moaned. "Keep suckin' it!"
He began to thrust rhythmically. His erection slid alongside Kyle's, and he felt a bead of sweat drip down his bare chest. Dylan found himself incredibly aroused, and couldn't take his eyes off the girl as she worshiped their two iron-hard members. God, he thought, his heart pounding like a jackhammer. This is even better than doing it with Angel.
After a few more seconds, Randi paused, then pulled off and sat back.
"Hey!" sputtered Kyle. "I'm not done yet!"
She smiled demurely. "I know. Dylan?"
"Would you... could you do me from behind, while I take care of Kyle? Please?"
He looked up at Kyle, who grinned, shrugged his shoulders and gave him a 'what-the-hell' expression.
Randi giggled and lay on her back and put her head on the edge of the bed. Dylan reached down, picked up the condom off the floor, and quickly slid it back on. Once it was safely in place, he hopped on the bed, kneeled down, and leaned forward.
"Ooof!" she exclaimed. "Not there! Go a little bit lower."
He glanced down. The female anatomy was always a mystery to Dylan... and in this dim light, it was likely to remain so. She reached back and guided him firmly but gently in place.
"That's it!" she said breathlessly. "Push!"
He did as he was ordered, and immediately felt the familiar warm sensation again. He looked up and saw Kyle's face grinning.
"Is this great, or what?" he whispered.
Dylan laughed. "Yeah," he panted. "I can't believe this is happening."
Kyle turned back to the girl. "Okay, babe -- showtime!"
She did as she was told. Dylan stared at Kyle's sweat-stained body, his muscles rippled, back arched. Kyle closed his eyes and leaned forward, running his hands through Randi's long blonde hair that splayed over her shoulders. She moaned.
Dylan was getting closer. For nearly a minute, he stared at the veins in Kyle's arms, the deep ridges in his chest, and the ribbed abs in his stomach. Their eyes met for a moment and he thought he saw a flicker of desire in Kyle's eyes. Dylan quickly looked away. In a few seconds, Kyle began to thrust more vigorously.
"That's it!" he cried. "Take it! Oh, god!"
A guttural moan came from deep inside Randi. She squirmed back, forcing Dylan deeper and deeper inside her.
Dylan began pounding his hips furiously against her backside. Randi began to scream, her voice quieted only by Kyle's arousal. Dylan reached out and pulled her hips closer, then finally, he exploded.
Moments later, Kyle cried out, and he sank to the floor on his knees. Randi and Dylan fell together on the bed, and she lay back and panted. He gently pulled out of her, leaned over and kissed her.
Her eyes were closed, and her face was frozen in an expression of sheer bliss.
"That... that was wonderful," she said, her eyelids fluttering.
"Thanks, Randi," said Kyle, who leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "You were fantastic."
She beamed. "Anytime, Kyle. You, too, Dylan. Thanks."
After they lay there together for a few moments, Randi bounced off the bed and headed to the bathroom. "If either of you guys wanna take a shower, I'm game."
"No, thanks," called Kyle, as he pulled up his pants.
"I'll take a rain check," said Dylan. He tossed the condom into a nearby trashcan.
The two teens kept their eyes averted from each other as they quickly dressed. Dylan slowly inched the door open and peered out into the hallway. By the sound of it, the party was still bouncing off the walls. The smoke seemed a lot thicker now -- pretty strong stuff, too, he thought. In the background, a girl screamed, then broke out into fits of laughter.
"I'll go out first," he whispered to Kyle. "Wait a minute or two, then you come out. I don't want anybody to get the wrong idea."
"You mean the right idea," giggled Kyle.
Dylan rolled his eyes. "Whatever."
They both laughed.
* * * * *
On the drive home, both Dylan and Kyle were fairly quiet. Dylan kept the BMW under 35, and stayed well clear of the main thoroughfares. He didn't drink very often, but he knew his limits, and wasn't about to get caught.
He pulled the car up in front of Kyle's house.
"Thanks, man," said Kyle, as he hopped out of the passenger side. "That was cool."
Kyle leaned in on the window. "No, I mean it. That was the first time I'd ever done it with Randi and... well, you know... anybody else."
Dylan felt uncomfortable. Neither of them could look at each other.
"Anyway, thanks." Kyle started up the sidewalk.
Dylan started rolling the car forwards, then jerked to a halt. "Dude!" he called. "You up for Sunday Night Football tomorrow night?"
"Sure!" he called over his shoulder. "Hit me on the hip to remind me."
Dylan made a mental note to send a page out to Kyle on Sunday afternoon.
He waved, then gunned the engine and tore down the street.
* * * * *
The next morning, Dylan rolled over and immediately let out a yelp.
"Fuck!" he cried. He'd totally forgotten about his hand. He pulled his arm out from under the covers and winced at the bandages, which were looking a little ragged. He could see beer stains from the party last night, and there was still some clotted blood around his swollen thumb.
I better change the wrapping, he thought to himself. He hopped out of bed, then winced. His head pounded like a kettledrum and his eyes hurt. He woozily leaned on a wall and held himself up, then sighed. So help me, that's the last time I ever drink five beers in one night.
He made it over to his bathroom sink, unwrapped the sticky bandages, and tossed them into the trash. He stared at his right hand, then gingerly opened and closed his swollen fingers. Hurts like hell, but it's better than it was yesterday. Three ugly green-and-purple bruises marred the back of his hand, and his thumb still had a fresh scab along one side where the flesh had been gashed.
In the distance, the phone rang. He tore open a large Band-Aid out of the box, wrapped it around his injured thumb, then jogged back into his bedroom just in time for the intercom to beep.
"Dylan!" barked a metallic voice.
"What's up, Yo?"
"It's Tracy, on line 3! You tell her I hope she feels better, honey."
Dylan rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah."
He trotted back into his bedroom and glanced at the alarm clock. Jesus, he thought. Already 10:50. He picked up the handset and hit the button.
"Hi, Trace! I was gonna call you when I got up. Listen, if you're feeling better, maybe we could..."
"You fucking asshole!" she hissed.
"What?" Mental alarms began going off.
"You heard me. You fucked her, didn't you?"
Oh, shit, he thought, as foggy memories of last night's party filtered in from his memory bank. Time to switch into total-denial mode.
"Trace, I swear," he said, "I don't know what you're talkin' about."
"Don't give me that shit. I heard about you and that slut-pig Randi Webber at the party at Jason's last night."
Dylan sat down at his desk and sighed. "Oh, that," he said, thinking quickly. "I swear to god, babe -- all she did was give me a back rub! That was it!"
"That's not what I heard. Everybody at the party knew about it! How could you do this to me, Dylan?" she wailed.
It seemed pretty fucking easy at the time, he mused to himself.
"Well?" she asked.
He sighed. "Look, Trace, whaddya want from me? I don't give a shit about Randi. You know I love you."
Tracy's voice turned to ice. "I thought you did, too. Go to hell, Dylan." The phone clicked and went to a dial-tone.
"Okay," Dylan said out loud. "That went well."
He hung up the phone and stared at the two pictures of Tracy on a nearby shelf. One was taken last summer, when they'd driven out to Santa Barbara, the day he got his new car for his 16th birthday last year. He smiled sadly. God, that'd been fun. The other picture showed the two of them together at school, with Tracy gently nibbling his earlobe.
Did he really love her? He thought he had, for the past year. But since he'd met Angel three months ago, things were somehow... different. Like maybe the equation for love had suddenly been shifted and skewed.
Angel. What the hell, he thought.
* * * * *
He pulled the BMW Roadster up by the curb, then jumped out and trotted up the stone path that led to the porch. Just before he could knock, the door opened. It was Mrs. Thompkins, Angel's mother.
"Oh! Hello, Dylan! I didn't know you were coming over." She turned over her shoulder. "Angel! Dylan's here!" She paused in the doorway. "I'm going out to get some groceries. Are you staying for lunch with Angel and K.C.?"
Who's K.C.?, Dylan thought.
"Uh...no, I don't think so, Mrs. Thompkins," he replied.
"Please! Call me May," she insisted. "You boys have fun. If you decide to stay, we've got meatloaf sandwiches and salad for lunch."
With that, she walked briskly out to the front steps. Dylan closed the door behind him and made his way through the living room and down the hallway. In the distance, he heard two voices laughing behind Angel's bedroom door. He hesitated, then knocked. The laughter stopped.
"Who the fuck is it?" said a voice. It sounded like Angel, but with a different tone, somehow.
"Hey! Lil' dude, it's me. Can I... come in?"
The door opened, and Angel looked at him curiously. "What're you doin' here?" he asked.
Dylan glanced over Angel's shoulder and saw a skinny blond boy, about 14 or 15, lying on the bed. He was shirtless, and his hands were tucked behind his head while he silently watched a TV set on a side-table. He wore two earrings in his left ear, and had a Chinese symbol tattooed on one shoulder.
"I mean... you coulda called, y'know?" Angel said, visibly irritated.
Dylan turned back to the raven-haired boy. "Sorry. Just wanted to say hi."
"Hi," said Angel, sarcastically.
The boy on the bed looked up and grinned. "Hey -- you're Dylan, right?"
The boy giggled. "I heard all about you."
Yeah, I bet you have, Dylan thought. He let out an impatient sigh. "Okay. Well... sorry to've bothered you guys. See ya."
He turned and walked quickly down the hallway, cursing under his breath as he reached the living room. Fuckin' little twerp, he thought. Why did I ever get mixed up with Angel anyway? What the hell was I thinking?
Just as he reached the doorway, Angel called out behind him.
"Dude! Wait up!"
Angel ran up to him breathlessly. "Dylan -- hey, man, I'm really sorry. I was just screwin' around."
"Yeah," Dylan said icily. "I could see that."
Angel grinned. "K.C. is really cool. He's the first kid in my class who... you know, wants to do stuff." He wiggled his eyebrows and laughed.
Dylan nodded. It was the first time he realized the three-year age difference between him and Angel might be greater than he thought.
"Great. Then you two have fun. I gotta go."
Angel put his hand against the door. "Hey," he whispered. "I'm just foolin' around -- you know, like you and Tracy. I swear, I love you, Dylan. Shit... K.C. won't even kiss and stuff."
He leaned forward and kissed Dylan on the mouth. Dylan tried to lean away, but Angel pulled him forward. The kiss became longer, more passionate. Dylan immediately felt a stirring below his waist.
At last, they broke apart. "Can I see you tonight?" Dylan whispered hoarsely.
Angel nodded. "Yeah. Can we do it in your room?"
Dylan thought for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah -- it should be okay. My folks are still out of town, and it's Yolanda's day off. Hey, we can even watch movies in my dad's home theater if you want."
Suddenly, a voice in the distance yelled. "Hey, Angel! It's the new Justin Timberlake video on TRL! Hurry up!"
Angel glanced over his shoulder. "I gotta go. Later!"
Dylan grinned. "Thanks, lil' dude."
* * * * *
At 7:15, Dylan stared at the telephone on his desk. He'd called Angel's number six times over the last hour, and gotten no answer.
Why the fuck did I give the little shit a cell phone, if he never even bothers to turn it on? he thought.
Suddenly, the door to his room slowly inched open.
Dylan jumped to his feet, as Angel's head peered out from behind the door.
"Where the fuck have you been?" Dylan shouted. "You scared the living shit outta me! And how the hell did you get in this house?"
Angel giggled, walked into the room, and flopped down on the bed.
"Oh, I have my ways."
Dylan eyed the boy curiously. "How'd you get past the house alarm?"
Angel sat up and leaned forward on his elbows. "Well... maybe I sorta-kinda saw the security code you punched in, the last time I was here."
Dylan shook his head. This kid is just too fucking dangerous.
"So... are we gonna watch movies, or what?" the boy asked.
"Sure. Come on downstairs. You want popcorn?"
* * * * *
Fifteen minutes later, they were comfortably ensconced in the luxurious theater seats of Dylan's father's screening room. The dimly-lit walls were covered with red-velvet curtains, the screen was 15 feet wide, and the volume was thunderous.
"Those are THX speakers!" yelled Dylan over the explosions, as Anakin Skywalker's landspeeder raced over the hills. Their seats shook with every impact, as if they were part of the race.
"Wow!" replied Angel. "Phantom Menace doesn't suck so bad on a system this cool!"
They silently watched the action for a few minutes, then Dylan hit a switch and paused the video.
"This is so bitchin'!" marveled the younger teen, looking around the room. "What are those?" he said, pointing to some posters on the wall.
"Those? They're from ancient movies. My dad's kind of a movie fan. He likes that nostalgic shit -- you know, old black and white stuff. Most of 'em are boring, but a few are kinda cool. He's got like two thousand DVDs."
Angel nodded, then snuggled closer to Dylan and put his left arm around him. "Hey," he said softly. "We could like... do stuff in here if we wanted to. And nobody would ever know."
Dylan sighed. "I dunno, man. It's been kind of a fucked-up week."
Angel reached out his right hand and caressed the older boy's chest through his shirt, then kissed him tenderly on the neck. "Tell me about it," he said.
Dylan turned to his friend. "I don't... I don't even know where to start. Just a coupla days ago, that kid killed himself at school. Hung himself in the hallway."
Angel nodded. "Yeah. That gay kid. I saw it in the paper."
For an instant, Dylan could see the fight again in his mind, and hated himself for not stopping it sooner.
He closed his eyes. "Yeah. Then I smashed the shit outta my thumb in the game last night."
Angel reached out and kissed it.
Dylan's eyes began to brim with tears. "After the game, I called the coach an asshole, and he suspended me from the team for a week. Even though I made the winning pass."
"He is an asshole," Angel said soothingly.
He nodded. "My parents don't give a fuck about me. They're totally wrapped up into their own bullshit. My friend Kyle is gettin' totally wasted every week. And my girlfriend Tracy dumped me this morning."
"Why'd the bitch do that?"
Dylan hesitated. He didn't want to admit he'd been fooling around with Randi.
Angel kissed him again. "I think I know," he whispered. "'Cause she's fucked-up?"
Dylan nodded, and a tear trickled down his face. "I can't take much more, lil' dude. All this shit, plus these fuckin' notes in my locker... It's drivin' me nuts!"
Angel embraced him, and Dylan began sobbing quietly. The younger boy kissed away Dylan's tears, then pushed the bangs out of his eyes.
"It's okay, man," he said.
Dylan choked and wiped his face, then attempted a half-grin. "I swear, Angel... you're about the only thing that's good in my life right now."
Angel kissed him again, then began giggling. His laughter became louder, almost explosive, then disintegrated into some kind of bizarre, maniacal cackling. He screamed and guffawed, pounded the armrests of his seat, and gasped for breath.
Dylan stared at him, stunned. "Angel...?"
Angel regained his composure and turned back to him. "It's me," he said, in a voice that sent chills down Dylan's spine. "I sent all the notes. It was all me, Dylan. Don't you get it? It was me all the time."
He smiled, and for the first time, Dylan saw a horrible glint in Angel's piercing green eyes.