Here's another piece of white bread in the middle of the sandwich. No sex in this chapter, but it bumps the story along. Be patient.

If you're a minor, don't tell me.  You shouldn't be here.  If you don't like gay sex, I can't imagine what you're doing here.  Leave.

Tumbleweed Connections,
Chapter Three

The Benson Cougars did a number on your head from the time they stepped onto the field.

It was the uniform.  Black pants, black jerseys, white numbers, white helmet.  Whoever chose those colors had nailed it.  You'd watch three of our boys walk onto the field for the pre-game coin toss and you'd get a chill.

All that black.  It said to opponents, "We are gonna fuck you up seriously."

And of course, over the years, they had the record to back up that claim, which was the main part of the intimidation factor. The black uniform merely announced the oncoming doom that the historical record had suggested the Cougars were bringing any given Friday night.

Not that they were invincible; in fact, the last ten years had tarnished the image somewhat.  The rest of the programs in the area had pretty much adopted the Benson Cougar system, and it had raised the level of competition all around.  Friday would be our third game, and Coach Dickson already had some apprehensions about the season.  We'd lost the first game, 14-17.  The boys looked sloppy and unprepared.  We won the second, 21-14, but didn't look much better.  And the real competition was still to be faced.

That meant it was going to be a long, tense season.

Of course, I had an additional stress on my mind.  I'd just had sex with one of the boys it was my responsibility to coach.  It might not have been immoral, but it was definitely unethical.  "Let's add illegal," my guilty conscience added, as I reflected on the previous night.  Serving alcohol to an eighteen-year-old.  Damn.

I tried to put Jared's spin on it:  If we'd met at a bar and hit it off, well, that might have been gay, but it wouldn't have been this awful thing.  Thinking about it that way wasn't really working for me, but it was the best I could do, and I tried to drop it.  I had other shit to worry about.

The rest of the week proved that Jared was true to his promise.  He worked hard on the field and remained friendly in the locker room.  It was as if the previous night had never happened.

Friday night came, and when all was said and done, Game Three went a long way to make us all relax a little.  We won it 21-0 against a tough opponent.  The boys looked superb.  Plays were tightly executed, no major coverages were blown, and above all else, the team as a whole seemed to get a little of that Cougar swagger going.  The Darth Vader black of the uniform definitely fit them that night.  And the crowd, for the first time this season, got into it with the traditional Cougar Roar.  Sometimes I thought our fans were as intimidating as the players.  Hearing twenty thousand fans growl in unison is a little disturbing to the opposition.

After the game ball had been awarded,, and the final words spoken, and everybody was getting ready to go out and raise some hell, Jared walked up to me and said, "Give me a lift home, Coach?"

I hesitated.  "Aren't you gonna go out and celebrate, Watts?"

He said, "I don't think so.  I'm kinda tired.  Bobby and Zane and Alex wanted me to hang with them.  We were gonna pick up some girls.  But Zane's with my last girlfriend, and I don't wanna be around her.  And, I don't know, I just don't feel like making small talk with some girl tonight, feeling up some tit just because I'm supposed to."  

Just then, Josh Daniels passed by, on his way out the door.  "Bad ass tonight, Watts," he grinned, high-fiving Jared. 

Jared high-fived him back and said, "We still on for watching the game at your place Sunday?"

"Absolutely," Josh said.  "The Cowboys on big screen, in High Definition!  Hope they're worth it."  He laughed and walked out the door.

Jared turned to me and sighed.  His face confirmed for me the story he'd told me the other night; he had it bad for Daniels.  After a pause, he said, "Well, Coach, how about it?  My pickup's in the shop and my house is on your way."

I looked at him and said quietly, "I'm wondering if you were thinking maybe about something more than a lift home."

He blushed, but didn't flinch.  "Well...yeah, I guess I was."

Shaking my head, I began to launch into my well-thought-out argument about how totally insane that was. "Jared..." 

He interrupted me.  "I need it so much, Coach.  I've thought about it for so long, and, well, there's no way I can go out and do much of that shit in this town."

"Let's head on out to my car," I said.  "We shouldn't be talking about this in here."  I pushed the door open and he stepped through.  As we walked, I said, "Jared, this whole thing is a bad idea.  It sets up stuff between us that shouldn't oughta be."

"Maybe," he said. "But I always felt like there was a connection between us even before the other night. Don't you think?"

I had to admit there was.

"It's like I said,," he said as we walked. " I'm so confused right now about myself.  There's this girl I've been dating.  We're not together--I mean she's not my girlfriend or anything--but I know if I want it from her I can get it if I'll work at it a little.  And I'm gonna do that."

We reached my car. I unlocked the passenger door and let him in.  I got in, started the engine, and he kept talking.  "But I got this ache in my gut for Josh.  God, I don't know; sometimes the way he treats me, I almost think he feels the same way.  Other times..." He stared out the window, leaving the thought unspoken.

"Anyway," he said, "I need to be with a guy more times before I can know what it is I really want.  You're...well, you treat me like I'm not some stupid kid, and you're the only safe person I can think of to do this with; you know, learn about how to do it, shit like that."

"Didn't you say you had a friend you'd done stuff with?" I asked.

"Yeah, he said.  "But it's weird, you know.  We've been friends for a while and I don't really like him in that way.  I just think it would mess things up a little between us.  It's a long story.  And he's not pushing for it so much.  I think he's got some other friends he does stuff with.  Guys I don't really hang with.  I don't really get much chance with him anymore."

I was quiet the whole time as I listened to him.  My dick was as hard as steel.  Yeah, I wanted another go with him.  But this was just wrong.  I wrestled inside my head, and I'm sure he could see it.

"Look," he said finally.  "Let me say this and then you gotta make a decision, Coach.  Whatever decision you make, that'll be okay with me.  I think we could help each other out.  You're pretty young still.  You got nobody up here.  We got something of a connection.  And we had one amazing hookup.  There's so much I wanna ask you and learn from you.  I think you could help me understand myself.  I think you could show me how to do stuff."

I could feel his eyes drilling into me.  "I'm not saying I want some big relationship. Now that would be really fucked up.  But I sure would like to be able to do more stuff with you.  If you say yes, we can stop playing this stupid game where you're going 'should I or shouldn't I?'  If you say no, I'll drop this shit and we won't talk about it any more. 

He paused.  My eyes left the road for a second, as I turned to look at him.  His face was anxious and concerned. "I hope you don't say no," he said finally.  "I really need this.  But if you do say no, I'll understand.  And either way, I promise, things will be fine between us.  And I'll never out you. You're my coach."

He looked around quickly at where we were.  "My street's coming up.  Am I going to my house or yours?"

I sighed and giving him a weak smile, said,  "Ya little bastard."

I drove past his street, straight on toward danger and scandal.