This is the twelfth installment of Joe, The Man, a sequel to Dan, The Man. I hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of the series. This is the re-release of the series previously titled Starting Over Again.

I'd like to give a special thanks out there to Neuman, Frank, James, and Sean. This section is a special one, being that I wrote specifically for a reader who has been extremely helpful in the development of Matt as a character. Matt, this one is all for you, bud. Thanks.

The rights of this series belongs to solely to the author. No unauthorized reproduction is allowed. If you are under 18 (or 21 in some areas), please do not read on. And if you do not like reading about gay college guys learning about love, then what the hell are you doing reading the gay archives?

And now...

Joe, The Man Part XII
By Joey E
Dedicated to Matt

Matt was deep in thought when Joe walked in the room. "Matt?"

Matt didn't respond. He was looking at a picture hanging up next to his desk.

"Matt?" Joe repeated. Joe slowly walked over to where Matt was sitting. He tried to see what Matt was so intrigued with.

Suddenly, he saw a tear running down Matt's face. Joe put his hand on Matt's shoulder. Matt turned slowly and looked at Joe.

"Matt? What's wrong?" Joe asked, sitting down next to Matt on his bed.

Matt put his arm around Joe. Joe pulled him in for a hug, and Matt began sobbing into Joe's shoulder. Joe was surprised to find Matt like this. He was even more surprised to have Matt crying in his arms. For some reason, Joe always thought that he would be the one crying in Matt's arms.

"Matt," Joe said, kissing Matt's salty cheeks, wet from the tears. Joe laid down on the bed. He pulled Matt up next to him, and wrapped his arms around him. They were facing each other.

"I'm sorry, Joe," Matt said, softly through his tears. "I'm so sorry," he said, again before breaking in a loud, long sob. Joe was so taken by surprise. He didn't know what to do. He felt so bad for Matt, but also wondered what was wrong.

"Matt, babe, what's wrong?" Joe asked, holding on to his boyfriend.

Matt looked at Joe through the tears in his eyes. "He would've been 22 today, you know."

Joe was totally confused. "Who?"

"Him," Matt said, pointing to the picture on his desk that was next to his bed.

Joe looked up at the picture. "Damn, he's cute, who is he?"

"Dirk," Matt replied, sitting up. He got the picture, and brought it closer to Joe. "And he was an absolute dream. 6', 170lbs, swimmer's build, super sixpack abs, blonde hair blue eyes..."

"Is that you next to him?" Joe asked.

"Yeah, why?"

"You just look so young," Joe answered.

"We were 17 in that picture. He was my best friend..." Matt began, his voice trailing off.

"What happened?" Joe asked.

Matt sighed, looking at the picture. "Do you really want to know?"

"Yes, Matt. Please. Please tell me," Joe answered.

"He would've been 23 today. We grew up together. He lived about four houses down from me. He was the finest boy in the high school. Only I never knew it until...

(This next part is told from Matt's point of view).

"Hey BooBoo, you drunk yet?" my best bud Dirk asked me, walking up to me with a beer in his hand.

"Getting there. And you?" I asked looking at him straight in the eye. He smiled at me. I didn't know why I was so drawn to his smile recently. It was the same kid that I had hung out with since kindergarten. But recently, I noticed more about him. And I didn't understand it one bit.

Dirk put his arm around my shoulder. "Babe, I'm there already." I could tell he was sloshed. It was fun to watch him have fun. He was so laid back and cool about every thing. I on the other hand was more tense, and more stressed than he was. He taught me a lot.

We both walked downstairs to the basement. We were at some guys house. It was the end of the big football game, which we won. Dirk was naturally there, cheering me on to victory.

We went to the same school, had most of the same classes, and we were a classic example of best buds in high school. We dated chicks, flirted with them too.

I don't know when I noticed how good looking he was. I guess growing up with him I never noticed what he turned out to be, thus far. However, it was freaky to me that I was noticing it more and more. Especially when he would smile. God those blue eyes. His body was attracting my attention more and more. I couldn't help looking at that six pack stomach of his...every time I caught myself I would mentally slap myself in the head, wondering what I was doing. I liked girls, not guys!!

Well, the alcohol was really starting to affect my judgement that night. For some reason, I found myself sitting on a couch right next to Dirk. Dirk noticed me the same time I noticed him. We both smiled at each other, and just kept staring at one another right in the face. Suddenly, I felt his hand on my thigh. I looked down at his hand for a split second then back up at his face. He was still smiling. It felt so good there. I didn't say a word.

I must say that there was some sort of electricity being passed through our bodies. I looked away from him, but his hand was still on my thigh. No one noticed, as it was very crowded, and the couch wasn't in a high traveled path. I looked back at him. He did look hot!! I couldn't resist him any longer. I just had to have him. Something was driving me.

"Dude, BooBoo, do you want to come home with me tonight?" he asked with a wide shit-eating grin on his face.

I laughed softly. "You bet. Why, when did you want to leave?" I asked, hoping he'd say soon.

"I was thinking," he said, putting a thinking look on his face. "....Now?"

"Sounds good to me," I said, getting up. His hand dropped from my thigh. But his other hand was now on my shoulder.

"Matt, get me out of here," he said, leaning a lot of his weight onto me. He was a thin, toned surfer dude. I wasn't as big as I was now, but I was still bigger than he was. He kept his hand on my shoulder all the way out the door. We only lived a few blocks down, so it wasn't that far to walk.

We were silent most of the way to his house. I could tell he had something on his mind, and I knew I certainly had something on my mind as we were walking home. As I was following him home, I was even checking out his ass! I couldn't believe I was checkin' my best buddy's ass.

We made it to his house. His parents were out for the weekend. Where they were, I don't remember. What I do remember is that he took his shirt off right after we went inside his house.

He stopped in the hallway to his bedroom, where I was following him to. He looked right at me. He slowly moved his hands down his smooth chest and six pack abs. I couldn't help but drool.

"You like what you see?" he said in a very seductive, low toned voice.

I nodded slowly, inching my way towards him.

By now, all my inhibitions were gone, because of the alcohol. So I was really operating on my primal instincts. And apparently so was my best bud that night. I started to strip my shirt off as well, as I was walking towards him. I decided to play with him a little. His eyes ran up and down my body.

"Like what YOU see?" I asked, smiling at him. By now, I was totally into this game he started to play. And what's more, I wanted to get him, make out with him, take totally advantage of him.

"Mmmm..." he said, staring at my smooth muscular chest. I walked up next to him. We just stared at each other for about a second. I then put my arms around him, and our lips met. We started to kiss frantically and passionately as if the world was going to end around us.

We somehow managed to make it to his bed, kissing and feeling each other all the way. I had the best sex of my life that night. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. But, I didn't realize it at that point. All I knew is, when I woke up the next morning, is what I did last night was wrong. I couldn't face my best bud that I hung out with since we were in Kindergarten. I couldn't face myself in the mirror. Looking back, it was all the brainwashing that happened being Catholic. And I hated myself during that time. I left without a word, not waiting for Dirk to wake up. I couldn't deal with it. What I did, I thought, was wrong. I felt so guilty for having so much fun and pleasure.

I started to avoid Dirk at school and at first, it worked. I couldn't understand why I couldn't face him, but I just couldn't do it. I saw him around school, after all, his friends were my friends. And those moments were very awkward. Either I would leave the crowd, or he would.

Secretly, I was tormented. I had a girlfriend at the time too, which put added pressure on me. After having what I had with Dirk that night, anything else seemed boring, and just wrong for me. I knew it deep down inside that I was gay, but I just couldn't bring myself to believe it. Every time we'd make out, I'd think about kissing Dirk instead. I felt extremely guilty. I didn't know what to do with it. So, on the side, I began drinking. I had my connections and could get alcohol whenever I needed it. My girlfriend began noticing a change in me, and she would question me about it. I brushed her off.

Dirk had been missing days in school. His friends were concerned. They came to me and asked me if I knew what was up with him. I didn't know. And when he was in school, he looked like shit. I thought about talking to him a few times, when I saw him looking just about as miserable as I was. But I never took the initiative.

I heard Dirk called me before I got home from football practice, since my bro took the message. I wondered why he had called me, after three weeks of not speaking to each other. I went up to my room, and picked up the phone. I called him, he wasn't home. I don't know why I did this, to this day I will not know why I did this, but something told me something wasn't right. Curiosity got the best of me, and so I took a walk down my street and went to his house.

His car was parked outside his house in the street, as it usually was. And it looked like his front door was open. I was relieved to see that he was home, so we could finally talk. I actually was starting to miss the kid, and I wanted to see how he was doing. And if we could talk about what happened.

I rang the doorbell, and heard it ring. Nothing. I rang it again. Nothing. So, I said, "Bam Bam" (his nickanme). "Bam Bam, I'm coming in!"

I walked through the front door, and I looked around. It didn't appear to me that he was downstairs, so I head up the steps to his bedroom, as I had done many times before. His bedroom was up the steps and to the left. I'll never forget what I found next.




There was blood on the bed, the rug, the wall...and there was Dirk, lying in the blood.

I let out a yell. "NO!!" I ran over to him. I started to tear up. "NO!" I took one look at his wrists. "Fuck!"

I knelt next to him. He was lying on his back on the floor. I started to sob, deep sobs. I looked at his beautiful face. I ran my hand through his soft blonde hair.

"Aw, fuck, bud!" I said, through my tears. I kissed him on his cheek. I called 9-1-1. I didn't know what else to do. I looked around his room as I waited for them to come. I found a note on his desk. It was folded and had "Boo Boo" written on the front of it.

I was careful, somehow, not to disturb anything from the scene. Finally, the sirens came by. I stepped aside as the cops and ambulance crew came in. They asked me some questions. And then it came time to show them the note. A cop read it first.

"Who's Boo Boo?" He asked finally.

"Me," I said softly.

He folded up the note and said, "I think you'd better read this yourself." He handed me the letter. I took it and put it in my pocket.

They had to carry poor Dirk out on a stretcher. It would be the last time I saw my first love of my life, my best friend. I was anxious to read the letter. I had no idea why he would do this to himself. I mean we were not speaking to each other, but that was no reason to go and do this to himself for that reason alone.

It was a long night, I don't remember all the details. His family came home, shocked to hell. I left after about 10PM. I still had not read the letter. I silently came home and went up to my room. My parents had been over earlier, and they knew that I was in no mood to talk. So they let me be.

I took the letter out. It was written on notebook paper and in my best friend's usual printing. He had very neat, precise handwriting. Mine on the other hand left lots to be desired. Here is what it said. I still have it today.

Boo Boo,

I know, I know, I'm taking the coward's way out. But, I just cannot deal with my feelings anymore. Since we did what we did that night, I can't get it out of my head. And now, I suppose you're mad at me. We haven't talked for three weeks, man. I guess you know the truth about me now. I have to say this. I've always liked you. Always looked up to you. In a weird way, I think I loved you. You were just the man, Kev. You were always there for me. I remember longing for your touch a long time ago. You gave me affection, but never enough. I wanted to make love to you, and those thoughts just became stronger and stronger. I have no regrets about what I did with you that night. But you left me without even saying goodbye. I can't live without you man. I can't live with you hating me. I couldn't bare seeing you without talking to you. And I can't live not having a real relationship with you. Life just doesn't seem worth living if I have to go through life not having what I want and know that I just won't get it. I can't live with you being mad at me. I've been so miserable these past three weeks. I've never been this miserable. So, I'm sparing myself and everyone around me from getting hurt. Please, forgive me. I always loved you and always will. I want you know that. Please, forgive me.



(Bam Bam)

I slumped on my bed and buried my face into my pillow and cried. I cried so hard that night. I couldn't believe that I had done that. I would never be able to forgive myself. I had caused my best friend to kill himself. What's more, I denied him the happiness that I could have given him, and even wanted to give him, but was too scared to even try.

Life was not easy. I kept that letter to myself. I didn't show it to anyone, didn't share it with anyone. I couldn't face the world, thinking I was a killer. I started wanting to get away from the world. By that point, my girlfriend and I broke up. I was coming to terms with what I really was, and I was truly alone without my best bud by my side. I turned to alcohol, this time more heavily than before.

I was drunk in the morning, drunk during school, and drunk when I came home. I hid it very well at first from my parents. But then, the summer came. I had moved out of the house, moved in with friends from HS, and I began to drink even more. By July, I was out of control.

My friends were considering throwing me out fo the apartment. I had become more violent. I didn't give a fuck about living. I began to have thoughts that maybe I'd be happier where Dirk was already. My body had gone to shit and I didn't feel good about myself. But then, something happened. I don't know how it did. But it happened.

I just stopped drinking one day. I took a look at my life and wondered, what the hell was I doing? I just couldn't see myself going through the rest of my life like this. I mean, I was still supposedly going to college the next fall. I had a bright future ahead of me. I started going to the gym again around my neighborhood, met up with some old friends, and I started to feel better about myself as I worked out every other day.

Finally, as it came time to go to college, I was ready. I was ready to face anything and everything. I had the help of one of my closer friends from high school. We were nothing like Dirk and me, but we still had a good bond growing between us. He was rather good looking, though I had put those feelings on hold, just to get back into the swing of things. I knew I was, and there was nothing I could do about it. And to tell you the truth, I was happy again. Not as happy as I was when Dirk and I were best buds, but close to it.

Joe just stared at Matt when he told that story. He was thoroughly amazed. He had never known that Matt had gone through that. By the end of the story, they were lying on Matt's bed and Joe was holding on to Matt, tightly.

"I never knew," Joe said, softly. He leaned over and kissed Matt on the cheek.

Matt let one tear fall from his eye.

"And today, he would've been 22. If only I knew," Matt said, sighing. "If only I knew..."

They were silent for a minute or so.

"But, then, what really made me complete, happened about two months ago."

Joe had a feeling about what it was, but he played stupid. "Really? What was that?"


A warm, fuzzy feeling came over Joe's body, as he hugged Matt with all his might.

"Actually, seeing you for the first time in that rec center four years ago wasn't bad for me either."

"You know, we never really talked about that," Joe said. "If you knew that I was looking at you, then why didn't you make a move back then?"

"Well, I've changed a lot in the last two years. I wasn't that confident with guys back then, remember, man, I was a freshmen. I grew more comfortable with the fact that I am gay. And I have been around a little since then. Plus, I don't think you would have known what to do back then."

"You're probably right. I would've been too scared, too freaked out," Joe replied.

"But, I kept my eye on you anyway."

"And you waited for me to come around to notice you?"

"Basically," Matt replied. "Are you glad I did?"

"Yes, Matt, I am. I'm very glad you did."

"Good, bud. I love you so much, man.

"I love you too," Joe replied holding him tightly.

We laid there for a while..

"Matt, did you love Dirk?" Joe asked, finally.

"Yeah, I did. I loved him more than I realized at the time he was alive. And when I finally realized it, it was too late. I still feel bad about that. But, I know, life must go on. I still think about him though. I know he's looking after me."

"And you," he continued. "What about you and Dan? Do you miss him?"

Joe sighed, remembering the first real love of my life. "Yeah, sometimes. I guess there are some voids that no one else can fulfil in your life. You know what I mean?" Joe asked.

"Yeah, I definitely know what you mean. But still, don't get me wrong, I'm extremely happy with you."

"Yeah, I know," Joe replied. "I am very happy with you too."

Joe and Matt just held each for a while.

Matt looked up to the sky then. "I love you, Dirk. I miss you, bud," he softly said. Joe kissed him gently on the cheek. And said to myself, "Dan, I love you. I miss you too. But, I'm awfully happy here with Matt. Please, know that I am very happy."

If you are even considering doing what Dirk did, don't. Think before you act. Think of all the people you might hurt if you do. Think of the guilt it would cause someone. It's the coward's way out. Don't take it. Thanks again to all who have responded. I really appreciate it. If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at