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This story is mostly fiction. Some of the situations and characters are based off people that I know or experiences I've had. However names, & locations have all been change to better suit the story. That being said this story is mostly fictional and any likenesses to any other situations are strictly coincidental.
All events that happen are completely consensual between people involved in the story. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, leave this site now. The author retains all rights to this story. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the permission of the author. If you're not 18, come back when you are, it'll be worth it.
Half in, Half out
"The Life of a Collegiate Gymnast"
"Keep Me In Mind"
The back of my head landed on Nate's head as I fell back to my bed. He stirred a bit, so I stayed as still as possible so not to wake him up. The last thing I wanted was to deal with him this early in the morning. I lay there for a second letting the events of last night really sink in. What was I thinking? I know he had feelings for Heath still. I still have feelings for Jayden.
The text from Jayden was more of an issue at the moment. How do I respond to that? I felt so bad for him because I know how hurt he must be. We hadn't talked about Ethan a lot, but I could tell he cared a lot about him. For him to find out that Ethan was cheating on him, again, must've been devastating. Part of me was excited because it meant that there was a chance for us, but another part of me knew that it would be awhile before Jayden would want to even think about a relationship again.
I took a deep breath and sat up, needing to get a drink of water. I stood up as silently as possible, so not to wake Nate, and headed to the bathroom. The floor creaked below me with each step I took and my head pounded with each movement. As I walked to the bathroom I checked to see if anyone was in our spare bedroom. I cracked the door open and saw Aaron laying down on the air mattress. It looked like someone else was in the bed with him, making a note to ask him about it later.
Once I got to the bathroom, I turned the shower on and jumped in. I let the water run over my body as I tried my best to wake up. While in the shower the rest of night played through my head. It ended up being quite a successful follow up to the BBQ we had last month. All the guys seemed like they had a good time, and we had quite the good turnout. I laughed to myself at how excited Jess was about Matt and her becoming exclusive. They seem good for each other. Should be interesting to see how she reacts to dating a fraternity guy. She always used to say how against the idea she was. As I was finishing up I heard a knock on the door.
"I'll be out in second." I told whoever was knocking on the door.
"Can I just come in really quick? I'm not feeling too good." I heard someone on the other side of the door.
"Uh..." I said. "Who is it?"
"Aaron. Dude I think I'm going to throw up!" He said, sounding a little more antsy.
I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, come in. The doors unlocked."
"Thanks man..." I heard the door whip open and Aaron run to the toilet. Seconds later the sound of him throwing up last night was coming from the bathroom. It took everything in my power not to throw up myself.
"Dude you've got to get a better hold on your drinking." I said as I turned off the shower, grabbed my towel and started to dry off on other side of shower curtain. "Or is the puking just something you like to do at our place?" I joked as I let out a small laugh.
"Sorry about this man. I didn't mean to get so drunk." Aaron said with his head in the toilet.
"Well at least you didn't end up in Jake's room this time." I patted him on the back. "Speaking of which...is there someone else in the room with you? Did you get lucky last night?" I said with a smirk.
Aaron looked up from the toilet surprised that I said that, "No..." He said nervously. But his facial expression gave it all away. "I didn't hook up with anyone last night..."
"Oh yeah, `cause before I jumped in the shower I could've sworn I saw you and someone else laying on the air mattress." I told his as I leaned against the sink looking down at him. Aaron had an uneasy smile on his face. He looked like he was about to say something, but another round of vomiting interrupted him. I shook my head and laughed, "Don't worry about it buddy. We can talk later."
"Sounds good..." Aaron said to me as I walked out of the bathroom. As I was walking past Jakes room the door opened up.
"Dude, what the fuck?" Jake poked his head out the door.
I looked at him puzzled, "What?"
"Who is throwing up in our bathroom?" Jake asked, clearly a little annoyed. "It's Aaron isn't it?"
I walked into Jakes room and closed the door. "Yeah..." I nodded. "Where'd Summer go?" I asked as I saw down at the edge of his bed.
"Oh... we kinda got into it last night. She ended up sleeping downstairs in Jess' room." Jake said. He sounded a little annoyed at that, too. "I'm sure Jess and Matt were happy about that." He must not have had the best night.
I laughed at that comment. "Ohh?"
"Yeah, it's fucked up...I brought up something about being exclusive and she started acting funny. " Jake sat down at the other end of the bed. "So I called her on it. I just..." He sighed. "I like her a lot. With Jess and Matt getting together yesterday it got me thinking."
I nodded, "Yeah I know what you mean. It's obvious you like her."
"Yeah, and she likes me doesn't she?" Jake sounded like he was asking himself as much as he was asking me.
Knowing what I knew after the conversation Summer and I had earlier this week, I felt bad holding back what I knew. But she said she wouldn't hurt him. I was torn between telling him about running into her earlier that week or not. "I don't think you have anything to worry about. Maybe it was just the booze?"
"Yeah, hopefully." Jake leaned back against his headboard. "So what about you?" Jake nudged me with his leg. "What happened with you last night?"
"Well..." I paused, I knew this could go either way with Jake. He could either be pissed about what happened or happy for me. "Nate and I hooked up." I said quickly.
"What!" The look of shock on Jake's face let me know that he was not pleased.
"I know...I know." I ran my hand through my still wet hair. "I didn't plan for any of it to happen!"
"Well it did, Tyler." Jake sounded pissed. "So what does this mean?"
"Hopefully it just means that we were two drunk friends looking for some company. Heath texted him about not making it to the party, so he got upset. As for me..."
Jake rolled his eyes, "Oh we know about you." He said with a smirk on his face.
"I know. I should've stopped it. But damn it I was fucking horny!" We both laughed at that. "Can't I just get a blowjob and not have to worry about the repercussions like you straight guys?"
Jake nodded his head. "Yea, but did it have to be from Nate? You know that's a touchy area already. But I know what you mean, I had to take care of myself last night." Jake motioned with his hand like he was jerking off.
"Yeah, well I've had to do that for a while now, so don't judge me." I laughed back at him. "But, it gets worse..."
"Please don't tell me that he's in love with you." Jake looked at me.
"No!" I said trying to sound as thankful for that as possible. "Jayden texted me last night. He caught Ethan cheating on him again, and now it's over between the two of them. He was driving home at 4 in the morning."
"That's terrible. I'm sure he's a mess right now." Jake said.
"Oh yeah, wouldn't you be?" I asked.
"Well, yeah..." Jake looked over at me. "Just play this one carefully please. Figure it all out before you make a move."
I nodded back at him, "Oh I will. Nate didn't mean anything. If anything, it's just that we're so close, so it's just a friends with benefits thing."
"Yeah, but come on. You know you can't be doing that. Especially with him." Jake lectured.
We sat there for a second in silence. Jake was right about playing this one carefully. The feelings I had for Nate weren't the same that I had for Jayden. Losing Nate's friendship would be devastating to me. We had gotten even closer since coming out to each other. Another talk between the two of us would be in order, just to get everything out there. Hopefully the two of us felt the same way about the situation. Two friends who have been there for each other, but the hooking up needed to stop.
"Just sucks. The hooking up, from what I can remember, was pretty good." I looked over at Jake with a smile on my face. "He can suck some mean d..."
Jake threw a pillow at me. "That's enough. Get off my bed before you get boned up! Go get changed and let's survey the damage downstairs."
"Sounds good." I walked out of Jake's room and headed to mine.
The upstairs was still quiet. Aaron had gone back to the spare bedroom and was face down, sleeping again. I shook my head at him. I noticed the difference between when I jumped in the shower and now. Someone was definitely in bed with him earlier. I was going to have to find out who at some point. Walking into my room, I tried my best to be as quiet as possible. Nate was still passed out on my bed. He had moved a bit from when I got up, and now the covers were barely covering his naked body. After I adjusted the covers a bit, I slipped on a pair of boxers and shorts and walked back out of the room quickly. I walked downstairs to meet up with Jake.
"So what's the damage?" I asked as I walked down the stairs.
Jake looked up at me, "Nothing major."
"That's good." Doing a quick survey of the mess in our front room and dining room, I realized it wasn't too bad. "Just a lot of cups and beer bottles it looks like." I observed aloud.
"Yep." Jake turned on the TV and put on some football as we started to clean up.
"Here." I tossed him a trash bag, "So this was a successful party."
"For who?" Jake asked. "Summer and I got into an argument, you and Nate hooked up, and Aaron is once again throwing up in our house." Jake laughed at the last one.
I smiled back at him. "Don't be so negative. You know you had fun last night."
"You're right. This Summer thing is just bothering me." he said as his smile faded.
"I know man. I know." I patted his shoulder.
We continued picking up cups and empty bottles of beer with the football game in the background, but I wasn't paying too much attention to it. I just wanted to clean up as much as possible and then grab something to eat. After a few minutes of cleaning the dining room, I looked over and saw that Jake had taken a break and was watching the football game. I shook my head and walked my bag out to the backdoor. I opened the door and the cold October weather hit me full on. I hurried and ran the bag out to the trash and ran back inside. As I was closing the door and walking back into the front room, I heard a knock on the door.
Jake looked at me confused, "Who is that?"
I shrugged at him as I walked to the front door. "Who is it? I called said as I walked to the door.
Jake was leaning over looking out the window to see if he could see who it was. "Oh shit..." I heard him say as I opened the door.
I opened the door. "Jayden!" I was shocked to see him.
"Can I come in?" He asked. Looking at him I could tell he was visibly still upset and looked really tired.
"Uh..." I said staring at him. His arrival caught me a bit off guard.
He must've noticed me looking a little flustered. "Is this a bad time?"
"No it's not Jayden. Come in!" Jake yelled from the other room. "Tyler let him in, it's cold out."
I shook myself out of my daze. "Oh I'm sorry man. Just caught me a little off guard." I moved aside and let him in. "Of course you can come in, you don't have to ask."
Jayden forced a smile. "Thanks." His eyes looked a little puffy, I couldn't tell if it was from lack of sleep or from crying. Probably both. "I didn't mean to stop in. I just didn't really feel like being around the house right now."
"It's not a problem at all." I told him as we walked back into the front room. Jayden waved to Jake and sat down on the couch. "Long night?" I looked over at him.
Jayden just nodded back at me. "Yeah, I didn't get back till six this morning." I frowned. I felt a little awkward talking about this infront of Jake, especially knowing that Nate was sleeping in my bed upstairs. Naked.
"I'm getting a little cold Ty. I'm gonna grab a hoodie, you want me to grab you a shirt too?" Jake said nodding upstairs.
I could tell there was a double meaning to that since he knew Nate was upstairs in my room. "Uh yeah, can you grab me one from my room?"
"Sure thing bud." Jake got up and ran upstairs.
I looked over at Jayden who was sitting across from me on the couch. I felt so bad for him. He looked defeated in that moment. Sitting there, I tried to figure out what would be my best move. Let the silence between us speak for each other or reach out and try to comfort him? I reached over rubbed his leg. Jayden exhaled and looked like he calmed down a bit.
He gave my hand a squeeze and smiled back at me. "Thanks."
"Not a problem." I smiled back at him.
I heard Jake close the doors to our bedrooms and head back downstairs. I thought about moving my hand but decided to leave it there. When Jake got downstairs he nodded at me. Jayden's back was to him so he couldn't see him. Jake tossed me a hoodie and I threw it on.
"So who's up for some food?" Jake asked.
"God I could eat anything right now." I said.
"Same here...it was a long night." Jayden said, almost as if he was telling Jake more than he was telling me.
"I bet it was." Jake said. I looked at him in shock. "Ohh...I'm sorry..."
Jayden frowned a bit. "It's alright...you two tell each other everything don't you?"
We walked into the kitchen and started making some breakfast. While cooking we exchanged in small talk. Jayden asked us about the party last night. Jake was telling him about the guys losing to the girls team in flip cup when Jess and Matt walked in from Jess' room. Jess had a big smile on her face.
"Jayden!" Jess said sounding surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh I got in late last night..." Jayden said quietly. "Ethan and I broke up..." I noticed him look away quickly.
"I'm sorry buddy." Matt said and shook Jayden's hand in a friendly way. "I never liked him."
Jayden forced a smile. "Thanks man." Jess put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it. "It's going to take awhile but this time it's really done."
"I bet. We'll have to have a night and go and drink that bastard away." Matt said playfully. "So what are you guys making us?"
The smell of breakfast must have gone through the house cause within a few minutes of finishing cooking Aaron had come downstairs. He looked a little better from when I saw him in the bathroom. We were all sitting around the front room when I heard noise coming from upstairs. I knew it was Nate. I braced myself for what I knew was sure to be an awkward moment.
"Morning." Nate said as he walked down the stairs.
"Hey buddy!" Jake said with a smile on his face. He was loving this.
"Hey..." Nate took a look around the room. I was looking up at him, he looked away instantly when he saw Jayden. "Hey Jayden. I thought you were visiting Ethan this weekend?"
Jayden took a deep breath, "Yeah... we broke up. I came home last night."
I sat there on edge. I didn't know what to do. I got up and headed to the kitchen to throw my plate in the sink. I didn't turn around but I could feel Nate right behind me.
"So last night... Nate said.
I turned around and looked at Nate. I knew this was going to be it. "Yeah..."
"We shouldn't do that again." Nate said flatly.
I was relieved but at the same time a little put off by his tone of voice. I knew we shouldn't be messing around but something about the way he sounded really put me off. I didn't want to make anything out of it so I nodded my head without saying anything to agree with him. Now was not the time to have this conversation.
"It was a mistake." Nate was sounding just as stern as before.
"Nate." I exhaled. "I didn't know Jayden was going to show up..."
Just then Jayden walked into the kitchen with a few plates. "Did I hear my name?"
"Oh," I was a bit caught off guard. "I was just filling Nate in on what happened last night."
Jayden nodded, "Yeah. It was a shitty night for me."
"Me too." Nate said as he walked out of the kitchen.
The group of us finished eating and started to clean up the last of the mess. Jayden, Matt, and Jess were working on one room while the rest of us were finishing up in the front room. Aaron was pretty much oblivious to the tension in the room, but I knew Jake could tell something was up. He was trying to keep the cool between the Nate and me. He would ask one of us a question and then try to include the other. I was pissed that Nate was mad at me. I knew I fucked up, but he was in as much of the wrong as I was. It was around one when the house was looking back to normal. Matt and Jayden had left and Jess was in the shower.
"Hey Aaron do you want a ride back to your dorm?" Nate asked Aaron as he walked upstairs to my room.
"Yeah man, you think you could drop me off?"
"Sure. Let me just grab my phone and we can go." Nate said in the distance.
I grabbed the last of the trash bags and headed outside to dump them. Great, now Nate was pissed at me again. Things were getting exhausting. I knew deep down that Nate, while a good guy, would probably be best left as a friend, at least for now. I knew he knew it to. We had to quit this game we were playing with each other. I walked back in and heard the front door closing. I walked into the living room and Jake was about to sit back down on the couch.
"Did they really just leave like that?" I asked him.
"Yeah. Nate sure is pissed off today. I mean, I get it. But shit, it was just a hook up." Jake laughed.
"I know." I shook my head. "I just think after last week and now last night. It's a bit confusing. I'm supposed to be his friend and I'm confusing him." I trailed off. "Hell, I'm confusing myself."
"You know what you have to do. Fix this." Jake said from across the room. "I don't want this bleeding into the team. Fix this Tyler."
"Tyler. I'm serious. You're more adjusted to this situation than he is. He may be older but you're a little more comfortable with the whole situation. So fix it."
"Alright!" I was getting annoyed with Jake. I got up and went up to my room. I didn't want to think about it anymore.
"God, I hate that it's starting to get cold out." Jess said as she opened the door to the doughnut shop.
"I know. I'm all for having seasons but leaving the warm weather sucks." I walked in behind her.
"At least the sun is out." Jess looked up at the sky through the windows.
"Yeah, maybe it will warm up." I said.
We got in line at Bucky's Doughnuts to grab a quick breakfast before class. We talked amongst each other as we waited in line to have our orders taken. It had been a few days since the morning after the party. I hadn't talked to Jayden since he left the house Sunday. I figured it would be best to give him space and be there if he wanted me there. I could tell the break up stung a bit more this time.
We placed our orders and sat down. "So, is Nate still giving you the cold shoulder?"
I was looking out the window watching everyone as they walked down the street going about their day. I shrugged, "I guess. He's just being weird. I know I shouldn't have hooked up with him."
"Duh." Jess said to me in a matter of fact like tone.
I nudged her on the shoulder, "Shut up."
"I'm just playing, Ty. I mean, I know it wasn't your smartest move. But he's as much to blame as you are. Well maybe we can just blame Summer and her bottle of Ciroc!"
I laughed. "I agree. Lets blame them!"
The cook called our orders out. I turned to grab them. As I turned around I saw someone who looked like Nate walk by the windows. I stopped for a second to see if it was him.
"You okay?" Jess looked at me questionably.
I shook off the trance I was in. "Yeah, sorry. Just thought I saw Nate for a second."
"Did I ever tell you this was where I first met Nate?"
"No. You didn't meet him at your first practice?"
"Nah..." I sat back down at our table and told her the story of how my family came here for breakfast before they left back to California. "Who would've guessed, 3 years later, that the two of us would have hooked up?" I laughed.
"Right. Well I never pinned Nate as gay so I'm just as shocked as you. I knew he was a bit emotional but never thought he was gay." Jess took a sip of her drink. "God, I swear you gay guys get all the good ones." She crumbled up a napkin and threw it at me.
I swatted it away. "Oh shut up. Matt isn't so bad."
"True. I did catch a cute one didn't I?"
I nodded agreeing with her. "He is a good one. So I knew you guys were talking, but didn't think it would go somewhere so fast."
Jess looked over at me for a second, "You think I moved too fast?"
"No!" I said. "I just never pegged you for a girl who dated a guy in a frat."
"Me either." Jess smiled at me. "I figure it was time to try something different. Plus he's a good guy. Jayden is always raving about him."
"Well that's good then. I mean, I never thought I'd even be in a position to potentially date a guy in a fraternity. Aren't they just supposed to get drunk then hook up with their brothers and blame the alcohol?" I joked with Jess.
Jess nodded back at me. "Or like they say in that one song, it's not gay if it's in a three way!" I almost spit out my food after hearing Jess say that. I started laughing really loud. "Tyler, be quiet!" Jess was trying her best to keep me quiet.
"I'm sorry..." I tried to compose myself. "I just started thinking to the music video to that."
Jess started laughing too. "God that video kills me."
"Okay..." I took a deep breath, "So how has Jayden been?" I tried my best to stop thinking of the video and get back to our conversation.
Jess composed herself, "Not good. I mean, I didn't know him last year when they broke up the first time. He got sent home from work yesterday. He was a mess. Matt said he's been keeping to himself the past few days too."
"Yeah. You have class with him next don't you?" Jess asked me.
"Check up on him." She seemed concerned about him too.
I nodded back at her, "Alright."
We finished eating and headed out of the diner to go to our classes. I felt so full that I was ready for a nap. Walking outside, it had definitely warmed up a bit from when we walked in to the diner. The two of us walked across the street talking about the rest of the day. We got to the part of the Oval where the two of us would go our separate ways. She reminded me to try and check up on Jayden during class. I told her I would and headed over to my building. Taking in the cool fall weather, I went over in my head what I wanted to work on at practice today. I was so caught up in my own world I didn't even realize how quickly I got to my building. As I walked up the stairs, I hoped Jayden would at least be in class today.
I turned into the classroom off the hallway and looked over to my seat. I saw Jayden looking out the window. He was looking a little rough today. I put my bag down and took my seat. Jayden looked up and forced a smile.
"Hey buddy." I said to him.
"Hey." Jayden said quietly.
"How's it going?" I asked him while sitting down next to him.
Jayden looked up at me and sighed, "I've been better." He ran his hands through his hair. "It's been a rough few days for me."
I felt bad hearing and seeing how hard he was taking this. "You'll get through this, man. Ethan was an asshole and didn't see what a great guy he had." I told him.
Jayden looked over and gave me a small smile.
I checked the clock on my phone. "Hey, let's get out of here."
He looked up at me questionably. "Let's skip class today. You don't need to be here, and I'm not feeling it today either." I laughed.
"You sure? Can't you get in trouble for missing classes without an excuse?"
"Jayden, we're not in elementary school. I can miss the occasional class here and there." His concern made me laugh. "My scholarship or place on the team isn't going to be in trouble over a missed class every once in a while."
"Alright!" Jayden seemed to perk up instantly. "I do need to get out of here."
We hurried and packed out things and left class. I was laughing at some of the confused faces of the other students in class. Before walking out of the classroom we looked both ways to make sure we wouldn't get caught by our professor. The two of us hurried down the stairs and out of the building. I couldn't stop laughing at how covert Jayden was trying to be. Before we would open the door he'd peak his head through it to make sure our professor wasn't there.
"So what did you want to do?" I asked him.
"Well I just ate, how about you?"
"Jess and I caught a bite before class."
He nodded back at me. "Well, it is kinda nice out today. How about we go down to the river and walk the trail?"
"I could do that." We started headed towards the river trail. "We can drop off our stuff in my car. The gym is right next to the trail."
The two of us headed toward the trail. While walking I tried to bring up things that would keep his mind off of the whole Ethan mess. After dropping our stuff off at my car we headed down to the trail.
"So when am I going to get to see you do your thing?" Jayden asked me.
I was confused for a second and then realized he was talking about gymnastics. "Oh, well we have an exhibition intersquad thing the first weekend in December."
"You guys have people come to those?" I hit him on the arm playfully in reply. "Hey what was that for?"
"Oops." I laughed. "I thought you were joking like we actually have fans."
Jayden shook his head back at me. "No. I meant like, can people come watch?"
"Well...I got that now." I said. "This is our only free meet that we have. We break up into groups of four and all compete against each other. It's mostly a fun meet where we perform our routines full out in front of a crowd for the first time."
"Sounds awesome. I can't wait." Jayden put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "Just don't go falling all over the place."
"I'll try not to." I smiled.
We both laughed and took in the day. You could hear in the distance the sound of cars and such from campus, but it felt oddly peaceful out there. The two of use kept talking about my gymnastics. Jayden seemed to be really interested in it. I had to warn him that once I get started talking it's hard to stop, but he ate it up. We stopped and sat down on a bench that overlooked the river.
"I think it's so cool though, Tyler." Jayden said to me. "I mean, looking at you, you're built, attractive, social, confident, and a pretty good student. But just looking at you, I wouldn't be able to tell that you're this awesome gymnast."
I felt myself starting to blush a little bit. "I'm not that good."
"You are..." Jayden moved in a little close to me. "Jake tells me you like to downplay how good you are."
"Did he?" I looked over at Jayden and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm going to cut him." I laughed. "What else has he said?" I wondered.
"I can't say." Jayden said with a devilish smile.
"Oh come on...mister fraternity big guy. You can tell me."
"Oh really? You think I'm some big guy in a fraternity?"
"Well you are, aren't you?" I laughed.
Jayden laughed, "Something like that."
"Exactly! Super star fraternity guy."
We both were laughing as we tried to one up each other. "Fine. But you got to promise not to tell him I told you."
"He's my best friend. We have no secrets."
"Tyler..." Jayden said a little more serious.
"Alright, alright. Promise."
"Good. Cause I'll kick your ass if you do." Jayden said in a half serious voice.
"Please..." I playfully swatted the air. While Jayden wasn't a small guy, I was definitely the more built of the two of us.
"Anyways, one day when we weren't talking..." There was an awkward pause and the two of us looked away off into the distance. "Well I bumped into Jake and we ended up having lunch together."
"He never told me that."
"Well looks like you don't tell each other everything." Jayden joked. "We got to talking and he started talking about gymnastics. I was asking him about you."
I nodded, I was interested in hearing what Jake had to say.
"Well he was just telling me like how the two of you first met and everything. All he really said is that you're one of the best guys in the nation but you'd never know because you play it off like you're not that good. He said it frustrates him sometimes. He sees how good you are and you don't even realize it."
I was a little taken aback by this. "Jayden, don't believe the hype."
"Shut up Tyler. You asked me and I'm telling you."
I rolled my eyes and nodded.
"He said, he just gets frustrated that you have a natural talent whereas him and other guys work just as hard if not harder to be as good as you. I was kinda taken aback because the Tyler I know is confident or at least fakes it well. But he said, something happens when you're on the floor competing. Yeah, you're doing good and one of the top guys on the team. But you're lack of self awareness and confidence is holding you back."
It was a little tough to hear all that. I frowned a little bit and I think Jayden noticed and looked concerned. "It's alright...I'm fine." I said. I took a deep breath. "God, he really does know me better than I even know myself."
I smiled at him. "I agree with most of what he said. I don't know why. I know all the things the two of you said are true. I just..." I sighed. "I'm just afraid."
"Of being, 'that guy'." I said.
Jayden looked confused, "What do you mean?"
"That if I do start realizing how good I am, that it can be taken away in one big swoop. As a gymnast, I've learned to block out the fear that in one bad fall, one simple mistake, and I could lose it all. But that doesn't mean it isn't there."
Jayden nodded back at me. "Wow...I never would've thought of you as someone to be scared."
"I'm not scared. But I have so much to lose if I become 'that guy'."
Jayden shook his head, "You have nothing to lose."
"Jayden, one injury, or even something like me being outted. I could lose it all." I was a bit flustered. I didn't expect our walk to go like this.
"So that's what this is all about? You're afraid you might be outted?"
"Not only that..." I said quietly. Jayden was seeing right through me.
"I don't buy it. You have a great support group of friends, and from what I can tell, family. I think you're using that as an excuse.'
"I'm not using this as an excuse."
"Then tell me, cause if being outted and being afraid you might hurt yourself are what's holding you back then you're not the guy I thought you were." I could tell that he was getting frustrated.
"Jayden!" I was a bit shocked at that. "You don't understand, it's a lot of pressure. It's like I'm afraid to be the guy that the others look up to, the one that they can count on, the one who knows how good he is and performs like he knows how good he is. I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint everyone one of these days."
"Don't be afraid of something you clearly love so much Tyler. Accept it. Embrace it. You are that good. You have potential to be, 'that guy'. And being, 'that guy' isn't something that should be frowned upon. Ever" Jayden stood up and started walking towards the bank of the river.
I stood up and followed him down to the edge of the river. "It's easy..." Jayden cut me off.
"'That guy' that I know is in there was a guy I made the stupid mistake of letting my own fears hold me back from. I was afraid that maybe you were out of my league and Ethan was the best I could do. That fear, sent me back to Ethan." Jayden stopped and looked at me. "While I may be hurting right now, and I'm not ready to get back into anything serious right now. I'm also not going away anytime soon and I hope when I'm ready, 'that guy' will be still be there."
I was speechless at what Jayden had just said to me. I looked up at him and he was staring at me with a smile on his face. I wanted to kiss him in that moment but restrained myself. I pulled him into a big hug and squeezed him as tight as my arms would let me.
Jayden stiffened a bit almost surprised at my strength. "Tyler you're gonna break me." He laughed and I loosened my grip on him a bit.
Smiling back at him, "Alright..."
"Alright what?" Jayden looked at me in the eyes and asked.
"I'll do it. I'll stop be afraid of possibly becoming, 'that guy'."
"What about the second thing I mentioned... ?"
"Isn't that part of becoming 'that guy'?" I smiled back at him.
"Good." Jayden backed up from me. "Cause this guy..." He pointed at himself "Could in time, find himself really interested in that guy." Jayden poked me in my chest with his finger.
We laughed and walked up from the bank back onto the trail and started heading back to campus.
To Be Continued!
Sorry it has taken so long for the next chapter! The next chapter release shouldn't be too long after this as I've basically split what was supposed to be chapter 7 into two chapters. Thank you all for your continued support of the story. Any comments, suggestions, or hate mail for taking so long for this chapter... :-) feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, sorry for the wait.