STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
© Copyright 2000 by archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.
Brian was in love. Totally infatuated. He woke up and fell asleep with the same person on his mind.
It was not Matt who was the object of his desire. He loved Matt dearly, but he was a father figure. Matt listened to him and calmed his fears. He could tell Matt anything, and he knew that whatever Matt decided to do, or whatever advice he gave it was for the best.
Nor was it Tim who occupied his fantasies and dreams. Tim was more like a big brother, although he could be firm when the situation called for it. Tim had a tough, manly exterior, but inside Brian knew he was a sentimental teddy bear.
Nor did he fantasize about Marty, Leah or Bill. Not even Jason or Mike.
It was Jake.
Jake was in every class that Brian was in at Forest Trails Junior High. Brian thought he was beautiful. Jake was a handsome boy. He had brown hair and brown eyes, and a wide smile. He had uncommonly wide shoulders for a thirteen-year-old that taped down to a narrow waist.
Brian felt a dull ache for Jake. He ache was less noticeable during the day when Brian could at least be near Jake. He would sit at the same table as Jake in the lunchroom, watching him as discreetly as he could while the other boys talked about sports and girls.
Brian's locker was right next to Jake's in the locker room. Brian had to concentrate not to get hard as they changed for PE. He tried not to stare at the well-developed penis of the other boy. But, Brian's vision operated like a camera. He took a mental snapshot, and when he was alone in his room that night, he would process the negative into a masturbation fantasy.
Brian just wanted to be around him all the time. He would plan his movements between classes so that he encountered Jake. He tried to talk to him, followed him discreetly. He thought about calling him, and even looked in the Park Forest phone book, but couldn't find a listing.
There was just one problem: Jake was straight. Brian knew it. He knew it was impossible to hope that Jake would hold him in his arms and kiss him. He wanted to hear Jake tell him that he loved him in his deep voice, but he knew that wasn't about to happen either.
Matt was concerned about Brian. He had noticed the subtle changes in Brian. When Matt was in parenting classes at St. Luke's, they discussed depression and the signs to watch for. Matt observed the changed and kept an eye out for the signs. He told Tim about his concerns.
"I think he's OK, Matt. He's an adolescent. They all get this way sometimes."
"I don't know. Something is on his mind."
"I think he's in love."
"Really?" Matt cuddled up to Tim. "Who could it be?"
"It's someone at school. Someone we don't know yet."
"Let's tell him he can invite someone over for our cookout and see who invites."
"Matt, you are brilliant."
"Thank you, thank you, I know."
Religious Education classes started at St. Irenaeus. The eighth grade classes met on Monday nights. It was a huge program, and even the large school building couldn't accommodate all the students at once. The preschool and kindergarten met on Sunday mornings. Primary grades met on Saturday mornings at 10. Seventh grade through high school met on Monday nights. The St. Irenaeus Religious Education Program was one of the largest in the Chicago Archdiocese. They had over 600 students from preschool to 12th grade. There were four classes of eighth graders.
Brian entered the classroom at St. Irenaeus first. He sat at one of the long tables arranged in a U. An older, matronly woman greeted him with a smile. She introduced herself as Mrs. Barringer. One by one, kids drifted into the room. He recognized a few of them from school, but didn't know their names. One of the last to enter the classroom was Jake.
Jake's face lit up when he spotted Brian. Luckily, the seat next to Brian was empty.
"This sucks," Jake whispered to Brian.
"Yeah, my dad made me come."
"My mom made me come. You live with your dad?"
"I wish I lived with my dad. Are they divorced? Your parents, I mean."
"No. I'm adopted." Brian lied. Well, it wasn't too far from the truth.
"Cool. Hey, here comes the teacher. Get with me after class."
Mrs. Barringer had taught the class for years, and knew exactly what the kids needed to learn. Since she had so much experience, she was often given the students who needed extra help or attention.
She started to pass out papers. There were Truths of the Faith, Commandments and Beatitudes. There were lists of Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, all which had to be learned and memorized by Confirmation in March.
"Look at all this!" Jake thumbed through the pages. "This is a hell of a lot of work. Hey – maybe we could get together and study."
Brian's heart skipped a beat. Could he be hearing this correctly?
"We could go to your house," he whispered. "Allegra said your dad was way cool." Allegra was a cute, petite, African American girl who was part of their group.
Brian could hardly speak. His heart started to beat faster. He didn't want to seem too eager, so he tempered his voice when he answered. "That's cool. I'll check with my dad. He's pretty strict about me having friends over when he's not there." Brian purposely used the word friends to indicate that Jake might be included in that description.
At the end of class, they exchanged phone numbers, and made tentative plans to get together to study.
"How was class, kiddo?" Tim picked him up, since Matt was working late.
"Not bad. Better than I thought."
"Good, I'm glad."
They were silent for a few blocks. "Hey, Tim? How do you know when you're in love?"
Tim thought I knew that's what the problem was. "Are you in love with someone?"
"No, it's a friend. A friend asked my advice."
"I see." Tim grinned in the darkness of the car.
"Like, how did you know you loved Matt?"
"I just knew."
"Was it like love at first sight?"
"For me, it was. I knew I wanted him in my life. And I was willing to wait for him while he made up his mind. It took a couple months, though."
As he opened the passenger door, Brian asked, "When did you know he loved you?"
Tim chuckled as he unlocked the back door. "I knew he loved me before he knew he loved me. I had to wait for him."
Brian tossed his backpack on the couch. Tim picked it up and handed back to the boy. Without a word, Brian he hung up the backpack where it belonged.
Tim approached from behind him and started to tickle him. He screeched and wriggled and spun around to face him. Tim tackled him to the floor and started to tickle the boy, while Brian thumped his heels on the floor.
"Stop, Tim," he gasped.
"So, what are all these questions about, Brian? Are you in love with someone?"
Brian nodded, and a tear rolled down his cheek. Tim pulled him close.
"I wish I could make it all go away for you. Do I know him?"
Brian shook his head. Tim sat on the couch and Brian sat next to him. "He's straight."
"Straight is a relative term at your age. I mean, a lot of boys experiment with sex but it doesn't mean anything lasting."
"It's just that he doesn't love me back."
"Oh, I'm sorry, hon." Tim pulled the boy to him again, and held him tight.
"Now I know how it feels." Brian said quietly.
"What do you mean?"
"When we were in Michigan, Matt asked me if there was anyone who loved me, but I didn't love them back. I told him there was, I mean, there is. His name is Mike. He loves me, or at least that's what he told me. Now I know how it feels," he repeated as he dissolved into tears once again.
"Hurts, doesn't it? It hurt me when I thought Matt didn't love me. Sometimes, though, love grows if you let it. Maybe the person you love will grow to love you. Or maybe you will grow to love Mike. You never know. You may wake up one day and say to yourself, `What a geek I am! I loved Mike all along and I never knew it!" He playfully poked Brian in the ribs and he giggled. "So what is the name of the creep who doesn't love you?"
Brian chuckled and tickled Tim's ribs.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Tim."
"No problem, kiddo."
"It's Jake. Jake Wagner."
Tim pondered a moment. Wagner. Wagner. That sounded so familiar. It would come to him. To Brian he said, "Tell you what we do. Why don't you invite him over for our barbecue on the 25th? That way we can meet him, and I can slap some sense into him, if necessary."
"Tim, you're a dork," he said with affection. "But that's a good idea."
"I may be a dork, but I love you."
"And I love you back."
"I was beginning to wonder if you had washed down the drain."
Brian had just emerged from 45 minutes in the bathroom. He had just gotten a haircut. Matt called the style the Tupperware cut because it looked as if a bowl had been inverted on his head and shaved around. The remaining hair was left longish. It was a cut well suited for a boy or young man, although Matt thought that an older man would look ridiculous in it. Brian had applied some gel to his hair, which gave it a shine, and darkened it a shade. He wore jeans, a navy blue sweater vest over a clean white T-shirt. He had a simple silver chain around his neck. As he approached Matt, he could smell the cologne.
"Is that my cologne you're wearing?"
"Please ask next time, and don't use quite so much." OK, Matt, that's enough of the nagging parent routine. "You look very cute."
Brian looked embarrassed. "Oh, Dad."
"So, are you ready?"
"We're a little early."
Tim tuned the radio to B96. Friday and Saturday nights were dedicated to The Party, which consisted of dance remixes of top 40 hits. "Come on!" He grabbed Brian's hand.
Brian, in turn, motioned to Matt. With a laugh, Matt started dancing.
Brian commented to Tim, "The old man can dance!"
"Of course, I can smartass. It's like the old joke: Why did God make gay men?"
"Why?" Tim asked. He hadn't heard the joke either.
"So fat chicks would have someone to dance with."
"Matt, you are so bad."
They laughed as they danced around the living room, making up dances as they went. Tim and Matt did a modified lindy. Matt started to teach an impromptu lesson of the Bus Stop. They shook and twitched, jumped and twisted.
Before long, they were breathless and laughing. Tim collapsed on the couch.
Matt took Brian's had to show him some steps. "Your hand is cold. Are you nervous?"
"A little." The dance would be Brian's first coed social event. Coed dances didn't occur at St. Luke's.
"Just relax and be yourself. And have fun."
The Back to School Dance at Forest Trail Junior High was actually planned the previous school year by the Student Council. The reasoning behind this was the new Student Council wasn't elected until the end of September, and it was easier to book a DJ if it was done in advance.
As Brian entered the gym, it was already warm with adolescent bodies and greatly outnumbered chaperones. The air was redolent with cheap perfume and cologne, the kinds that the kids could afford with their allowances or babysitting money. The gym was darkened. Different colored spotlights were directed at the walls around the perimeter of the gym at about ten-foot intervals. The DJ had also brought an array of lighting effects.
As soon as he entered the gym, Allegra gave a shout; grabbed Diane's hand and they ran toward him.
"It's about time you got here."
"Where is everybody?" Brian almost had to shout. The DJ was playing Runaway Train by Soul Asylum.
"Marcie and Pam are over on the bleachers. John is standing with the boys. Jake and Valerie aren't here yet. Come on, let's dance."
"This isn't a very good song. I mean it's not a good song to dance to."
"Yes, it is. Let's go," Diane insisted, and took him by the forearm.
The trio danced near a speaker. As Brian danced, he glanced around the gym, he saw the girls standing on one side of the gym and the boys on the other. Since it was still early, only a few adventurous couples dared dance. For the most part, the sixth and seventh grade boys were too immature and too scared to ask the girls to dance.
When the song ended, they headed toward the section of the bleachers that Brian's clique had claimed for the evening.
"There's my homeboy!" Jake exclaimed when they approached. He hooked his arm around Brian's neck and pulled him close, then released him after a moment. Brian was thrilled at being called Jake's homeboy as well as the casual physical affection.
John had also joined the group as had Valerie. Valerie had a pretty face despite being a bit heavier. She had a crush on Brian, as did most every other girl at Forest Trails. Brian's arrival had caused a sensation. The girls wanted his attention and affection. However, they were perplexed by his cool response.
"I'm going to say `hi' to a few more people," Jake said.
"The king mingling with his subjects," Pam said sarcastically.
"I'll deal with you later," he smilingly responded to her, and went off on his rounds. Pam and Jake were rumored to be an item. Pam's comment about Jake being a king wasn't too far from the truth. Brian's group was possibly the most popular in the school.
Brian sat next to Pam on the bleachers.
"You look cute," she complimented.
"Thanks," he mumbled and felt his cheeks get hot. It was a good thing the gym was dark, or she would have seen him blush.
He liked Pam. She was a cheerleader and about the furthest one could get from the stereotype of a cheerleader. She was decisive and outspoken and knew what she wanted, and Brian admired her for that. He liked her dry, sarcastic sense of humor. She could be tough as nails, however, when the situation called for it.
The DJ put on Two Princes by the Spin Doctors, which Brian loved. Valerie approached, and asked Brian to dance.
He smiled, and said yes.
Brian was a bit uncomfortable dancing with her. The dance floor was still almost empty, and it made him uneasy to be on stage as the other students watched. Brian was also aware of how Valerie felt, and didn't want to encourage her in any way. Just by asking Brian to dance, Valerie had scored a major coup. This single dance with him would enhance her popularity.
The punchline to Matt's joke echoed through his mind, and he smiled to himself. When the song ended, he smiled and thanked her.
The DJ started a set of extended mixes. He started with Respect Yourself by Madonna. Even though it was a few years old, he suspected it would get his junior high audience dancing. And it did.
Diane motioned to Pam and Jake. Pam took Valerie's hand, and she grabbed Brian. The rest of the kids followed. They danced in a large group in front of one of the throbbing speakers. Brian felt more comfortable in a group situation. He was intimidated by one-on-one situations with girls.
Brian was having the time of his life. He was dancing with his friends, the group that had taken him in almost from his first day at school. The music was good and he liked to dance, and he knew he was good at it. Better than John and Jake, although he kept that opinion to himself. He and the music became one.
The DJ kept the momentum going by playing an extended remix of Lemon from U2's brand-new album Zooropa. Next came Divine Thing by the Soup Dragons. Then, he played one of his personal favorites, Platetectonic by the Chicago-based Poi Dog Pondering. He ended with Bizarre Love Triangle. The New Order song was so well received by the audience, that the DJ let the entire nine-minute extended remix play without interruption.
He slowed the pace down a bit with Sting's If I Ever Lose My Faith In You. Most kids chose to take a break, and headed for the bleachers. Brian had been having so much fun, he hardly noticed that he was perspiring.
"You can really shake it, Brian," Jake complimented. "Where did you learn to dance like that?"
Brian was elated that Jake had noticed. "My dad."
"And your dad is – what – a professional dancer?" They laughed at Pam's comment, since they knew there was no malice behind it.
"That's cool," Jake said. The other kids nodded and mumbled agreement.
"Is it true you're adopted?" Pam never shied away from blunt questions.
"His dad is way cool," Allegra added. "When we were over at his house we ate all the Pringle's, a whole package of hot dogs, and two frozen pizzas. When he saw what we ate, he just laughed."
The other kids looked at Brian with a combination of envy and wonder, especially the ones who hadn't met Matt yet. How did he get such a cool dad?
The DJ started a slow set of songs with I Will Always Love You from the soundtrack of The Bodyguard. Jake grinned at Pam, and they went off to the floor. John and Marcie danced together. Diane took Valerie's hand and they giggled to another part of the gym, leaving Allegra and Brian.
"Would you like to dance?" Allegra asked.
It was terror time for Brian. He had never held a girl so close, and wasn't sure he wanted to start now. Although, he admitted to himself, Pam and Allegra were the two he would fell most comfortable dancing with. He made up a quick excuse; "No, thanks, I hate this song."
"That's OK, so do I."
He watched Pam and Jake as they did their slow rotations. A wave of jealousy washed over him. He wanted Jake to hold him the same way and feel his lips graze his neck and cheeks just like he was doing now to Pam. He realized that it could never happen, and his jealously turned to sadness.
The next song was by PM Dawn. Brian smiled at Allegra and asked her to dance.
His hands turned cold and clammy as he took her into his arms. Jake caught his eye and flashed him a thumbs-up. He found it difficult to relax and remained stiff. As he danced with the pretty girl, he pondered about his sexuality. Why did he like the angular lines and flat planes of a boy's body over the curves of a girl's body? For a moment, he wished he weren't gay. He wanted to be just like all other kids here. I'm probably the only gay kid here, he thought. In junior high, conformity is everything.
When the song was over, he gallantly took both her hands and thanked her.
She smiled sadly at him. Somehow, she knew he was unattainable. Her popularity would be enhanced and she would be the buzz of the school on Monday. But somehow, that was little consolation to her.
"Hand check!" The DJ yelled into the microphone. "Let's heat this place up again."
He played I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't do That) and Brian and his group congregated near the speaker again. It wasn't the best song to dance to since the tempo was so changeable. But, they danced anyway and acted out the song. They had a hilarious time acting out the song. The boys lip-synched Meatloaf's parts and the girls did the same with the female vocalist.
All too soon, the dance was over.
Brian waited in front of the school for Tim or Matt to pick him up. The perspiration chilled his skin, and his ears rang from the loud music. Diane and Valerie said good-bye to him as they got into a car. Other kids did too, even ones he didn't know.
He had a set of mixed emotions and wasn't sure what to do about them. He had had a good time at the dance. The most popular clique had accepted him and they lavished compliments on him. He had danced and had a good time. His crowd had even accepted Matt. Matt was now identified as a cool parent, which Brian had already known, but it was nice to hear it from his peers. Jake had complimented him and called him `homeboy.' He had even touched him casually.
But in another sense, he was sad. Realistically, Jake would never hold him the way he held Pam. And that made him sad. He loved being held by Matt and Tim but it just wasn't the same. He yearned for contact with someone his own age emotionally and physically. He wanted the romance. Most of all, he wanted to know he wasn't alone.
Jake came up behind him and patted him on his back. "Man, you really can shake it! So are we still on for tomorrow night?"
How could he forget? "Yup. All set."
"I could stay overnight. My mom has been a bitch lately, and I need to get out of the house."
Brian almost stopped breathing. "I'll check with my dad." This was a dream come true.
Just then, Matt pulled up. Brian opened the passenger door. "Dad this is Jake. He's coming over tomorrow for our cookout."
Matt turned down the radio. Matt shook the surprisingly large hand the other boy had thrust into the car. So this is the boy Brian has been pining over. He doesn't register on the gaydar, but he is very cute. At least Brian has good taste.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Matt said. "I'm glad you can join us."
"Do you think Jake could spend the night?"
"Sure, why not? If it's OK with your parents, Jake, you are welcome."
Brian jumped in the front seat and shut the door. "See you tomorrow, Jake."
When they pulled away, Brian asked, "So, who's going to be there tomorrow?"
"Mrs. Levine, Bill might drop by, Marty…."
"Marty?" Brian asked in horror.
Matt was perfectly aware of Brian's concern. Brian didn't want Marty to camp it up in front of his friend. "I'll ask Marty to behave himself. He'll never pass for a football player, but he won't embarrass you, either."
"What about Tim?"
"What about him?"
"How am I going to introduce him?"
"I forgot about Tim." How were they going to explain Tim's presence? This whole thing was getting more complicated by the moment. To Matt, it felt like a recipe for disaster.