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 2004 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

Thicker Than Water

Chapter 16

Mondays were always hectic at the bookstore.

Matt almost always worked the day shift on Mondays because there was so much going on that needed the manager’s attention. The store almost always received a freight shipment on Mondays, and at this time of the year, the company was already increasing the stock levels in anticipation of Christmas. Magazines arrived on Mondays, as did books that customers had special ordered.

About two that afternoon, his district manager, Julia, called. Besides being one of the best bosses he had ever worked for, he liked her personally as well. She had a wicked sense of humor. She was a PIB - Person In Black.

"Hey!" she said when Matt got on the phone. "Did I tell you you’re leading one of the sessions at the district meeting?"


"Well, you’re leading one of the sessions at the district meeting. I volunteered you."

Matt laughed. "Thanks a lot, Julia," he said sarcastically.

"Anything for my favorite manager."

"What do I have to talk about?"

"Creative sales events."

"We could give it some quasi-intellectual title. Like: Create Excitement in Your Store With Zany Sales Events. How long do I have to talk?"

"Fifty minutes to an hour."

"Yikes! That’s a long time! I have no problem with public speaking, you know that, but I don’t know if I can sustain them that long."

"Well, you did the Superbowl of Romance and the Shave the Manager’s Moustache Off Contest. Talk about how you got your staff behind these things. You weren’t able to pull these things off by yourself, right?"

The Superbowl of Romance was a book signing with seven romance authors who happened to be in Chicago for a convention. Matt had set up a signing for all seven on Superbowl Sunday. The Shave the Manager’s Moustache Off was a contest among his staff to suggestive sell a certain title. It had generated so much excitement sales went through the roof in August; normally a very slow month for book sales.

"Brainstorm with your staff and we’ll put them together and create a handout for the session. You can also brainstorm for ideas from the other managers. In the meantime, I’ll ask the other district managers if they have any other ideas to contribute."

Matt sighed. He dreaded the extra responsibility of making the presentation but he knew Julia wouldn’t ask him to do it if she didn’t think he was capable.

"Don’t forget," Julia added, "that a lot of the company brass is going to be there. Managers are presenting all the breakout sessions this year and they’ll be dropping in to see what’s going on. This is your chance to shine, Matt."

"Thanks, Julia. No pressure there." Matt’s voice dripped with sarcasm.

"You can do it, Matt. I’ll help you."

Matt sighed with resignation. "OK. But do me one favor? Can you email the other managers in the district and ask them to send me their ideas?"

"You got it."

After Matt hung up the phone he slapped his forehead. "What have I gotten myself into?"

Tim had once told him that one of his favorite sounds in the world was the sound of driver’s door of Matt’s Saturn slamming when he arrived home from work. Perhaps that was why Matt had taken to slamming the door just a bit harder when he pulled into the parking space in back of their townhouse.

Through the kitchen window, Matt could see Tim standing over the stove, attentively watching something cook.

Matt paused on the stoop to watch him for a brief moment. His love for Tim never ceased to amaze him. There were still moments that he wondered what the handsome, muscular, blue-eyed man ten years his junior saw in him. Granted, those moments of self-doubt occurred with less frequency more than a year into their relationship. Still, Matt paused from time to time in wonder and awe at the power of love. Love had helped Matt overcome many of his own insecurities and put his ruinous relationship with Andy safely behind him.

Matt indulged in one more moment just before he opened the door to drink in the sight of Tim’s backside. Tim had tucked a snowy T-shirt into perfectly faded jeans. The juxtaposition of the denim and cotton materials at his waistline emphasized his broad shoulders the perfect V of his back.

Tim’s back was to the kitchen door when Matt entered and placed his Dayrunner on the snack bar that separated the kitchen and dining area.

Matt sighed at the sight and wrapped his arms around his lover’s waist.

"Long day, hon?"

Matt kissed his neck before answering. "Very. What are you cooking? It smells good."

"I’m not."

"What do you mean you’re not?"

"I’m not cooking, Brian is. I’m just stirring."

"Brian? Cooking?"

"I think they’re trying for the Hoover Suck-Up Award. Earlier Jake vacuumed the living room without being asked!"

Matt smirked. "Something is definitely up. They want something. Tommy folded all the laundry yesterday. Granted, he didn’t do the greatest job, but it was the thought that counts, I guess." He chuckled.

Just then, Brian entered the kitchen and placed a hand on Matt’s shoulder. "Thanks for stirring, Tim. Now could you parent-types excuse me, please? This kitchen is too small for the three of us."

Matt was amused. "And a cheery hello to you, too, son."

"Hi, dad. I love you. Now get out."

"Don’t have to ask me twice." Matt took Tim by the hand and led him to the living room couch where they sat side-by-side with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Cuddling was a rare treat especially at this time of the day. Usually the two men were involved with dinner preparations or making plans to taxi the boys to one event or another. Since it was Monday, the boys would need a ride to St. Irenaeus for CCD in about an hour.

Matt picked up the remote and switched on the TV, turned to Tim and kissed him with affection. "So what do you think they want?"

"My guess is that they want to go to Homecoming."

"You’re probably right."

Tim’s face sobered. "What do you think, Matt? Should we let them off the hook?"

Matt pursed his lips in thought. "They have been extraordinarily good. They’ve come right home from school and they’ve done all their chores. But the big money question is: Have they learned their lesson?"

"I think so, Matt. You know they’re basically great kids."

The phone rang and neither Matt nor Tim moved. They knew that their sons would dive over each other to answer it.

"I got it," Brian shouted from the kitchen. "Hang it up, butthead!"

Matt and Tim exchanged looks. "So much for progress," Tim mumbled.

"Hey, what do you want for your birthday?" Matt asked him.

"A cell phone."

Matt wrinkled his nose. "Another one? Don’t you have one for work?"

"Yeah, but I leave it at the construction office. I want a personal cell phone so the boys can reach me. And so I can call my man."

"You know you can call the store anytime."


"Oh, who can resist those big blue husband eyes?"

"Are you off on Sunday?"


"Want to go house hunting?"

Matt inhaled a sharp breath. It was another issue that gave Matt a queasy, uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach. Buying a house together meant commitment. Big time commitment. Matt fought back the feeling and nodded his agreement.

Tim’s smile was radiant. "I’ll check out The Star and maybe even make an appointment with an agent."

Brian carried the wireless phone into the living room and held it out to Matt. "It’s for you."

"Who is it?" The two men hadn’t heard the phone ring but that didn’t mean much. They had call waiting, three-way calling, and automatic callback. All of these added "products" nearly doubled their monthly basic phone bill, not including long distance.

Brian pushed the mute button. "It’s Pam."

"Pam? Why does she want to talk to me?"

Brian shrugged.

Matt narrowed his eyes and regarded his son. Something was definitely up. He glanced at Tim who shrugged.

Feeling like he was being set up, Matt took the phone from Brian. "Hi, Pam."

"Hi, Mr. R! I mean, Matt!" She laughed her throaty Kathleen Turner-like laugh.

"What can I do for you?"

"Well, I need a favor." She began talking very rapidly, stumbling over her words. "I’m really in a bind. You know Brian was going to take me to Homecoming. But he got in trouble. Well, of course, you know that! I found another date but he’s sick! I was going to ask my cousin, who goes to Lincoln-Way and their homecoming is the same night." As Pam blathered on, Matt’s eyes shot daggers at Brian. Matt knew where the conversation was heading.

"So do you think you could? Please?"

"I’m sorry, Pam, I lost you." He really wanted to say I’m sorry Pam; I’m plotting on how best to murder my son.

"Could Brian take me to Homecoming? Please? We won’t get into any trouble and I’ll make sure Brian is home early."

Matt laughed despite himself.

"What? Does that mean yes?"

"Let me talk about it with my…with Tim. OK? Brian will give you the answer tomorrow at school."

"Oh, thanks, Mr. R! You rock! But could he please call me back tonight? I mean it’s Monday and Homecoming is this weekend!"

Matt narrowed his eyes to angry slits and directed the facial gesture at his blond son. Still he forced his voice to remain pleasant to the girl on the phone. "Yes, sweetie, I’ll have him call you when they get back from CCD."

"I’m going to CCD tonight, too!"

"OK, hon, we’ll discuss it right now."

"And, um, Mr. R? Could that include Jake, too? See, Diane, one of my friends, needs a date, too."

"OK, Pam. Give me a little time to talk it over with them."

"Thanks, Mr. R! You are such a dude!"

"I’ll take that as a compliment. Night, sweetheart. Nice to talk to you again." He pressed the ‘end’ button on the phone.


"I know." The blond boy at least had the decency to look ashamed.

"I don’t appreciate you putting me on the spot like that. Not at all, young man!"

"I’m sorry."

"As a matter of fact, Tim and I were just discussing the possibility of letting you go to Homecoming."


"Not so fast! You still have to apologize to me for backing me into a corner with Pam."

"I’m sorry."

"For.." Matt prompted.

"For putting you on the spot with Pam."

"And I have other concerns, too. Aren’t you just using her as a way of going to Homecoming?"

"Well, maybe."

"There’s no maybe about it, young man! I know for a fact that you’re going to ditch Pam to hang out with Robb. How do you think that’s going to make her feel?"

"She knows all about it. But she’s using me, too!"

"How do you figure?"

"There’s a senior she’s interested in who’s going with a junior. I’m just helping out a friend."

"Uh-huh. Sure."

"He date really is sick, dad. Besides, Pam said we were going just as friends. She doesn’t want a boyfriend-girlfriend thing."

"I believe you." Matt rubbed his chin. "OK, pat your head and repeat ‘I’m sorry’ three times."

With a quizzical look on his face, Brian complied.

"Now, pat your belly and rub your head and repeat ‘toy boat’ five times."

"Toy boat, tee bot, toy boot……DAD!" He bounded across the room, hopped and landed across the laps of both men. The couch creaked ominously.

"Get him, Tim!" Matt tickled his ribs while Tim attacked his feet.

"NO! Stop!" Brian squealed with glee. "STOP!" He kicked and flailed his arms while his voice registered his excitement. He writhed in their laps but made no attempt to get away.

Brian’s screams caught the attention of his brothers, who appeared from their bedrooms to join in on the fun. Buddy bounded up the basement stairs.

One of the boys jumped on Matt’s back and by the set of pale pink forearms he knew it was Tommy. Jake tackled Tim.

"Three against two! No fair!" Tim shouted.

"But you two are stronger," Jake gasped.

"Not by much anymore," Matt said as he tickled Jake’s feet, his most vulnerable spot.

They whooped and hollered, tickled and teased while Buddy stood off to one side and barked furiously. Prints watched, too, but from a safe perch on an end table above the writhing mass of males. His face wore a look of disdain.

Jake managed to break free. He stood and flexed his muscles as if posing at a professional bodybuilding competition. "Wrestlemania ’94! I’m the Hulk!" He dove back into the fray and began to exact his revenge on Matt by tickling Matt’s sides.

"Stop! Dad!" Tommy squeaked.

Eventually, they began to wind down. They were all breathing hard from their exertions.

"Oh, hell! The pasta!" Brian ran into the kitchen.

Mike heard Bubbee Kramer clomping noisily up the basement stairs.

He peered down the stairs to see his grandmother carrying a full laundry basket of clothes.

"Bubbee!" He rushed down to meet her halfway. "Let me do that!"

"Get out, boy! I can do this! I been haulin’ laundry up stairs since the Hoover Administration." Her Brooklyn accent asserted itself despite more than forty years in Illinois.

"Bubbee, give me the basket."

She shoved it at him. "Here ya go, Mista Helpful! Have a ball!"

Mike rolled his eyes after he ascended to the kitchen.

Bubbee seated herself in her favorite chair in the living room and picked up the remote. "Time for Unsolved Mysteries!" As he carried the clean laundry to the second floor, he heard her adjust the volume to a level just below a jet engine. And she has the nerve to complain about my music!

He hastily put away his clothes and laid his mother’s clean clothes on her bed. When he was done, he went to the kitchen for a Coke.

"That Robert Stack! He’s some hunk of burning love!" She patted her cloud of blue hair as if Robert Stack could see her in the audience.

Mike chose to ignore her comment. "What’s for dinner?"

"Your mama is picking up Chinese on the way home." Leah’s mother, Rose Kramer, had been living with them since Leah broke her arm a couple weeks ago. She had moved in to help her daughter out. And while Rose did do a great deal of work around the house, she did it slowly. Leah explained to Mike that she had arthritis that caused her to move at a snail’s pace.

Nonetheless, Rose seemed to be enjoying herself immensely. She never complained about the pain in her joints, although it was obvious to her daughter and grandson. She also never mentioned her condominium in a gated community in Flossmoor. Leah had intimated to Mike that she was lonely.

"Ha! A UFO story! I love them!" She cackled. She adjusted her huge tinted glasses for a better view. Mike thought they made her face look like the front of a bus. "A UFO would never land on a Jewish lawn. Know why?"

"I’ll bite. Tell me why, Bubbee?"

"Because a Jew would turn it over to see who made it," she cackled again at her own joke.

They heard Leah’s car door slam behind the building. Mike ran out to help her.

"Hi, Mama!" He took the heavy plastic bag from Jonny Lee’s from her. There was a paper bag inside the plastic one. The employees at Jonny Lee’s were always fastidious about wrapping the food.

Meanwhile, Rose began setting the table. "Homecoming is this weekend, isn’t it, Michael?"

"Yes, Bubbee."

"And who are you taking? Some nice Jewish girl, I hope."

"I’m not going, Bubbee."

"Not going? Handsome boy like you? Listen to me, my boy! You’re only in high school four years." She held up four fingers for Mike’s benefit. "That’s four times you have to go to Homecoming."

Mike, who had been pulling white cartons out of the bag, looked down at the kitchen counter.

"Mama," Leah said to Rose. Ever so subtly Leah shook her head.

"What? I’m just watching out for my grandson. What kind of mishigas is that? He’s the most handsome, smartest, most creative boychick in that school!"

"Mama!" Leah shook her head again.

Mike pretended not to hear the conversation and began carrying the cartons to the dining room table.

"What? Trying to help, is all I’m doing. Michael, you should be so lucky to have a Bubbee who watches out for you. My sister Miriam, that would be your great aunt, mauseleh, was known for her matchmaking skills. People came from everywhere in New York to see Miriam the Shadkhin. Family fiction had it that she even fixed up the mayor! So…"

"Mama," Leah interrupted. "Can I see you?" She tugged on Bubbee’s sleeve.

"What? What is it so important?"

"Please, mama."

"Oy, the things a mother puts up!"

Leah led her mother to the front door, where they stood at the base of the stairs. It was the furthest they could get from Mike without going upstairs. Leah hoped the TV would drown out their conversation.

"Mama, Mike is gay."

"No! He’s feygele?"

"Yes, Mama."

"How do you know?"

"Someone much wiser than me said, ‘A mother always knows.’ Besides, they told me at St. Luke’s that he was gay before I adopted him."

Rose covered her lips with her fingertips. "I should have known! He spent all that time at that school for goyim, with all those other boys!"

"Mama, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make a big deal out of it. Mike is a wonderful boy regardless. And he is my son."

"Of course he is. But that’s no reason for him to be alone. Dogs should live alone, not people." Rose’s eyes sparked with an energy that belied her advanced years. "I know! The cantor’s son!"


"Reuben Kirschbaum. The cantor’s son at B’nai Yehuda."

"What about him?"

"He’s feygele, too. He’s a little older than Michael, but quite a catch!"


"He goes to Homewood-Flossmoor High School. And he has a sister, Rachel."

"I’m sure Reuben doesn’t want to take his sister as a date to a rival school’s homecoming dance."

"What about those cute boys next door? They’re that way; at least that’s what you said. They could double date with Mike."

Leah creased her brow in concentration. "They are, but they’re all grounded. But…" she paused, lost in her thoughts. She changed her mind and shook her head firmly. "It’ll never work."

"They’re very popular. They would know a girl that he could take. Then, once they get to the dance, they go their separate ways!"

"It’ll never work. Do you seriously think Mike will like a boy that his grandmother picked out for him?"

"I know what I’m talking. A nice boy, this Reuben is! And what a looker! Tell you what we do. I have my Tuesday night mahjongg game with some of the girls from the Temple Sisterhood. Elise is supposed to host it this week, but I’ll call around and tell them that I can’t get a ride. We can host it here." Rose was getting wound up in her plan. "Now, the rest of the story, as my dear Mr. Paul Harvey would say, is that Elise is Reuben’s grandmother. I’ll insist that Reuben has to drive her out here! Then he has to stay until the game is over. We’ll see soon enough if it works out. Sometimes it fits and sometimes it doesn’t. All we can do is try."

"No, Mama! Please, stay out of it! Mike has to make his own decisions and find his own way."

"Hey!" Mike called from the dining room. "The food is getting cold!"

"We’re coming."

The phone rang and Mike snatched it up. It was Brian, excitedly telling him that Matt had lifted their grounded status and they were going to Homecoming. His words spilled out like water over the phone line.

Mike wished he could share his enthusiasm but he couldn’t. It meant Jake would be there. Without him.

When Brian finally decided to take a breath, he noted that Mike wasn’t responding. "Hey. Mike, are you OK?"


"Liar! What’s wrong?"

Mike stretched the phone cord through the kitchen to the basement stairwell. He closed the door behind him and sat on the top step.

Brian’s voice was gentler. They had known each other at St. Luke’s and knew how to read each other’s emotional barometers. "What’s up, Mike?"

"Do you think I could find a girl to go with?"

"Sure you could, Mikey. You’re cute as a button. I’m supposed to talk to Pam tonight about Homecoming. Maybe she’ll know someone you can go with. We could double date. Or triple date, if there is such a thing." He laughed at his own phraseology. "And speaking of CCD, buddy, I gotta go."

"Thanks, Brian." Please, try, Brian, Mike prayed to himself.

Adolescent voices filled the corridors and the main lobby of St. Irenaeus School that Monday night. It was unusually warm for the first Monday in October, so some of the doors were propped open to allow the warm, dusty fall breeze in.

Classes wouldn’t begin for another twenty minutes but many kids had arrived early. This was the best time to socialize. The catechism program at St. Irenaeus was huge and well-attended. The program was so big, it had to be split into two time slots to accommodate all the students. Saturday mornings were for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Monday nights were for seventh and eighth grades and high school. There were three classes each of seventh and eighth grade students, two classes of freshman and sophomores and one class for juniors and seniors. The vast majority were forced to go by their parents.

But the required attendance was made a bit less painful by the husband and wife team who were the Co-Directors of Religious Education. They understood the social needs of the kids. They opened the doors to the building at 6:30 so they could mill around the halls and do what teens do best: talk. After all, social activities were part of the church’s mission as well.

After their hasty dinner of gummy, overcooked pasta, Matt had dropped them off at the back of the building.

Pam spotted the boys almost immediately as they entered the lobby.

Jake called to her using their new nickname for her. "Cleavage!"

"Jake, do you think you could yell it a little louder. I don’t think Sister Mary Catherine heard it." She said with a smile on her face. She had earned the nickname after wearing a sweater that displayed her cleavage. Pam may have protested the new nickname, but deep down she loved the attention. It was, after all, the reason she wore the sweater.

"What’s cleavage?" Tommy asked.

"Nothing you need to know about, yet," Brian answered.

"Tommy," Jake hissed through his gritted teeth, "get lost."

"Awww! How can you be so mean to such a cutie?" She pulled his head to her bosom. Tommy grinned from ear to ear as if to say Ha, ha! I got close to ‘em and you didn’t.

"The ‘cutie’ that you’re referring to is a pain in the ass!" Brian said.

A hurt look crossed Tommy’s face, but only for a microsecond. He wanted to stay and listen to the conversation. He tried another approach. "I’ll tell Dad what really happened last week."

"Good try, Tommy, but nothing happened last week," Jake growled.

"That’s not what I smelled." Tommy put his index finger and his thumb together at his lips and made a sucking sound through his lips.

Brian knew he had to diffuse the situation before it blew up in public. He tried the rational approach. "Tommy, we’d like to talk to Pam for a minute. Can you please excuse us?"

"Look! Isn’t that Lucas Rafferty over there?" Jake asked, giving his youngest brother a shove.

"OK, OK, I know where I’m not wanted." Tommy shuffled away. Jake and Brian didn’t see the tears stinging their redheaded brother’s eyes. Tommy idolized his older brothers, wanted to listen to them, talk to them and just be around them. Their rejection hurt but he waited until he was in his own classroom before swiping the tears from his eyes.

Once Tommy was down the dimly lit hall, Brian exclaimed, "My dad said I could go! It worked!"

Pam laughed her Kathleen Turner laugh. "Told you."

Brian glanced at his watch. "Almost time for class to start. Hey, is there someone Mike can take as a date?"

"Mike? He’s going to Homecoming?"

Brian was suddenly defensive for his friend. "Yes he is. And I need your help to find him a date."

She looked deep in thought. "I don’t think anyone’s asked Allegra, yet."


The trio swam through the sea of other adolescents on their way to their classroom.

Tovah Goldblatt was the first to arrive at Leah’s for the Tuesday night game of mahjongg.

"This is it," Rose announced to Tovah. "This is my grandson."

"Ach! Such a beautiful boy!" She pinched his cheek much to Mike’s chagrin. The spread of cookies on the dining room table distracted her. "Oy! A nice little spread you have here. A little nosh before the game would be good."

Tovah seated herself at the head of the table, shoveling sugar into the tall glass of iced tea Leah served her.

Rose spotted a huge Lincoln trying to find a parking spot near the townhouse. Mike stood next to her as he watched the driver attempt to moor the land barge into a spot on Ash Street. "That would be Elise." She lowered her voice so that only Mike could hear. "And it looks like Reuben is driving."

"Why would he be driving?"

"I wanted you should meet him."


"So you should have another friend."

Mike couldn’t see the driver’s face, but did see that he had dark hair. He finally maneuvered the vehicle into the rather small space.

Rose read her grandson’s face. She patted his chest. "Just relax, kiddo. You look, you try. Just like buying a new suit. If it doesn’t work out, no great loss." She turned her attention to the teenaged boy gently helping his grandmother out of the car. "It’ll work," she whispered, as much to convince herself as her grandson.

"I’ll get the door, Leah!" Rose shouted.

This is insane. I have to get out, Mike thought. He made a dash toward the back door. "I’m going next door," he announced to his mother, who was arranging coffeecake slices on a serving dish.

"No, you’re not. You’re staying here, young man."


Leah turned on the water and rinsed her fingertips. "At least meet him. It’s the least you can do." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Come on."

Rose and Elise kissed with affection. "This is my grandson, Reuben." Elise placed a fleshy paw on his shoulder.

Mike’s knees turned to water. He placed his left hand on the baluster to steady himself. Reuben extended his right hand to Mike.

A deep sexy, voice invaded Mike’s thoughts. "Everyone calls me Blade. You must be Mike."

Mike’s tongue turned to concrete in his mouth. Reuben, or Blade, was a total hunk. His hair was brown and his dusky blue eyes smoldered. His face was smooth and his skin clear. He wore a loose, unbuttoned shirt over a solid blue T-shirt. A single golden earring adorned his right ear. His right ear! It was the only indication of his gayness; he was all boy. Even his nickname was butch - Blade.

His right bicep bulged as he shook Mike’s hand firmly.

Leah wore a frown as she joined the quartet at the front door. "I’m Mike’s mom," she held out a hand to the boy.

"I’m so pleased to meet you, Mrs. Levin. My Bubbee has told me a lot about you."

Leah momentarily forgot her anger at her own mother for disregarding her wishes. Blade was totally charming and perfectly comfortable with adults. If Elise had told him anything, he wasn’t letting on.

Leah managed a smile. "Nice to meet you, Blade."

"Oh, look, here’s Maxine!" Rose interrupted. "Now we can start our game. You boys go upstairs and play," she dismissed them.

As Leah watched the two ascend the stairs, she made a mental note to discuss the matter with her mother once the ladies had gone.

"Bitchin’ room," Blade commented once they were upstairs.

Mike shrugged. "It’s nothing." He decided some music might be in order. His hands trembled as he tried to insert his Melissa Etheridge CD.

"You’re very cute," Blade whispered to him.

Had he heard correctly? This teenage god had just told him he was cute! "Th-thanks. So…so are you."

Blade closed the bedroom door behind them. He crossed the room and sat on the edge of Mike’s bed. He gestured to Mike’s Playstation. "Want to play a game?"

"Not really." Mike really did want to play a game but Playstation was not what he had in mind.

"Why don’t you sit down?"

Mike lowered himself onto the bed gently as if the boy on the other end was made of crystal.

"Why are you so nervous?"

"What do you mean?"

Blade’s lips parted in a grin, revealing perfect, white teeth. He gave Mike’s ribs a playful poke. Mike nearly jumped through the ceiling.

"Dude! Relax already! So tell me about your Homecoming. You know Rich East is hosting my school, Homewood-Flossmoor, right?"

"Of course."

"What’s the theme for the dance?"

Why would Blade care? Mike thought. Was he just making conversation? "Back To The Future. It’s an 80’s theme. There will be an 80’s DJ, too."

"Sounds like fun. I’m looking forward to it."

"Looking forward to it? What do you mean?"

"I’m going to your Homecoming."

"Cool. Whose guest are you going to be?"

Blade flashed him an impish grin. "Yours." The grin spread across his face. "I’m your date."

Mike’s jaw almost hit the floor.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome at Constructive criticism is welcome, too. And don’t forget to visit my website Archerland . New chapters are always posted there earlier than here.

Other stories on Nifty:

Paternal Instincts, Family Instincts, Thicker Than Water.....College & Relationships

Pocketful of Stars.......................Young Friends

Resurrection Harry......................Science Fiction

Cooksville Chronicles.................Historical

Tales From the Northwoods.......Beginnings