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Note: Thanks to Tim and Rock for feedback on the draft chapters. I owe a special thanks to Robb for doing the final proofreading and catching all those silly little errors I missed.
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It was our last football game of the regular season. If we won, we'd be our conference champs and go into the playoffs. There was a lot riding on the game. Derek was near perfect. His passes were right on the money, and I snagged ten good ones during the game. Two of those were for touchdowns. We won. Handily. We were going to the payoffs!
The guys spent a little longer than usual celebrating in the locker room. Everyone was patting Derek on the back and congratulating him for a great game. Coach even congratulated me on my playing.
Afterward, we climbed into Derek's Jeep for the short drive to his house. It was a big two-story Colonial in the best neighborhood in the Black part of town.
He parked his vehicle beside the garage, and I followed him into the kitchen. As we were going in the door, Derek said, "You're lucky tonight. My bratty little sister is staying over at my grandparents. We'll be able to talk about the game without her nosing around."
We'd no sooner closed the door when a tall, slender, and very attractive woman came into the kitchen.
She walked over to me and extended her hand. "I'm Derek's mother, and you must be Brett. It's nice to finally meet you. Derek talks about you all the time."
"It's nice to meet you, Mrs. Jackson." I took her hand. She had a surprisingly firm grip.
"Mom, give him some room. We just got here."
She kissed Derek on the cheek. "Why don't you take Brett into the den and introduce him to your father. We were at a meeting tonight and couldn't come to the game. I know he'll want to hear all about it. I'll just fix up some snacks for you two and bring them in."
Derek's father got up out of his chair to greet me.
Derek made the introductions. His father was almost as tall as Derek and I, and he had an athletic build. His skin was a little lighter than Derek's milk chocolate shade, but he had the same intense green eyes. When he smiled, he looked a lot like an older version of Derek. The resemblance had something to do with the smile lines in his face. I felt comfortable with him...at least more than I had with Derek's mother.
Mrs. Jackson brought in a tray laden with sandwiches and asked what we'd like to drink.
"Just water for me, Ma'am. Thank you."
"We've got all different kinds of soda. Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke, root beer. Are you sure you just want water?"
"Yes, Ma'am. I don't drink sodas very often."
She returned to the kitchen.
Mr. Jackson started to ask about the game, and Derek was just beginning to recount his gridiron feats when Mrs. Jackson returned with another tray containing the drinks. Water for me; Coke for Derek; and Diet Coke for both his parents.
Derek started talking about the game again.
A minute or so later, Mrs. Jackson turned to me and asked, "Derek said that you grew up out in Arizona but then moved here to Indian Crossing about six years ago. He also mentioned that your father grew up here. Is that right?"
"What brought your family back?"
"Well, we moved here after my mother died."
"Oh, my, I'm sorry. What does your father do, Brett? Indian Crossing's a small town, and I don't recall ever having run into him before."
"Daddy can't work. He's a disabled Viet Nam veteran. He stays home most of the time."
"He grew up here in Indian Crossing, but he left right after high school and didn't come back until six years ago. You and Mr. Jackson are a lot younger than he is, so I don't think you would have been in school together."
"What are your plans for after high school?"
Both Derek and his father broke into the questioning.
Mr. Jackson continued, "Stop with the questions. Derek and Brett were telling us about the game."
Mrs. Jackson stopped her inquisition, but I don't think she was happy about it.
We finished telling Derek's dad about the game, and then Derek said, "We're going to go upstairs now. See you guys in the morning."
"Derek, dear, I put fresh sheets on the bed in the guest room for Brett."
"Mom, the whole idea behind staying over at a friends house is so the two friends can stay up half the night and talk. How are we going to do that if Brett's in another room?"
"Well, I just thought he'd be more comfortable in his own bed."
"Mom, I've already pulled out the sleeping bags, and we'll sleep on the floor. When I stay over at Brett's we've pulled a mattress in from one of the other bedrooms for me. We'll be okay."
I noticed the clever sentence construction. We hadn't pulled in the other mattress for weeks. Derek was quick.
"Ellen, they can survive one night sleeping on the floor."
Mr. Jackson looked over at us and rolled his eyes. Man, I sure hoped Mrs. Jackson hadn't seen that. If she had, then Mr. Jackson was going to be sleeping on the floor tonight also.
Derek's room wasn't quite as large as mine, but it was packed with stuff. He had a computer, a TV, a sound system, and a bathroom connected right to his room. I didn't have any of those things.
He closed the door and plunked down on the big queen sized bed.
"Man, I'm sorry about my mother. She can be a little pushy."
"It's okay. I think she's just being a mother. Where are the sleeping bags?"
"They're next to the computer. Let's open `em up and spread them on the floor. We don't need to use them though."
"But you told your mom that..."
"I know. I figured she was going to pull that `sleep in the guest room' stuff. She's done it before. I can see the guest room, if you were going to be here for a couple of nights, but I can put up with your snoring and hogging the bed for one night."
"I don't snore, and I don't hog the bed. You're the one who's always pushed up against me in the morning."
"Hey, I'm a restless sleeper. We can use the sleeping bags if you want, or we can sleep in the bed. Either one works for me. Mom won't know either way. She never comes in when the door's closed. I think she's afraid she'll catch me jerking off."
I gave a little laugh, but in my mind's eye I saw Derek masturbating, and my dick gave a small jump.
"I think we'd better use the sleeping bags. If your mom asks me tomorrow about how I slept on the floor, I need to be able to tell her what she expects. I blush too much when I try to lie."
He gave my arm a soft tap. "I've noticed that, white bread. I blush too, but you can't tell. Come on then, let's spread out the bags. If you're willing, I'd sure appreciate your magic fingers on my throwing shoulder again."
We spread the two sleeping bags out on the floor, added the pillows from Derek's bed, stripped down to our underwear, and did our business in the bathroom.
Derek lay down on the floor with his head nested in his arms. I straddled his hips, settled my butt down on his, and began rubbing his shoulders. I was rewarded with contented sighs from my friend, the secret object of my nightly masturbation fantasies.
I worked on both shoulders, but paid a little more attention to his right one. Gradually I expanded the range of my massaging down to his lats and then to the small of his back. I worked my thumbs just into the waistband of his boxers. I didn't dare go any further.
Suddenly Derek moved underneath me.
"Lie down. It's your turn."
We change positions. He worked on my neck, shoulders, and back. When he got to the small of my back, he tugged the elastic of my boxers about halfway down my butt. When he worked on my lower back near my hips, his thumbs were almost into the crack between my two butt cheeks. I was so hard at that point, it was almost painful.
He moved down to kneel at my feet and began massaging my legs. He worked upward from my ankles and calves to my thighs. He got higher and higher using his thumbs on the inside of my thighs and with the fingers and palms of his hands spread toward the outside. Finally, his thumbs made contact with my hard dick, which was pointed backwards between my legs. He made contact again, as if he was checking it out.
"Not a problem, but I think you'd better stop."
"Don't be embarrassed. I've gotten hard when you've been giving me a massage. If you need to go into the bathroom to toss one off before bed, it's fine with me."
"No, thanks, but I think I will lie here just like this for a few minutes."
He chuckled. "Suit yourself, bashful."
I felt him move over to the other opened sleeping bag.
Mr. Jackson knocked on the door the next morning. "Guys, breakfast is ready. Hurry up."
Derek looked over at me. We were a couple of feet apart on the floor. "You use the bathroom first."
"Thanks, `cause I'm about to wet the bed."
I threw the top of the sleeping bag back. This time it was me whose morning erection was poking out of the fly of his boxers.
Derek smiled. "Nice wood."
"No one's complained yet," I said throwing his words from the previous week back at him. I hurried into the bathroom as he laughed. I really was desperate to pee.
Downstairs, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. There was an assortment of pastries and a pitcher of orange juice sitting on the counter.
"Help yourself, boys. Derek, honey, if Brett wants dry cereal instead of pastry, get it for him, please," Mrs. Jackson called out over her newspaper.
"You're up early this morning, Mom. What's up?" Derek asked as he poured glasses of juice for the two of us.
"Well, your grandparents are coming over in a few minutes. Your father and Pawpaw are going to talk politics while Nana, your sister, and I go up to Waycross for some retail therapy."
Just then the kitchen door opened.
Derek's sister was a pretty girl, who looked about eleven or twelve. His grandparents looked like they were in their early sixties. His grandmother was small, thin, and quite light skinned. Derek and his father had inherited their green eyes from her. His grandfather was just a little shorter than Derek. He was a strikingly handsome man with dark chocolate skin and a full head of tightly curled white hair.
Derek made the introductions. I shook their hands. His grandmother's hand felt light and delicate. His grandfather had a firm handshake. He looked directly into my eyes when we shook hands, but they didn't seem to focus on mine. I had the feeling that he was thinking about something else.
The women left to go shopping in Waycross, and Derek's father and grandfather retreated into the den. That left Derek and me alone in the kitchen with all the pastries, which we did our best to consume.
We shot hoops out in his backyard until it was time for me to go to work at Tarricone's Market.
That night I wrote a short thank you note to Derek's mom. I wasn't sure she approved of me, so I thought I'd better be as proper as I could be with her. I dropped it in a mailbox before work on Sunday.
The note had the desired effect. On Wednesday, Derek told me his mom kept going on and on about the note and about how Derek "...could learn some manners from that nice young man."
I just laughed and popped his shoulder with my fist.
Friday night was our first playoff game. We had to load onto the team bus right after school to go up to Waycross for the game.
As we came into the city limits of Waycross, Bull Cook shouted from the back of the bus, "Hey Privette, why don't you ask the driver to stop at the Goodwill Store so you can buy a few more clothes."
I ignored him.
We won the game, so we'd get to play in the next round. That quarterfinal game would be up in Statesville.
Derek stayed over at my house that night. Both of us had played hard and were pretty tired, so after talking about the game with Daddy and Scott, we headed upstairs. We used the bathroom, pulled off our clothes, and fell right to sleep.
In the morning, Derek drove me into town to get new tires mounted on the wheels of my car. I was happy that I'd be motorized again, especially since the November weather was starting to get colder. The garage took their sweet time mounting the tires and balancing them on the rims. Derek and I just had time to take the new wheels back out to the house, and then return to town to get me to my job at Tarricone's.
Scott and I put the new wheels on the old Impala the next morning. It felt good to have my car sitting on good tires again and off the cement blocks. Now, we had two functioning vehicles in the family again.
The playoffs for football overlapped with the start of the regular basketball season. Derek and I plus two other guys from the basketball team were still committed to football and would be until we either won the state championship or lost a game. That meant our poor basketball team was struggling since Derek and I were first-stringers. I think our basketball coach was secretly praying that we'd lose the next football game and be back on the court.
Well, we didn't lose the next game. In fact, we went all the way to the championship game up in Atlanta. And we won! We were the state champions in our division. Man, what a high! Derek was the star of the game. I helped with two touchdowns, but it was all Derek's skill and leadership that got us there and took us over the top.
They say there's no rest for the wicked. That was true for the four of us who were playing both football and basketball. The basketball coach had us practicing with the team that Monday following our championship game.
I don't know about the others, but I was exhausted that whole first week of basketball.
Derek and I continued to spend Friday nights together all the way through basketball season. We probably stayed out at my house three times for every time we stayed over at his. When we did stay over at his house, his grandparents were almost always over at some point, and I really liked them. His grandmother was in frail health, but she maintained a cheery disposition, and she had a sharp sense of humor. His grandfather talked to Derek and me like we were adults, not high school students.
I'd never known grandparents, and I could see that the relationship between children and grandparents was different than the one between children and parents. It didn't have anything to do with age; after all, Daddy was old enough to be Scott's and my grandfather, yet our relationship was more like that between Derek and his parents than it was between Derek and his grandfather.
Basketball season didn't go as well for the Fenokachee County Panthers as the football season had. We won our conference championship, but then got eliminated in the statewide semi-final game. Hey, at least we were one of the top four teams in the State of Georgia in our division.
I was a little sad to see basketball season end `cause it meant that Derek and I wouldn't be playing the same sport for the rest of the school year. His spring sport was baseball. Mine was track.
Other than talking during our mutual classes, Derek and I didn't see much of one another for the next couple of weeks. It seemed that the track team's and the baseball team's schedules were running opposite of one another. When I was out of town for a meet, Derek was in town for a game and vice versa. Getting together just didn't work out.
The track team got back late from our Friday out-of-town meet. Derek's team had an afternoon home game that day. I was supposed to go over to his house to spend the night. I was really looking forward to it. Derek's mother had stopped the questions about my background, interests, potential girl friends, college plans, and everything else that had come into her mind. I guess I'd passed some sort of test and was now accepted as worthy of being Derek's friend. I'm not trying to be critical here. I actually liked Mrs. Jackson. She was just...well, she was just `pushy' as Derek had put it.
The team bus arrived beside the gym. All the guys helped unload the equipment and then scattered for their cars. I could tell that something was wrong with my car from all the way across the parking lot. When I got closer I saw that all the windows were broken. The windshield was still in place, but it had three large depressions in it as if someone had taken a baseball bat or golf club to it.
I don't know if I was more angry or frustrated, but either way, I wanted to cry.
(To be continued)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some of the characters who play parts in this story were previously introduced in "When Love Comes" (last posted in the College section on Sept. 6, 2001), "Love of a Lifetime" (last posted in the College section on May 19, 2003), "Finding Family" (last posted in the College section on June 5, 2008), or "Construction Job" (last posted in the College section on July 24, 2008). While not necessary, readers may find it useful to read the earlier stories posted on this site. All of the Adams State/Carterville stories listed above as well as my other stories are also posted at www.crvboy.com.
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