Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All characters are fictional, and not based on anyone in real life. Any similarities are purely coincidental. This story contains male-on-male sexual contact, and should only be read by people 18 years or older, or whatever is legal in your jurisdiction.

Summary: Mark is a college lacrosse player who suffers from a deep and adamant denial that he could be gay. Nothing can change his mind from his belief that he is completely straight. But strong denial of one's self has consequences, some of which could completely destroy who Mark is...or who he thinks he is.

This is my first attempt at writing M/M fiction. Any feedback is greatly appreciated at tetrefine@gmail.com. Thanks!


"We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die."

-W.H. Auden

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are currently on our final approach into Philadelphia, with time of arrival in approximately ten minutes. Please fasten your seat belts and return your seats and trays to the upright and locked position. The weather in Philadelphia is currently a warm sixty-five degrees, with partly cloudy skies and the local time right now is ten thirty-eight. Again I would like to apologize for the delay this morning in Boston, but sometimes Mother Nature gets angry with us." Over half the people in the nearly full plane laughed at the pilot's quip.

"On behalf of the entire flight crew, I'd like to thank you for choosing US Airways, and we hope you fly with us again soon. Enjoy your stay in Philadelphia or wherever your travels are taking you." The intercom clicked off and the cabin went back to being just as quiet as it had been for the quick fifty-minute flight.

Directly below the plane, I watched the Delaware River flow by. It seemed to act as an approach guide for planes leading right up to the airport. All along its banks, the factories and warehouses had giant yellow cranes poking up into the sky and the gigantic Philadelphia Navy Yard that housed several half-finished Naval vessels being built by a small army of workers. Off to the right, but slightly farther in the distance, the city's skyline climbed high into the clear sky. It was bigger and more prominent than the skyline in Boston where I lived, but dwarfed in comparison to Manhattan's or Chicago's. I guess I'd learn to love it though, seeing as I'd be spending the next four years of my life here- well, starting in a few months. I was excited to begin anew in a different city. It wasn't that I hadn't enjoyed growing up in and around Boston, but I'd become so familiar with it that I'd grown bored and wanted something new. I had wanted to move to California for a long time, but there were no opportunities there to play Division I lacrosse. I figured I could always move to out west after I graduated, so I settled for Philadelphia. Technically it was suburban Philadelphia, as Braden University was several miles south of the city, but to me it was close enough. I was a product of the Boston suburbs myself, so it was essentially the same scene--just in a different city.

As the plane inched closer to the ground, the giant sports complex appeared out the window below and to the right, sitting right next to Interstate 95. I could see Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wachovia Center with the city's skyline framed in the distant background. The stadiums were surrounded by a massive, empty black lot that served as parking for the tens of thousands of fans who poured into the area on game day. It was a much better setup than Boston had. Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play, and TD Garden, where the Bruins and Celtics play, were located smack dab in the middle of Boston, which made driving and parking for games there almost impossible. If you drove, chances were it would cost you a small fortune for a parking garage pass, or you had to park on the outskirts of the city and take the slow commuter train in to either place.

The stadiums disappeared in the background, and the plane was now only several hundred feet above the river on its final approach southward into Philadelphia. If the captain descended too quickly before landing, we'd all end up in the icy river just a couple of hundred yards from the runway. It was a sunny, warm day in April, but the Delaware River was still a very cold place to take a dip this time of year. I wondered why I was thinking such morbid thoughts. I had no plans on dying that day. At barely eighteen, I had the best four years of my life ahead of me--or so everyone I had ever known had told me. Of course, I had to live up to expectations, and deviating at all from any of those wasn't an option at this point. My life had been laid out for me years before, and I'd grown so accustomed to hearing that plan drilled into my head, I believed it really was what I wanted for myself. And disappointing family was the equivalent of social suicide. So, I decided I'd start my new life, with the independence college was supposed to give you, by living up to expectations dictated to me by others. I couldn't help but feel the painful irony in that philosophy, but such was life.

Less than a minute after flying over the stadium complex, the runway appeared under the plane. As the Airbus touched down it slightly bounced up on its wheels and then bounced back down permanently on the ground. The roar of the plane's reverse thrusters blasted through the cabin and the plane slowed and made a right hand turn off the runway onto the maze of taxiways toward the terminal. The plane reached the gate, and the cabin dinged as the `fasten seat belts' sign turned off. People quickly flooded the aisles, determined to be the first off the plane, despite being in the twenty-eighth row. I sighed. I was stuck in a window seat in the thirty-first row, which meant I wasn't getting off the plane any time soon. I hadn't gone to the bathroom since before I left my house early that morning to get to the airport. Now, after a two-hour wait before takeoff, a one-hour flight, and several complimentary beverages later, my crotch ached from holding it in for so long. If airlines would stop charging people to check their bags maybe they wouldn't bring such massive carry-ons and slow down the entire de-boarding process. But who was I to challenge the brilliant corporate titans who ran the prestigious airlines of America? God, I'd been on third-world flag carriers that provided better service than most airlines in the US.

Two older men who'd shared my row, dressed in suits, finally made their way into the aisle, grabbed their small briefcase carry-ons from the overhead bin and shuffled out. I quickly moved into the aisle, grabbed my orange Nike carry-on bag from the storage above, and slowly made my way to the exit door. When I finally crossed down the air-bridge and into the terminal, I weaved my way through the throngs of people waiting at the gate and made a beeline for the first men's bathroom I saw. The bathroom was packed, with a line waiting to use one of the few stalls or urinals. I was fifth in line, and began subtly shifting my feet as my crotch felt like it was about to explode from the pressure of holding it in for several hours past its due. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a stall door swung open, and I quickly made my way down to the end of the row of toilets where it was being vacated. As the person occupying the stall emerged, I involuntarily froze right in my tracks; a beautiful, light-skinned man crossed right into my line of sight. He was dressed in Army BDU's, and his name patch above his breast read `Jackson'. His jet-black hair was closely cropped in a buzzed military style, and his brown eyes had the intense look of somebody you'd want backing you up in a fight. He had a long face, with sharp features that oozed testosterone. Even though he was fully clothed, it was glaringly obvious he was built like a beast, as his well-fitted camo uniform clung against beefy pecs and awe-inspiring biceps. He couldn't have been older then nineteen or twenty, barely older than me.

As he turned toward me to walk toward the sinks, our eyes locked. I stood directly in his path. Whether it had happened by accident or not I don't know, but right after his piercingly intense eyes locked with mine, he gave me the faintest, most subtle smile I had ever seen, or maybe I had just imagined it. Was it the product of wishful thinking? I tried smiling subtly back, but by the time I finally did he'd looked away. I turned sideways so he could walk past me, and I swear I felt his fingers brush up against my crotch as he walked by. I was stunned. Maybe it was a total accident, as he couldn't fit through the small walkway between the stall doors and the wall because he was massive, or maybe he'd done it on purpose to show interest while still retaining the chance to play it off as a total, innocent accident. If that was true, then he had some balls doing it in a crowded public bathroom. I wanted him to bend me over, rip down my pants, and fuck me silly with what I imagined was a huge, swelling cock hanging between his meaty thighs. His uniform made him that much hotter too. The whole ordeal made my member swell to its full size as it began to rub and strain against the front of my pants. That feeling snapped me back to reality, and I remembered I had to pee, bad. But now I had to try and empty my near-bursting bladder with a full hard on. It wasn't going to be a pleasant experience.

I entered the stall, locked the door, and undid my belt, button, and zipper as fast I could. My still-raging hard-on begged to be released from the constricting confines of my pants. Finally I got them down, but the hard part was yet to come. When aroused, my cock was as hard as steel. It didn't flop down or sideways but pointed at about a seventy-five degree angle upward and stayed that way. It made trying to pee damn near impossible, but at that moment I had no choice. I maneuvered myself into the awkward, uncomfortable stance that made peeing with a hardon somewhat possible, and finally I could let it all out after holding it in for so long. My thoughts wandered back to how it would be so hot to have him pound me into oblivion, as the full weight of his beefy frame bore down on me, and he took out all his sexual aggression on my ass.

That last thought brought me out of my little fantasy and back into reality. God, what had I been thinking? Did I want to become the teenage version of Larry Craig, thinking of having gay sex with strangers in an airport bathroom? I chastised myself for thinking of another guy that way. I promised myself the night before that this trip was going to be the start of a new life, and that included ignoring and forgetting about anything sexual that ever came into my head involving another guy. I had all those expectations to uphold, and being a fag was not one of them. Besides, athletes weren't homos, or so I thought, and nobody wanted one on their team. At least not in lacrosse, and definitely not on a big time Division I team. But I had nothing to worry about because I wasn't a fag. Those random thoughts that crept into my head from time to time were just the product of my imagination, and had nothing to do with what I did in real life. I'd never had sex with a guy before anyway, which was good enough for me to prove I wasn't one of them.

I finally finished peeing, but my cock was still just as hard as when I started. I pulled my underwear up, tucked my boner into the waistband of the underwear to hold it in place and make it less noticeable through my pants, flushed, and walked out of the stall. I quickly looked around, hoping in the back of my mind that the guy would still be there, waiting. But he was nowhere to be seen, gone forever to wherever he was headed, and I'd never see him again. I again pushed the thought out of my mind and walked to the sinks to wash up. I checked on the mirror to make sure my hair hadn't gotten all messed up on the flight down, and of course it hadn't. My dark brown hair, cleanly cut in the stereotypical New England prep-school boy fashion, was still as perfect as it was when I'd left my house that morning.

I finished washing up and made my way past the new line that had formed of men waiting impatiently to use the bathroom--probably after much longer flights than mine. In the concourse I followed the overhead signs toward the baggage area where a Braden representative would pick me up and drive me to campus for the weekend. As I walked past the various gates, I looked for the destinations displayed on the gate screens and counted off all the places I had been before. I'd been to six of the eight destinations. The last one before the gates ended and the baggage check began was Oklahoma City. I'd never been there before. Why would anyone want to go to Oklahoma in the first place? It's flat, hot, and full of rednecks. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that looked familiar, but couldn't quite make out what and slowed down to get a better look. It was the same army stud-boy I'd encountered in the bathroom, sitting in one of the chairs at the gate. He was hunched over with his elbows resting on his thighs looking at something on his phone. I froze again, just like I did when I saw him the first time in the bathroom, and secretly hoped he would look up and see me. But he was completely oblivious to my presence, and I went totally unnoticed. I was seriously disappointed, but it was futile to just stand there staring, so I moved back toward the exit. I chastised myself again. Why the hell did I care so much about getting the attention of some random stranger, and a guy at that? I was pissed these thoughts kept popping up at completely random times, but I knew I had to fight them at every turn, lest they actually become reality.

I pushed the thought out of my head and kept walking `til I reached an escalator that led down to the baggage pick-up area. I looked around to see if I could find anybody in a Braden shirt with a sign with my name on it waiting for me. I was still a high school senior and wasn't going to graduate for more than a month. Like many college athletic recruits I had been invited to come down to campus for the weekend to live in the dorms, get a feel for college life, and watch their game on Saturday. Ironically it was against UMass-Amherst, where my dad had taken my brother and me every year to watch their team play. I'd actually considered going there, but eventually decided I wanted to get a little farther from home than just on the other side of the state. When I got to the bottom of the escalator I saw a short, pudgy man with a thick black mustache wearing a Braden blue polo shirt standing off to the side with a sign that had my name on it.

"Mark Alden?" he asked, as he saw me approaching him.

"Yes sir." And reached out with my right hand and shook his. For being even shorter than me, he had one hell of a strong grip.

"I'm Bruce Saint John. I'm an assistant to Mr. Deckhide." Mr. Deckhide was Braden University's longtime Athletic Director.

"Nice to meet you."

"Do you have all your bags?" he asked curtly. It seemed like he was trying to rush me out.

"Yes sir," I said politely again, in the obedient tone my parents had drilled into me over the years.

"Okay, good, follow me." Without waiting for a response, he turned and walked toward the exit.

I followed him from about half a step behind. I already felt uncomfortable around the man after knowing him for all of about thirty seconds. We walked out the doors, across the street, and into the sprawling parking garage that sat between the front of the airport and the interstate. He led me to a silver Nissan Maxima parked on the first level of the garage, and again, without saying a word, unlocked the car and sat in the driver's side. I tossed my bag into the backseat and then climbed into the passenger seat. Mr. Saint John turned the ignition and pulled away before I could even buckle my seatbelt. I figured it probably wasn't a good idea to try and start a conversation, so I decided I would remain quiet the whole ride unless I was spoken to. He drove out of the garage and onto the access loop that linked the airport to the highway. The silence was awkward, and was only interrupted by the occasional snort or cough that seemed to be caused by the pressure his hanging gut put on his body's attempts to breathe. Luckily, the ride took less than ten minutes. We exited off the interstate and onto an access road that led directly to campus. As we drove through one of the main streets that intersected Braden's campus, I took in all the sights.

It was amazing. Students were everywhere, walking to and from classes or wherever else they needed to be. It was warm, and the girls--the hot ones at least--were all in short shorts and sleeveless tops, showing off everything they had. Of course the showing off of nice assets applied to many of the guys as well. Many of the well-built guys wore an array of different colored tank tops, displaying bulging biceps, ripped chests, and prominent shoulders. I had never seen so many attractive jock-types before. Obviously guys like that existed in high school, too, but not like this. But of course I didn't care if they were attractive or not. It wasn't like I was gay or anything. I couldn't help but compare myself to them as we made our way down the street. I had spent my entire teenage life playing sports year round, and as a result I had developed a physique I was pretty proud of. I had sizeable muscles that had been honed during the uncountable hours on the field and in the weight rooms over the years. I was never going to be bodybuilder muscular because that would be detrimental to being a quick player on the field, but they showed enough for people to notice. All the guys I noticed were tall, and as I looked I failed to notice anyone who looked under five-foot ten. I really couldn't complain about the way I looked and no ugly stick had ever struck me, but my one downfall was that I was short. On a good day I barely measure five-foot seven, and I had realized early on in my life that height was respected, and if you didn't have it you had to make up for it. I made up for it by being the quickest guy on my feet, and pound-for-pound, being one of the strongest guys on the field. I have no idea where my midget stature came from, as both my parents and my brother were above average height, but it was something I had learned to compensate for.

As we drove down the street, we made a right at the intersection, and then another quick right into a large parking lot in front of the athletic center building. We parked in a spot right up at the front of the four-story building with a sign that read Athletic Employee Parking Only. Again, without saying a word, Mr. Saint John climbed out of the driver seat, closed his door, and walked toward the main entrance. I quickly got out, grabbed my bag from the back seat, and hurried to catch up to him. He walked fast for being so short and stubby! By the time I caught up to him, he'd already opened the entrance door into the building. I thought it best to follow a half step behind him again. He'd already made it clear he didn't like me. What the hell had I done to make him so pissy? Maybe he was just a miserable man in general.

We entered through the glass encased front lobby, went up two flights of stairs, and then through a set of double-doors that had an engraved plaque that read `Braden Lions Lacrosse'. The door led into a short hallway, with only two doors on each side, and we entered into a small reception lounge where a sweet, white haired older woman greeted me, and told me that Coach Parsons was running a little late, and I could take a seat in one of the chairs until he got back.

I took a seat in one of the leather chairs and looked around. For being the head coach of a major Division I lacrosse program, Coach Parsons' office was definitely not what I'd imagined it to be. The little waiting area felt cramped, and the walls bore several generic paintings you'd see in any doctor's office or corporate waiting room. Behind and to the left of the secretary's desk was a plain, oak-colored door that I assumed was his office, but it had no name plaque or identifying feature.

After a few minutes of waiting, the door swung open and Coach Parsons strolled into the waiting room. "Mark, how are you? Sorry to keep you waiting," he said, smiling.

"Oh, no problem. I only got here a couple minutes ago anyway." I extended my hand to shake his. He had one hell of a strong grip, and it felt like my hand was slightly crushed. What was it with Braden people and crushing handshakes? He asked me how my trip down was and then invited me into his office.

His office was as unimpressive as his door and waiting room. It was scarcely bigger than the small waiting area, with a cluttered desk and various pictures hanging on the walls from his days as a player and then assistant coach for the University of Maryland. The window behind his desk looked out onto a patch of trees on a small hill and several apartment buildings. I couldn't help but think of how underwhelming it all was. He made small talk for several minutes, asking me how my senior year of high school was going, about my family, and how my last season of high school lacrosse was going.

After the small talk died he gave me an overview of my weekend itinerary. I was assigned to stay the weekend in the dorm of a senior midfielder named Jason Dean, whom I'd seen play on TV during some of Braden's nationally televised games on ESPN. Jason was basically going to be my mentor for the weekend and show me around and explain how things worked. I'd attend and watch their practice later that afternoon, and then watch their game against second-ranked UMass on Saturday from the sidelines. Braden had climbed to fourth in the national rankings poll, and the game tomorrow was being pushed by the media as a warm up for a potential playoff matchup for the post season.

"Now the guys, and this includes you, are under strict curfew tonight. They know the drill; in their rooms by nine and in bed by ten. There are no exceptions, especially with the game we have tomorrow. We are off on Sundays, so Saturday nights are free," he explained, and then pushed a piece of paper in front of me. I glanced over it. It stated I agreed to follow all university policies and would not engage in any illegal activities, blah blah blah. I gave it another quick glance over and then signed, in my girly-neat handwriting, my name on the line at the bottom. Of course, they didn't actually expect us to not drink and they actually wanted us live it up a little while we were here.

One of the points of bringing in athletic recruits to spend the weekend on campus was to get them excited about the school, and to help convince those who might be on the fence about where they wanted to commit to. They knew exactly what we'd really do, and it was quietly encouraged for the host players of recruits to bring them out and show them a good time.

"Ok then, you're all set. I'll walk you over and introduce you to Jason and get you all squared away." He filed my signed statement away in a drawer beneath his desk. With that he got up, and I followed him out of his office.

Classes must have started up again because I noticed there were far fewer people walking around campus then when I had arrived. I was disappointed. I was looking forward to observing all the eye candy strolling about that I had seen on my drive in. The girls in their short shorts and the guys, with their finely toned muscles that could probably star in big-time gay porn if they wanted to.

Not that I had really ever watched gay porn.

Well, there was one time I'd stumbled across it searching for stuff, and once or twice more I had watched it out of curiosity. And maybe several times more? I couldn't quite remember exactly.

We walked through the quad surrounded by three large classroom buildings, and I answered Coach's small talk questions as we walked. Though I was more interested in taking in the sights of the place I'd be spending the next four years of my life, the best four years of my life. Or so I had been told by just about everyone who'd come before me. From the quad the campus looked massive. To the left there were several high-rise apartment-style buildings that housed some of Braden's more than 15,000 undergraduates, and to the right stood an old, but grander styled building called Old Main that housed the university's administration. To me it was perfect. It was close to a city, but far enough outside Philadelphia that it still retained that campus feel with large, open spaces. I felt far more comfortable in the choice I'd made, now that I had seen the campus in person.

We reached the end of the quad, crossed a street intersecting campus, and ended up at a dorm building. At just four stories, it was much shorter than the tower dorms I'd seen walking through the quad. There were two other carbon copy dorm buildings flanking each side of the center dorm, and in the front of the three buildings was a small, open courtyard. We entered through the door into the dorm's lobby, and I followed Coach Parsons up two flights of stairs and down to a door at the end of another hallway. Coach knocked, and after a few seconds of silence, I could hear footsteps on the other side of the door. The door swung open, and there in the doorway stood Jason Dean, all six-foot two inches and two hundred pounds of him. When you watch sports on TV many of the guys look non-descript in all their gear and uniforms, and you can't pick out many details just watching TV. I'd never noticed before how attractive Jason was, but now I was getting a front row view, up close and personal. He almost looked too big to be a lacrosse player. His biceps pushed out from the tight confines of his t-shirt, and his pecs thrusted out from his body underneath the shirt he was wearing. His forearms were thick and veiny, and his wide, muscled torso tapered into a small waist before his body burst out again with large, ripped legs. To me his face was only okay, nothing to get overly excited about. But his body, that amazing body, would get me any day and would make his average face a very fair trade-off for the body he possessed. Of course I admired his body strictly for what he'd achieved with it and what I wanted to achieve with mine. I decided that was the reason I admired other guys. It was because I wanted to get even bigger, faster, and stronger to become a better athlete. And looking at people who had achieved that was a good way to measure my progress. It was nothing sexual......

"Hey Coach." Jason's deep voice snapped me out of my body-admiring gaze.

"Hey Jason, how's it going?" Coach asked as he reached out and shook Jason's hand.

"Can't complain, can't complain." He shrugged casually.

"This is Mark. He's one of our midfielder recruits for next year, from Boston. Take care of him for me okay?" He clapped me on the shoulder and gently nudged me in front of him.

"Definitely. No problem," he said, and reached out to shake my hand. "Jason," he redundantly introduced himself.

"Mark," I said, and shook his hand. His handshake was firm, but nowhere near as much of a death grip as the pudgy airport guy or Coach Parsons.

"Okay, I have to get back to my office to finish some stuff up before practice. I'll see you boys at three." We both nodded and then he turned and walked back down the hallway

Jason reached down and grabbed my bag full of clothes lying at my feet in the doorway. "Come on in," he said, and I followed him through the door and into the small living room that served as the entryway into the dorm. It wasn't a single room, but more like a mini apartment. There was a living room with a couch, recliner, and TV. A small kitchen was separated from the living room by an island bar, and then a narrow hallway where I assumed the bedrooms and bathroom were. It wasn't bad for only two people.

We spent the next two hours or so shooting the shit, getting to know each other better. He was a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow type of guy, which made him easy to get along with. I immediately felt at ease hanging around him. Jason explained his roommate, Marco, who was a senior defenseman on the team, had caught a nasty case of the flu and had gone home to New Jersey to recuperate, which meant they'd be missing one of their best defenseman for the game tomorrow. Jason didn't seem at all worried though. I guess his laid back attitude didn't allow for him to get emotional over things like that.


Three o'clock rolled around and I watched the team practice from the sidelines of the field. I had never seen a team practice as hard and as intense as these guys did. For two and a half hours everyone went all out on the field, doing drill after drill and only stopping for the occasional water break. Coach Parsons was being tough, nitpicking every little mistake and combing over every single detail with his players for the game tomorrow. If this was how it was going to be every practice, I had one hell of a wake-up call coming when I started playing here. Not that practices in high school were easy, but they were nothing like this. It was non-stop the entire time. Practice ended, and I waited for Jason outside the locker rooms while he changed. He emerged twenty minutes later, freshly showered after having been drenched in sweat from the brutal practice, and we walked back to his dorm.

"Is practice always that tough", I asked.

Jason took a swig from his water bottle and kept his eyes straight forward. "Nah, not usually. But with how important the game is tomorrow, and the cameras, and the shitload of people that are gonna be watching, everyone is feeling the pressure. No one wants to be embarrassed on live TV, so coach has been driving us hard all week long." He took another drink from his water bottle.

"Does the pressure ever get to you?" I asked him as we made our way through campus back toward the dorm.

"Not really. You can't let it when you play at this level, or else you'll suck and never be any good. If you wanna play at Braden, you have to forget about the pressure," he replied matter-of-factly. I felt stupid asking him such an obvious question and fell silent for the last few minutes of the walk back.

We got back to the dorm, and I plopped down on the couch in the living room. I was tired from the long day traveling down, and even though it was barely six o'clock I felt like passing out. But my fatigue was nothing compared to how Jason and the rest of the team must have felt after being put through two-and-a-half hours of grueling practice. All I'd done was get up early and sit around in an airport and on an airplane most of the day, and my eyelids felt heavy and eventually began to fall over my eyes. Just as I was about to give in and let myself drift off to sleep, I noticed a blurry movement in the corner of my eye. Curious, I begrudgedly forced them open. I noticed Jason had gone into his room to change out of the clothes he had worn to practice, and had only half shut the door. Sitting on the couch in the living room, I had a perfect angle to see right into his bedroom through the open crack in his door. Realizing what was about to happen, I snapped myself fully awake. He pulled off his shirt and revealed a wide, defined back with seemingly every muscle plainly visible against his skin. My heart began to race and thump against my chest at the sight and I anticipated what was to come next. After tossing his shirt onto his bed beside him, he tugged his sweatpants down and revealed a tight fitting pair of bright blue boxer briefs that clung to his narrow waist, and accentuated his legs and the two large, firm cheeks of his ass. My eyes were locked onto the sight before me like a hungry animal stalking its prey in the wild. My primal urges stirred with an intensity I hadn't experienced in a long, long time, and my cock began to swell and push against the confines of my pants. I leaned myself away from the couch and closer toward the door to try and get a better look at the sight in front of me. Wait, what the hell was I doing?

Shame washed over me like a tidal wave, and I immediately forced my eyes from the crack in the door I'd watched him through. Knowing what I had just done sent pangs of guilt into my gut, and my stomach churned.

I felt like I was going to be sick. I felt something coming up from my stomach into my mouth, and I swallowed hard to force it back down again. I stared down at my lap, and my cock that had been rock hard just seconds before was now completely limp. I guess it had gotten the message from my brain that getting excited over stuff like this was not something to be tolerated. I sighed.

"Women. Just women," as if I was trying to reinforce what I thought I already knew I was interested in. I wasn't entirely sure though if something like that, a basic truth, should need a reminder.

Jason came from his room a minute later, and as soon as he emerged I averted my eyes away from his direction and toward the TV. I couldn't look at him after what I'd just done, despite the fact he was completely oblivious to any of it. I felt disgusted, disgraced. I was not going to blow the next four years for myself before they had even started. The rest of the night was awkward and uneasy for me, as the implications of what had happened earlier kept bouncing around in my head.

What if I had been caught looking?

What if I actually gave into the urge and actually acted on it by doing something?

My life would be ruined, and that prospect did nothing to help calm the anxiety that had been caused by Jason's unintentional little peep show. We both sat on the couch for the rest of the evening, watching a Flyers game on TV, but I didn't really pay attention to much of it at all. My thoughts just kept running wild. How would my parents, friends, teammates, and everyone else would react if I threw away all my life potential for some stupid urge I didn't understand nor want?

I finally allowed myself to concentrate on the game during the last twenty minutes and attempted to forget about what had happened. The game ended around ten, and Jason casually announced he was going to bed. "You still wanna watch TV?" he asked.

"Nah, I'm good." He flicked the TV off, went into his room, and came back with a pillow and a blanket for me to sleep with on the couch.

"Goodnight." Jason disappeared into his room.

"Goodnight," I barely mumbled back.

The room was totally silent and so dark I could barely see my hands in front of my face. With nothing to distract me in the pitch dark and silence I went through every `what if' scenario I could think of if I ever slipped up. I imagined every possible reaction from the people in my life. My parents were at the forefront of those I feared to disappoint. The lesson drilled into my head from day one had been that success comes with conformity and fitting in, and while it had never been explicitly stated, being a homo was not exactly considered conforming with the success-oriented crowd. Sometimes I wished that I'd been born to less successful parents, who didn't value what your title was or how much the paycheck you brought home every two weeks was, like mine did. It would've made life a hell of a lot easier. But I wasn't going to slip up and give in, because I wasn't one of them, and I had no desire to be. I was lucky to have the parents I did because they raised me to take what I wanted and showed me how to continue the legacy they'd started. The desire to continue that legacy was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. I took comfort in that last thought, and much of my anxiety dissipated as I drifted to sleep on the couch.


I woke up the next morning feeling completely refreshed and ready to start again. In my mind, the night before had been a fluke, a mistake, and the great thing about mistakes is that you can learn from them and not make them again. I was smart, and I knew I had to stay away from any potentially volatile situation that could trigger me into making the same mistake. It would be easy, and I knew I was lucky what had happened the previous night hadn't cost me. I'd dodged a bullet, and I was not going to put myself in front of a loaded gun again.

The game began at noon, and it was a sight to see. 13,000 people packed the seats and standing area in the stadium, and almost everyone wore Braden's signature blue. ESPN had set up multiple cameras from all different angles in the stadium for the TV broadcast, and as the home team came out of the locker room and onto the field the crowd went crazy. It was the perfect setting for one of the most anticipated games of the year.

The game was a slugfest, and by halftime UMass was up eight-seven after scoring two straight goals in the final forty seconds of the half. In the third quarter, Braden came roaring back and scored four unanswered goals and held UMass's offense to nothing the entire quarter.

I was totally conflicted in my loyalties. I had grown up watching UMass games, and my dad was an alumnus, but Braden was going to be my future team and my home away from home. But it was better to go with the future rather than the past, especially after last night.

In the fourth quarter, UMass came back with a vengeance and made it fourteen-thirteen with less than two minutes left on the clock. With the way UMass's offense had exploded and completely broken down Braden's defense, I thought they were done for. But with twenty-eight seconds left, Jason buried a bullet shot into the upper reaches of the net to tie the game at fourteen. Jason won the faceoff after the goal to give Braden possession with just seconds left, and after a quick give-and-go play, a Braden attackman whipped an underhand shot and sent the ball skipping across the turf and right through the goalie's legs into the net as time expired. The crowd went wild as the whole team rushed the field and pig-piled on top of the guy who'd scored the buzzer-beating goal to win. All the guys were overwhelmed, and I watched from the sidelines as they celebrated their upset win. I had a feeling tonight was going to be one hell of a party, and I was looking forward to it. I had no idea, though, that the events that would transpire at that party that night would change my life and send me into a downward spiral.