Three Roads Chapter 61: A Change Would Do You Good
Toby held up one finger, the well known sign in tennis that a ball has landed out, as his opponent's ball flew by him. He jogged to the net and shook his opponents hand, "Good match."
"That was easy." Brian said as he gave Toby a high five.
"It was, man it felt really good to be playing competitively again. This weekend should be fun."
"You mean three matches over three days? I'm not looking forward to it."
"We're all in good shape, it shouldn't be that hard. Plus, it's a new semester I'm always more motivated." Toby said taking a drink from his water bottle.
"Good job man!" Kyle said as he hit Toby hard on the shoulders.
Toby moved uncomfortably to get away from Kyle, "Don't touch me, please."
"I don't have cooties or anything."
"Are you sure about that?"
"Yes, cause I'm sure the girl I fucked last night would be calling me to bitch me out if I did."
Brian closed his eyes tightly, "I do not want that image in my head."
Toby let the image flash through his head very briefly before being disgusted with himself, "Do you even know where it goes?"
Kyle nodded, "Not only do I have the experience, but I've seen enough porn for a small village."
"That's lovely." Brian said with a fake smile.
"Oh come on like the gays don't watch porn."
Toby smiled, "Of course we do."
"I just don't get it. Why would anyone watch gay porn? There's no women in it."
Brian laughed and rolled his eyes, but Toby decided to keep he conversation going, for some reason he was enjoying it, "You're telling me you've never watched gay porn?"
"I've never watched it." Kyle said with a straight face.
"Then you don't know what you're missing."
"You've watched straight porn?" Kyle asked thinking he had pulled one on the both of them.
"Yeah, but only in desperate times." Brian nodded.
Toby agreed with him, "Or sometimes it's nice to see a straight guy in his element."
"Ok fine, what about lesbian porn?"
Both Brian and Toby shuddered, "Why would anyone..." Brian began, but couldn't find the words to finish.
"It's so great," Kyle said as if he were evangelizing someone, "There's licking and strap ons and dildos..."
"You get all of that in gay porn with no extra equipment necessary." Toby shrugged, "I can show you if you want."
Brian's mouth dropped open at Toby's boldness and Kyle was also visibly taken aback, "Uh...no thanks."
"I didn't mean me and you, I meant I'll give you some gay porn to watch so you can see what you're missing."
Kyle smiled, "Ok...but you have to watch some lesbian porn."
"Fine," Toby said nonchalantly, "bring some by my house tonight and I'll have your stuff ready."
"Ok, see you tonight." Toby said as he and Brian picked up their tennis bags and headed to the lockerroom.
"I couldn't tell if you guys were flirting or not." Brian said as they walked out of the gate.
"Were you flirting with him?"
"It's ok if you were, I mean Kyle is cute in an off putting sort of way."
"I'm not and that doesn't make sense."
"Come on," Brian pushed, "lots of gay guys do it to straight guys even if they're not interested."
"Trust me, I'm not interested and this conversation is weird."
"Because you're dating my ex boyfriend and we're talking like friends, in what world should that be possible."
Brian thought about it for a second, "Good point."
"Knock knock." Chase said as he appeared in the doorway of the Pride Center.
"Uh oh." Joey said half smiling.
"I'm a little scared. Whenever you come by these days it's always for a specific reason."
The color immediately left Chase's face and he suddenly didn't know what to say, "I see."
"Did I just make you nervous?" Joey said, smiling fully this time.
"You always do."
"I don't mean to."
Chase shrugged, "It's ok it's a good thing."
Chase was finding his feet incredibly interesting and Joey was still trying to figure out what was going on, "Let's start over...Hi Chase what brings you by today?"
"Ok! I just wanted to know if...I know I don't deserve it or anything, but do you want to go out sometime?"
The face swallowing smile appeared on Joey`s face again, "You want to go out with me?"
"Don't laugh at me."
Chase said it in such a way that Joey wanted to make his reaction clear, "I wasn't laughing at you I just...it's been a very long time since I've been asked out...so yes I will go out with you."
"Did you only say yes because it's been a while since someone asked you out?"
Joey laughed, "No! If I didn't want to go out with you, I would have said so. How many times do you think I had to reject Cooper?"
"Damn, it's no fun taking a swipe at him if you don't know who he is."
"When are you free?"
"Tonight, tomorrow night, all week, next week."
"Alright, got it. Want to have dinner or something tomorrow night?"
"Sounds good." Joey said.
"Fine, I'll pick you up from here tomorrow night and we'll go from there."
"It's a date."
Brian walked out of his last class for the day. It was much earlier than he expected, but it was the first day of a new semester and most of the teachers knew for their own personal safety it was best not to lecture.
He stepped outside of what was the oldest building still standing on campus and almost bumped into Richard.
"Hey," Brian said uncomfortably, "what are you doing here?"
"I'm done for the day, so I thought I'd wait for you and see if you wanted to hang out."
"Sure. Uh...where do you want to go?"
"Let's head to my car, I just want to go somewhere off campus."
Twenty minutes later they found themselves in a popular pizza place not far from the campus. Neither had shown any real interest in ordering anything and both were aware that even though nothing had been said, they were here to talk.
"Can I ask you something honestly?" Richard asked.
"Do you still want to go out with me?"
Brian didn`t say anything for several moments, which made his eventual comment unnecessary for Richard, "Honestly, I don't know."
"Were you ever going to say anything?"
"Yes. I was just trying to figure things out."
"What needed to be figured out?"
Brian fidgeted, "I don't know, it's my first relationship. I don't know what's normal to feel or not."
"And how do you feel now?"
"Considering you were never going to say anything..."
"I was going to talk to you about it."
"Right...the same guy who for months didn't make a move was suddenly going to find a backbone and tell me he didn't want to see me anymore."
"Why are you being mean?"
"Cause I don't like being jerked around. If you have something to say then say it, if you don't want to go out with me fine, just say it, but stop beating around the bush. We wasted enough time doing that already."
"I liked that part of it."
"If you just want to be fuck buddies..."
"I didn't say that."
Richard stood up, frustrated, "You're not saying anything. So I'm gonna go and give you your time to figure out whatever it is you need to figure out. Do you want a ride back to campus?"
"No, I think I'll walk."
"Fine." Richard said as he bolted out of the restaurant.
"What?" Eric said confused into the phone.
"Yes, Dr. Mikaelian called and said that a patient cancelled and he asked if I wanted to have my appointment a day early." Carol Johnson said.
"I've never heard of that happening."
"Are you calling me a liar?"
"No!" Eric said quickly, "Tomorrow is my first day of Tuesday/Thursday classes, I just don't know if I can get a response from all my professors in time to go with you. I don't know who some of them are yet because the class listing had them only as staff."
"Don't worry about it. I can go by myself."
"I want to go with you."
"I appreciate your concern, but I am fine. I will leave a message on your cell phone when I am done and then we can talk about it."
"The minute you're done, you'll call me?"
"Yes, the second I'm done."
"Ok, if something changes..."
"Eric, I know how to ask for help when I need it."
"Ok, well...I guess I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Eric stared at his cell phone for a minute and heard Cooper and Richard making small talk in the living room, "What's wrong?" Cooper asked.
"My mom moved up her appointment."
"Tomorrow. She said the doctor moved up her appointment."
"Are you going to go?"
"I want to, but I can tell she doesn't want me to go, plus I can't miss the first day of these classes. She probably did that on purpose."
"If you really want to go fuck the classes. Your mom's more important." Cooper said.
"I know. Maybe I'll wait this one out and see what happens and then go the next time."
The front door unlocking made all three boys turn. Cooper ran to the front door just as Toby was opening it.
"Hello friend!" Cooper said giving Toby a hug.
Toby was taken aback, "Hi." he said looking at Eric and Richard trying to figure out what was going on.
Cooper whispered quietly and quickly in his friend's ear, "Just a heads up, Richard's been here for a few hours pouting in the corner waiting for you to get home...So how are you?!" he said loud enough for everyone to hear.
"I'm good. I'd be better if I could get that greeting everyday."
Cooper smiled, "Sorry, I already have a boyfriend."
"Damn and I knew you first...hey." Toby said motioning to Richard.
Richard shook his head, "Just came to visit."
"You want to go to my room?"
"Sure." Richard said getting up for the first time since he arrived.
Cooper leaned over to Eric while Richard and Toby exited, "They're so about to have sex."
"So..." Toby said closing the door, "What's up?"
"I got dumped today."
"He's the only person I've been dating."
Richard sat down on the bed, his back to Toby, "I guess I haven't been officially dumped, but it's going to happen."
"What happened?" Toby repeated.
"I guess he's just gotten tired of me."
"Maybe he's just confused or something."
"We haven't been going out that long, if he's confused already that's not good."
"Ok...like you said you haven't been going out that long so you can't be that heartbroken...were you in love with him?"
Richard turned to look at Toby, "You shouldn't ask questions you may not want to hear the answer to."
Toby stared at Richard, "You didn't answer the question."
"No I wasn't, but I liked him a lot."
"Well, it sucks being dumped."
"No shit Sherlock...that's all you've got to say about my breakup?"
"I'm your ex, what am I supposed to say? Plus, I do get the smallest fraction of satisfaction that you so far haven't been able to make it work with anyone besides me." Toby smiled.
Richard returned the smile, "Some would say I wasn't able to make it work with you either."
"Some people might say that." Toby said climbing onto the bed. Richard soon joined him and they were both staring at the ceiling.
"Do you still have feelings for me?" Richard asked.
"Don't ask me that."
"Why it's a legitimate question?"
"Oh, because you're single now?"
"Shut up, I thought you were upset over Brian."
"I am," Richard said seriously, "it sucks."
"Who knows, maybe he just needs time."
"And you'll take him back like a little puppy dog."
"Richard chuckled, "I've never thought of myself as a puppy dog, but yeah I'd probably go out with him again."
"And to answer your question, I don't have feelings for you anymore." Toby said seriously.
"Really?" Richard said propping his head up in the palm of his hand.
"Fine then kiss me."
"That's because you're a liar."
"That's because I don't know where those lips have been."
"Please," Richard scoffed, "I took you back after those lips touched Tim."
Toby laughed, "Touche."
"Seriously though, can I sleep here tonight? I don't want to sleep in my bed alone."
"Sure, if you want. But no funny business."
"Come in!" Toby said to the knock at his bedroom door.
"Fuckin a!" Kyle yelled upon seeing Richard and Toby in bed.
"We're not doing anything." Toby said slightly annoyed.
"Sure!" Kyle said, afraid to move from the door, "I came to pick up the porn."
Richard gave Toby a surprised look, that he ignored as he walked to his computer, "I just got home, so give me a few minutes to make you a CD."
"Yeah, I've got stuff on my computer. I can just put it on a CD."
Kyle was very confused, "Don't you buy porn?"
"Good one," Toby said dryly, "no self respecting gay boy would buy porn. There's tons of free stuff on the net."
"Yeah, but it's only clips though," Richard interjected, "you have to watch like a ton of them just to get hard."
"Not if you know where to look." Toby smiled.
"Ok, well," Kyle started as he handed over the bag of porn he brought for Toby, "I brought you Baby, One More Time, I'm A Slave For You, and Oops, I Did It Again."
Toby and Richard stared at each other, "Where have I heard those names before?" Toby said searching his brain.
"I don't know, but I've heard of them too." Richard agreed.
"This shit is so legendary you've probably heard about them." Kyle smiled.
"All right, CD's done. There's a good three hours of great stuff on here. Let me know if you like it, and I can make you more." Toby laughed.
"Same for you. Later."
Toby closed the door and climbed back in bed with Richard, "What were we talking about?"
"I don't know, but since when do you and Kyle exchange porn?"
Toby gave him a quick synopsis of the conversation he'd had with Kyle and Brian earlier that morning.
"It's cool he's open minded enough to give it a try." Toby said.
"You're trying to convert him."
"No, I'm not. It's just a bit of good fun."
"Sure, I think Toby's got a crush."
Toby laughed despite himself, "You say that again and you'll be sleeping all alone tonight!"
"He didn't come home last night?" Brian asked with a raised voice.
"No, he was probably out getting some since you broke his heart." Joey said.
"You didn't tell him that you talked to me about it beforehand did you?"
"No, I didn't."
"Good, I have to live with him. I don't want him kicking my ass."
"Please, that's like a fantasy of yours."
Joey giggled, "Ok, you got me.
"Excited about your date tonight?"
"I am! I haven't dated in so long."
Brian smiled, "Usually, you skip right to the sex part of the date."
"Shut up. I've not even really dated since I've been in Sunnydale."
"Can I ask you a strange question?"
"I'm kidding. You don't always have to set up the question like that. By this point, you should know I'm comfortable talking about pretty much anything."
"When you had sex with Cooper..."
"Ok, this is a strange question." Joey interrupted.
"Was it good?"
"Are you wearing a wire or something?"
"No, I just want to know. It comes up a lot and you guys always joke about it, I'm just curious."
"You are never allowed to mention what I say to anyone ok?"
"Seriously, I will kill you."
"Ok, I promise."
"It was fantastic."
"I'm not surprised. Cooper looks like he'd be good in bed."
"We helped each other in a time of need and I think we're better friends for it."
"Did you ever like him?"
"No," Joey said quickly and firmly, "I mean I used to think he was cute and I don't ever mind seeing a dick that big, but no, it would never work."
"Shit, I'm going to be late! Why didn't you say anything?"
"Uhh, first I'm not your mother," Joey said, "and second you wanted to talk about Richard."
"It's so pathetic to be late to the first day of class. I'll see you later!" Brian yelled behind him as he ran off to class.
Two minutes later, Brian tried to open the door to the classroom as quietly as possible.
"You're late." Professor Paul Zamora said looking up from writing on the overheard.
Brian wasn`t too frightened, because the professor was smiling at him, "Sorry." Brian said as he made eye contact with him.
"It's ok, it's the first day of class, but don't let it happen again." He smiled.
Brian took his seat quickly, glad that everyone in the class was no longer staring at him. As Professor Zamora continued his opening remarks, Brian couldn't get over how good looking he was.
"Hello?" Carol said into the phone.
"I thought you were going to call me the second your appointment was over?"
"I just walked in the house."
"That's still not right after your appointment." Eric said.
"Do you want to know what the doctor said or not?"
"He would like to have me start chemotherapy in the next couple weeks. He's hoping that the first round will get most of the cancer."
"The first round?"
"Yes. If not I'll have another round of chemo. I'll have the first in a few weeks, then I'll wait three weeks and they'll see if it was effective or not."
"Won't it make you really sick?"
"Probably. I'm going to work in the morning to talk it over with my manager. I guess I'll finally use up all my sick time."
"That's not funny." Eric said.
"Eric, if we're going to get through this, we're going to have to remember to laugh even when we don't feel like it."
"Hello?" Cooper said into his cell phone as he moved between classes.
"My mother has to have chemotherapy."
"Woah. How soon?"
"A couple of weeks, but like...wow this is real."
"I know. Do you want me to come find you?"
"No," Eric said, "I'm fine...I just...she's optimistic. So is the doctor that they'll be able to get the cancer in this first go."
"Good, she should be. She's going to need to have a positive outlook to get through things, so are you."
"I know. It just sucks."
"What's going to happen with Jamie?" Cooper asked.
"She'll be fine before the chemo, but she will probably be too sick and tired to take him to school and pick him up, so she said she'd try and get one of the other mothers to help out for that period."
Eric took a deep breath, "Thank you for listening to me."
"I'll see you in a bit."
"Tim! Tim!" Jack yelled.
"Why are you yelling?" Tim asked coming out of the bathroom.
"Cause I didn't know where you were."
"It's a studio, there are only so many places I could be."
"Just listen. I met someone!"
"Why do you say it like that? Like you don't believe me or I'm making it up?"
"It's just because it's the second day of the semester. I didn't realize you work that fast."
"Well, we didn't actually talk, but..."
"You see why I was surprised."
"Can I finish?"
Tim put his hands up in an apologetic gesture, "Sorry."
"He reminds me of Tommy Lee."
"This story just gets weirder and weirder."
"And he's in my math class, you've probably seen him, he's on the basketball team. You know the token white guy that every basketball team has."
"I don't know him, remember me? Still kicked out of school."
It was Jack's turn to give the apologetic gesture, "Sorry, but he's so cute and tall and he has that really funny sort of personality. He's like the class clown, but not in a troublemaker kind of way."
"I see. What's his name?"
"Chris and I'm in love."
"You don't even know if he's gay."
"Well, I'm sure he's not out, he's on the basketball team, but I know he is. You should have seen the way he looked at me"
"You mean the way I`m looking at you now."
"I have a good feeling about this."
"I'm sure you do. The first step though is to get him to talk to you." Tim laughed.
Jack smiled, "So doubtful of my talents. I'll show you."
"So... what did you think of the movie?" Joey asked as they sat down at the restaurant.
"It was good." Chase smiled as he looked at the menu.
"I'm not really a fan of Bruce Willis or his movies, but at least this one was entertaining."
Joey picked up the menu and began to decide what he wanted, "What do you think you're going to get."
"I don't know."
"The steak sounds good, but I hate when you say well done and it comes back pink." Joey stared at the back of the menu Chase was reading and he was fuming, "Take me home."
Chase dropped the menu, "What?"
"We hardly talked in the car on the way to the movies, we hardly talked while waiting for the movie to start, we barely said a word on the way here, and you're not talking to me now. Frankly, this date sucks and unless it gets better like right now, I want you to take me home."
"I'm sorry, I'm just nervous," Chase dropped his voice and quickly glanced over his shoulder, "I've never been on a date with a guy."
"You're behaving like you've never been out on a date at all."
"We haven't ordered yet let's just go back to my apartment and order a pizza or something and just hang out, so there's no pressure."
"No no I promise to be better." Chase said reassuringly.
"No really, I'd prefer to do that. We can do this another night."
"Another night? You want to go out with me again?"
"Maybe, I guess our date isn't over yet. You still have time to improve."
"Ok." Chase smiled.
"You're still packing?" Eric asked as he walked into Toby's room.
"Yeah, you'd think by now I'd be an expert at packing for away trips, but it still always takes me a while."
Eric came in and sat on the bed. Toby could tell that Eric wanted to talk about something and that made him uncomfortable. He knew that since Eric's mother had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer that there would probably be numerous times when he needed to talk, understandably so, but Toby worried about coming off as insensitive or saying the wrong thing. He bit the bullet anyway, "You ok?"
Eric nodded, "Yeah. Can I tell you something in complete confidence?"
"Like not even Cooper."
Toby hesitated for a second,Ok."
"I think I'm having doubts about our relationship. It'll be a year in a couple weeks and he seems like he's in it for the long haul which is great. Like really it is. But how can he be so sure if I'm unsure?
"Cooper's a rare breed. He knows what he wants, most of us have no clue."
"But I do know what I want. I want a great guy who loves me and has a great personality and is driven and passionate about things and Cooper is all of those things, so why do I still not feel like, ok this is it. Did you have doubts about Richard?"
"I didn't really have doubts about him, but I knew him for years before I ever knew I was gay or we ever became a couple, so it's different. It's why I think we can still be friends after everything. That's how we started."
"Cooper and I were friends for two years before anything ever happened between us."
"You know I think you guys have a more realistic relationship than Richard and I had the first time around. We were living in a fairy tale. It was perfect, we never fought, there were never any problems. It had to end sometime. But you and Cooper fight, you don't see eye to eye on everything, but you're still able to come together. I think that shows growth."
"Am I just being stupid?"
Toby shook his head, "I don't think it's stupid, I just think it's your first relationship and you lucked out and found one of the best guys out there. Most people's first relationships involve being in the back seat of their dad's car for three and a half minutes of bliss."
Eric laughed, "That's true."
"Like I said, I think you're in a unique position. You struck gold the first time out. Almost everyone else gets the chance to at least date around a bit."
"Well, there was Jon. He'd be mad if I didn't mention him."
"But it wasn't anything serious."
"True. Thanks for the talk."
"Do you feel better?"
"Yeah actually. It gave me some stuff to think about."
"Hey! Why aren't you answering the front door?!" Kyle said suddenly appearing at Toby's open window.
"We didn`t hear it, not that it would matter since you can`t take a hint anyway." Toby said.
As Kyle climbed into Toby's bedroom, Eric nodded at Toby, "I'll see you later." he said with a smile.
"You know I'm lucky," Kyle began, "most people who look into a Black man's window don't live to tell about it."
"You're hysterical. What do you want?"
"I came by to bring your porn. Did you watch mine?"
"Not all of it, but I watched enough. It was eye opening."
"I was surprised..."
"Me too," Kyle interrupted, "I didn't realize gay porn could actually be arousing."
"I was gonna say I was surprised that anyone could get off on lesbians. It was some of the worst porn I've ever seen."
"Oh...what I meant was..."
"No need to correct yourself, gay porn is pretty hot. You want to borrow more?"
Toby laughed, "Don't be like that. It's cute...uh good you liked it."
"I didn't say I liked it. I said it was arousing. Anything can be arousing if you're horny enough."
"I can assure you I will never be horny enough to enjoy what I was watching."
"Right. I need to go play football or something. I'll see you tomorrow for our away trip." Kyle said as he prepared himself to climb through the window.
Despite himself, Toby laughed. Kyle was definitely one of a kind. He went back to packing and though he would never admit it, at least for the reasons why it was true, he was glad he wouldn't have to share a room alone with Kyle.
Thanks for taking the time to read this chapter. I know it was short, but I promise "good things" are coming from this chapter. If you'd like to receiev updates of posted chapters, send an e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions, comments, and constructive criticisms are always welcomed J