I just took a new job and moved to a new city. It has been a big mess for quite a while. That is why this chapter is much delayed. But now I am back on track again.
Big thanks to Charlie for editing.
6.1 The guilty one
That year the first snow came two weeks before New Year's Day. I was excited but the snowdrop was light and it melted immediately. Then, on the night of December 31st, another snow began to fall. The next morning I woke up one year older. I tried to look outside through the windows but they were totally covered by frost. Luke came into my bedroom and shouted, "Get up! Time for a snow fight!" Seeing no immediate reaction from me, he suddenly pulled off my quilt, revealing my morning wood. I was really embarrassed, trying to cover myself. Luke laughed and said, "It's OK, kid. No need to be shy. It's just us boys. We all get morning wood." Before I could indulge myself with the image of Luke and his morning wood, he dragged me out of my bed, almost putting clothes onto me.
We had a fierce snow fight with the neighborhood kids.
Before I even noticed, it was the final exams. I studied diligently during the semester and was well prepared, so they went really well. However, after the last exam, which was math, the teacher (who was also our home room advisor) asked Luke and me and the other two students whose desk was right before ours to stay behind.
"Is there anything you'd like to share with me?" When the other students left, the teacher asked, glaring at us.
"What do you mean?" I asked carefully, thinking hard of what I had done wrong and couldn't locate anything. The others just shook their heads.
"Does this remind you of something you wanna share with me?" He handed a small note to us. I looked it over, and suddenly began to worry. On the note there were several answers to the questions on the math exam, and the handwriting was very similar to mine. My handwriting was unique. It looked more printed than hand-written. Several teachers praised my handwriting in front of the whole class. Only I wrote like that because it took a lot of effort, but it looked really neat and beautiful, so I didn't mind the extra effort. However, it was also very easy for others to fake my handwriting. I knew I hadn't written the note - someone else did - but whoever had a look at the note would think it was from me. I passed the note to the others, and after they had a glance, they all looked at me.
Yeah I did share my answers with Luke. He sat right beside me and he didn't even ask in advance. He took for granted that I would help him out for the exams and he was right. I just could not deny him anything, and he began to realize that. During the exams I didn't pay extra attention to cover my answer sheets and the rest was Luke's doing. I definitely didn't write this note. Only now I would have a really difficult time to prove it.
"Where did you find it?" One student asked.
"Someone found it near your desk and gave it to me," the teacher answered, putting extra emphasis on "someone," telling us that there was no way he would reveal the source of information. Getting no response, he asked again, "Now tell me who wrote this!" His tone was more impatient and sterner.
"You are not going home until we sort this out!"
I had no idea how long it was, but it felt like hours. Finally the teacher sighed and said, "Listen! If someone did this and admits now, it will not leave this room! I promise! Otherwise, I have no choice but to report it to the school's discipline committee."
I knew if I admitted it, he would keep his promise and end this whole thing here. His end-of-semester bonus depended on the average score his students made in the final math exam. My score was definitely pushing the average to a higher end so he wouldn't want to risk losing it. However, I didn't do it, so why should I take the blame for some crime I didn't commit? I am not that noble.
"One of you four must have written this. My patience is limited." Now the teacher almost sounded desperate. I was definitely desperate.
"I wrote it." Luke suddenly said. The teacher looked at him suspiciously, but he must be happy that someone finally broke the dilemma, so he immediately stood up and said, "OK, what you did is very wrong, but I'll stick to my words. This will be between us, no one else. Now get out!"
I was emotionally exhausted so I told Luke that I wanted to walk for a while. I was walking, bringing my bike alongside with one hand, and Luke was walking beside me in silence.
After a while, I began to get angry.
"Luke, you almost got us into huge trouble! What were you thinking?" He said nothing. I got angrier. "You know you could get expelled with your history! You could get me expelled since I already got a severe warning! How could you be so stupid?" I went on and on.
Suddenly Luke stopped. He turned and now he was facing me, his face totally red. "I didn't write that damn note!" He shouted at me, and then he just ran away.
I stood there shocked. I couldn't process it for a few seconds. Then I began to walk again and my brain came back: so Luke wasn't the one who wrote the note!
I jumped on my bike and rode crazily to catch up with Luke. He already stopped running and was walking now, very slowly. With heavy steps and slumped shoulders, he looked lonely and miserable. At that moment I was overwhelmed with emotions.
I jumped off my bike and shouted, "Luke!" He turned. Before he could react, I gave him a hug so tight that I could feel him struggling to breathe; then I released him. Looking at Luke, his expression a mixture of anger, hurt, and bewilderment, his eyes clear as mountain spring water, his nose red from the cold temperature, suddenly out of nowhere I had this huge impulse that I couldn't resist, so I just let myself go and planted a big wet kiss on his nose. Again, before he could react, I jumped on my bike and rode away like crazy. I heard him cursing and calling from behind, "Damn it! Wait up!" I just ignored him, laughing and fleeing home.
Luke arrived home ten minutes later. I was slightly embarrassed when he came into my room and said, "You know, I had to wash my face THREE times to get rid of your spit! Why the hell did you lick my nose?"
Well, I kissed your nose, not licked, I said to myself. To Luke, I answered, "Because I wanted to." I looked at him challengingly, as if saying, "What can you do about it?" To emphasize my point, I stuck out my tongue suddenly and licked his left cheek, making it totally wet from my spit.
Jumping back and wiping his cheek with sleeves, he shouted, "Damn it, Kid! You are sick!" Faking an angry expression for a few seconds, he lost control and began to laugh, shaking his head. "Don't ever do this in front of others!" he warned me.
Does that mean I could do it when it was just you and me? That was a question I didn't have the courage to ask him.
I never told Luke that I didn't write that note. It didn't matter anyway.
6.2 Spring Festival
After the last exam we stayed home while teachers graded our papers. After a week we came back school to pick up our final exam reports for our parents, then it was winter break.
It turned out that I was number one in the class, beating Carl barely with six points. The upset and angry look Carl shot me was definitely something I enjoyed to go over again and again later in my mind. When I thought about the whole cheating note thing, I began to doubt if Carl was the one wrote it and reported it to the teacher. I couldn't think of anyone else who had the motivation to do it. Yet I had no proof; besides, the teacher already let it pass so it would be unwise to bring it up again.
During the night of Spring Festival, all my aunts, uncles and cousins came over to our house to have dinner. My four aunts came over early that morning to help Grandma to prepare the food. Others arrived just before dinner. My parents were not here; seeing the attention my cousins got from their parents only made me sadder. No one noticed me being upset though since they were all in the holiday mood, laughing, drinking, enjoying the abundance of food, which only happened this one night out of the whole year. In the crowd of family members I felt lonelier than ever.
Jenny insisted sitting right beside me on the big round dinner table. Instead of bugging her mom, she kept asking me for a shrimp from the other side of the table, or when were we going to set off some fireworks. I didn't know when, but after she lived with us for a while, she began to call me brother instead of cousin. That night her whining and constant demands no longer seemed so annoying. I regretted I didn't treat her nicer before and swore to myself I would be a better brother to her in the new year.
After the dinner, the kids stayed in one room playing and adults in another enjoing a cup of tea and some chat. Older cousins joined the adult group. I retreated to my bedroom. After a while Jenny came in and said, "They are going to set off the fireworks now." I followered her outside. In front of our house there were a lot of people, my family and some neighbors. Older boys fought to ignite the fireworks, so it took longer, but still, we only had about ten pieces and after half an hour, the show was over. I didn't notice Luke standing beside me until he asked, "Kid, any plans for later?"
I shook my head, "Nope, I'll just go to bed. Kinda tired."
"No way! It's Spring Festival! No one goes to bed before midnight!" He tilted closer, "I am thinking of going to the temple. Wanna join me?"
"Your parents let you?" I was surprised. The temple was in the mountains and it was night. Even for a wild kid like Luke it could be dangerous.
"Nah, they won't know." he answered with a mischievous grin, "You can do the same."
Usually I would say no, but that night I was feeling very low, and being with Luke was definitely something I could do to improve my mood. I nodded "yes."
"I want to go with you," said Jenny. I didn't realize she was right beside Luke and me.
"No! You are too small and it's too dangerous for you!" I tried to refuse her.
"If you don't take me, I will tell Grandma!" Jenny threatened.
Usually I would be pissed when she acted like this, but tonight I was really in a brotherly mode. Thinking Luke and I could take care of her, I agreed, "OK, you can go if you don't go back with your parents."
"What? No!" Luke protested, "If we go, we have to take your bike. How could three of us ride one bike?"
"I don't care. If you don't take me, I'll tell Grandma!" Jenny threatened again, being the total brat.
"Maybe we could ask Alison to go with us?" I thought for a while and came up with a solution. "The four of us will then have two bikes." I was hoping I could go with Luke, just two of us, but the world did not rotate around my wishes.
Luke hezitated, but seeing no other way out of it, he finally agreed. Alison's home was only a few blocks away, so Luke and I went there on foot. She was on the street playing fireworks with some kids. They had a lot more fireworks than we had, bigger and more flamboyant ones. Alison saw us coming and ran over happily. I explained our plan to her. She immediately agreed with excitement. We discussed it for a while and agreed to meet in front of Luke's house at eleven.
When it was time for others to leave, Jenny strongly insisted on staying with us, so her parents left without her. We all went to our bedrooms, pretending to go to sleep. Then around ten forty, I quietly got Jenny up, and sneaked out of the house. When we got to Luke's house, Alison was already there with Luke. We left immediately, with Luke and me steering, Alison riding with Luke, and Jenny with me.
We rode alongside the lake. The road was surprisingly crowded with many people going to the temple to pray. It took us about thirty minutes to get there and another twenty to secure our bike to a tree and struggle through the crowd to enter the temple. Once we entered, there was a big open area in front of the main building, and everyone was standing there waiting, talking and laughing loudly. I had to shout to be heard.
Jenny got cold, so I took off my jacket and wrapped it around her. It was really freezing and I was shivering. Luke noticed and took off his jacket for me. I stubbonly refused. He had to put it back, but then he wrapped his arms around me, keeping me warm. It felt wonderful. When it turned midnight, the first sound of the bell broke into the night sky. Suddenly all noises were gone, everyone stopped talking and stayed still, listening to the peaceful one hundred and eight bell sound resonating in the mountains, wishing for the best for their family, their loved ones, and themselves. It was so quiet that besides the sound of the bell, you could even hear each other's breathing, the wind going through trees in the mountains and the remote noises from the city.
By tradition one could make three wishes to Buddha in the new year, so I wished for my parents to relocate back, wished good health for everyone I cared for, and wished for Luke and me to be friends forever.
I barely finished my wishes before the bell stopped, and all the noises came back. People began to move, fighting to get into the main building. Suddenly I realized Jenny was no longer with us. I panicked, so did Luke and Alison. Luke immediately set out to find Jenny, but I grabbed him and told him we should have a plan. We discussed and decided to gather again around a tree, and divided the area into three, one for each of us to search. Luke was the strongest of us, so he went against the crowd, backing out, I went left toward the main building, and Alison went right.
I called out desperately and looked everywhere, but it was really difficult to move freely with such a moving crowd around me. Jenny was nowhere to be seen. My heart sank lower and lower as time went by. When I reached the door to the main building, I fought back to the tree where we decided to meet, hoping that others had located Jenny. It took me twice as much time to get back to the tree. To my great relief Luke was there with Jenny holding his hand. It felt like a huge stone was removed from my heart.
"Where did you go?" I shouted at Jenny angrily, then I noticed Jenny still had dried tears on her cheeks. She must be very frightened too, and my heart softened. I held her in my arms.
"Someone pushed me away from you! I couldn't help it! I went to a corner and waited there. Luke found me!" Jenny explained, almost in tears again. I stroked her hair gently.
"He did, did he? Isn't Luke the best?" I said, looking at Luke. He just smiled at me.
Alison came back in a few minutes. When she saw Jenny with us, she let out a long breath.
"You know, if not with Jake's plan, we would have lost each other searching for Jenny and would have never been here together so easily. This kid is a genius!" Luke said proudly. I grinned happily at his compliment.
"Yeah, Jake is definitely the brain among us," Alison said, "I am the muscle. Luke is the face."
"Yeah!" Luke nodded, then he jumped, "Wait! What? I am the muscle! You are the face, Alison!"
"Nah!" I decided to tease both of them a little. "Alison is too ugly and too manly to be the face. Luke, you are definitely the pretty face!"
"What about me?" Jenny inserted.
"You?" I gave it a thought and said, patting her head, "You are the big trouble!"
It was a wonderful Spring Festival.
6.3 The moment of truth
Winter break was much less fun than summer break. Firstly, it was much shorter, only about one month, whereas summer break was two months. Secondly, it was always so cold that we could hardly do anything.
Most days I stayed in bed until the sun rose and it warmed up. Sometimes Luke came over. I couldn't understand why he could get up so early in winter. One day even he was shivering, standing there talking with me.
"Why don't you get in here with me?" I offered.
He hesitated for a few seconds, but the coldness was really getting to him, so he finally said, "OK."
He removed his pants and jacket, and to my surprise, he also removed his shirt and wife-beater before getting into my bed. Now all he wore was a tiny brief.
I wasn't thinking much when I invited him in. It was the natural thing to offer at the moment. Now with him almost naked, my mind began to roar with all kind of erotic thoughts.
His body was really cold, so when our skin touched, I shouted in shock, "Hey! You feel like an iceberg!"
He chuckled, moved into a spooning position, and almost moaned, "Mmmmm, kid, you are so nice and warm!" Then he wrapped an arm and a leg around my body.
Suddenly he warned me, "Don't you dare lick my face!"
I wasn't thinking about licking him, but his warning just gave me the idea. With his face so close, I couldn't help but stick out my tongue. He tried to move away, and I moved forward, ending up licking his nose again.
"You are disgusting!" He wiped his nose on my shoulder to get rid of the spit, and suddenly he was on top of me, holding me in a necklock, and licked my nose.
I struggled to get free, but Luke was much stronger. He kept licking my face all over and kept saying, "Payback! You like to lick? How about being licked?" I was laughing and rolling my head like crazy, trying to avoid his wet tongue. Then I decided to fight back, so I stuck out my tongue, trying to lick him too.
"Ahhhhhh!" Luke rolled off me when our tongues accidentally touched. I turned my head to look at him, and he was looking at me. I smiled. He smiled back. I blew some air to his face, and he blew back. We laid side to side in silence for a while, enjoying each other's company. I thought of the hard dick I felt when Luke was on top of me and my dick too was painfully hard.
"I know what you are thinking," Luke said, out of nowhere.
"You do?" I was surprised and began to worry.
"Yes!" Then his hand moved over and grabbed my dick. "See! I am right!"
I froze for a second and then relaxed and got the courage. I moved my hand over and grabbed his hard dick. "Seems like you are thinking about the same thing!"
"Yes I am!" He admitted without shame or embarrassment. "Kid, if you were a girl, I'd make you my wife, fuck your brains out, and get you pregnant with my baby here and now."
Hearing him talk like that, my dick jumped and almost cum in Luke's hand. He must realize it too, for he released my dick, and then pushed my hand away from his dick, and sighed, "Too bad you are a boy, kid. "
I was so horny at that moment that I could not think straight. "You know," I suggested in a very husky voice, "We could do what you and David did ..."
"What!" He suddenly sat up. "What did you say?"
I was very nervous. He looked intense, but the words were out, and I couldn't take them back. "I saw what you and David were doing when I was sleeping over ..." My voice trailed off as Luke was getting more upset.
"I need to go. " He jumped out of bed, quickly putting his clothes back. Before I knew, he was gone.
That left me in a deep hole of confusion and depression. I couldn't figure out why Luke reacted that way. I could guess a million reasons, but none were conclusive.
Suddenly I sneezed and realized my body was totally freezing. When Luke left, he left the quilt open and my upper body was uncovered. I didn't know how long I stayed uncovered and I didn't even care.
When Grandma came in and asked me to get up for lunch, I told her no. My voice must sound weird, because she looked alarmed and put her hand on my forehead to check my temperature. It turned out I got a fever.
I stayed in bed for two weeks, sneezing, coughing, feeling like a dead person.