I'll Be:
Chapter 3
by Skyler

LEGALEASE: If you aren't of legal age to read this story, please go soemwhere else now. The Disney site might be a good place...

NOTE: Again, I'd just like to thank Andrew, my wonderful newfound blessing in the form of an editor! Your ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism have been extremely helpful! Thank you so much for the dedicated hard work and assistance! Also, to everyone who is reading this and replying, THANK YOU! Your words of encouragemet continue to be an inspiration! I am honored that you appreciate my work... Peace and love to all of you... -Skyler

Just as Tyler had predicted, a little more than thirty minutes passed before the doorbell rang. Cam is always so predictable. "Fashionably late for everything," he chuckled to himself while descending the stairs to answer the door. Well, he thought with a sly smile, this would at least give him something else to razz Cameron about after he kicked his ass on the basketball court. As common an occurrence as this event was, Tyler was always amused by it. Since he always felt there were very few things they did at which he was actually better than Cameron, Ty had to have something to take pride in, right? He was still smirking at this as he opened the door to admit his friend.

"Hey, you finally made it." He sarcastically intoned.

"Bite me, Tyler, traffic sucked. What are you grinning about anyway?" Cam responded in an icy tone, glaring at Tyler. Strangely enough, Cam had been acting this way quite a bit recently. Tyler was going to have to speak with him about it, but that could wait until later. Right now, he just needed to humiliate his friend on the court.

"Nothing." Tyler laughed, grabbing his friend by the shoulder and leading him through the house. "Just figuring that if you drive the lane as slowly as you drive your car, grandma, then I should have no trouble handing you your ass!"

"Screw you, Jacobs, okay? Leave my driving alone or I'm going to be forced to make you eat those words. Little as I may wish it." For whatever reason this statement struck both boys as hilariously funny and they managed to sustain the resulting laughter all the way out to the court.

After the first check however, moods quickly changed as their competitive spirits took hold. Though Cameron's own athletic prowess came nowhere near to that of Tyler, their rivalry was always very strong and intense. Cam loved the rivalry, both of them did. Above that, and the excellent practice he received from the activity, the biggest reason Cameron loved playing one-on-one with his friend was that he simply adored Tyler in gym shorts! Even though he was deathly afraid of Tyler noticing, Cam couldn't help but look at his best friend's tight ass in those shorts. There was always that little part of his conscience that attempted to make him feel guilty about it, but that in itself was easy enough to ignore as he secretly gawked every chance he got.

The thing that Cameron liked most about Tyler, physically, was that he wasn't one of those mega buff jock types. You know them, the ones with muscles so ripped and tight that if they farted their head might explode… Instead, Tyler was fairly slim, of an average build, with a nicely developing solidarity to his physique. His muscles were apparent but they didn't stand out. Chiseled was a word that frequently came into Cameron's mind, though he knew it was probably a little excessive to use.

They played hard into the evening like they had so many times before. Tiny glints of sweat appeared after awhile on their foreheads and Cameron's hair fell down into his face, sticking there, which gave Tyler an even-greater advantage later in the games. Watching his friend, Cam was pretty sure his pal had a real good chance at making the varsity squad this year, maybe even be a starter. His height, standing at 6'4", gave him a great strength in his position as a center. Ty had played the same post last year on the J.V. team and was looking to snag the varsity position this year. Tyler was a seasoned, passionate athlete who took his skills very seriously. He consistently posted big numbers and always played to win. With a little luck, Ty even hoped that the collegiate scouts might take some notice of him over the next two seasons. He figured playing ball was just about his only shot at attending a good university. Like most guys his age who took their sport seriously, he had big dreams of someday playing professionally, but knew it to be a highly unlikely possibility. Tyler had never figured himself that good anyway, but playing for a highly respected, prestigious college, would surely be of help down the road in whatever career field he ultimately chose. Not to mention the fact that it would definitely be a great way to pick up the hottest girls and just be way cool overall.

Cameron, on the other hand, was rather worried about his own chances at making the cut this year. He considered his abilities to be strong, definitely above average, but he wasn't nearly as naturally talented or consistent as his pal. They had both started J.V. last season, Ty at center and Cameron at shooting guard. His shorter stance, just 5'10", and lighter size had forced him to focus his game on playing from the outside. Unfortunately, the competition got quite a bit stiffer at varsity and the positions much more coveted. Only if he was lucky, Cameron figured, he might be a phenomenal bench warmer! Hey, it was better than nothing and would, if not completely, satisfy his competitive nature. At least it would allow him to still be near his best friend. In his mind, there was definitely something of merit in that fact.

Darkness settled in by 8:00 and Tyler's mom told the boys to wrap it up and come inside. They settled their best of three match with Tyler winning two and Cam barely squeaking past him to take the last game by a measly four points. He attributed that startling occurrence only to Tyler's recently developed inability to see very well in the dark. Oh well, "whatever it takes to win," Cam smiled to himself. In fact, he may have played much better overall had his focus been on the game instead of stealing glances at Tyler's ass and making failed attempts at stopping his mind from trying to muster the courage to tell his friend the truth. He knew it had to happen. Shielding this from Tyler was simply tearing him apart these days. Tyler noticed his poor play also and was increasingly curious about his friend's state of mind. His eyesight had been troubling him recently so there was no reason that Cameron couldn't have used that to his advantage and concentrated a little harder to win more of the games. The focus just hadn't been there though.

The youths grabbed sodas from the kitchen before climbing the stairs to Tyler's bedroom. Browsing through some CD's, Ty dropped one in the stereo and shut the door. He then plopped onto his bed, completely exhausted from their workout, and closed his eyes. Cameron took a seat in front of the computer desk nearby. Their seating arrangements had been a long standing tradition for the two, as most of their personal bonding time and deep conversations had taken place in this very room over the years. That reality hit Cameron like an electric shock and all of a sudden, he grew increasingly nervous. Usually he took tremendous enjoyment in these special and private times with Tyler, but something wasn't right here. Rousing himself from his thoughts, he glanced over to see Tyler, whose eyes were now open and staring curiously at him. Frozen under the stare and completely unsure of what to do next, Cameron looked dumfounded at Ty's odd gaze.

"You played like shit, dude." Tyler stated seriously.

"So I'm not as good as you are, so what?" Cam responded quickly, in a tone that was far too strong and defensive in nature.

"Its like you weren't even there, like you hardly tried at all. You've been out of it a lot lately, man. What's with you anyway? What gives?" Tyler's tone was accusatory now, highly concerned. In reality, he was just sick of Cameron being so goofy and withdrawn lately. This was something that had been highly unusual over their friendship, so he knew something was wrong.

"So I played like shit. Fine. That's it. Nothing's wrong with me… Hell, its not like I'm hiding anything." Cam's defenses were on full alert now and he didn't like where this was heading. Now is not the time, he thought, I'm just not ready.

"I never said you were hiding anything, just that your game sucked ass… But since you brought it up, what exactly aren't you not telling me?"

Shit… Cam mentally cursed himself for setting his own mind trap…

"Honestly, dude, you haven't been yourself lately and I don't like it. Ever since Becky Johnson asked you out last week and you turned her down, you've been all goofy and shit. Dude, need I remind you that you said no to BECKY FUCKING JOHNSON! She's only the hottest fucking girl in the whole entire school!"

Ah yes, the Becky Johnson fiasco. What a flub! Not only was she very pretty, for a girl that is, and immensely popular, but she was also known for being an easy and enjoyable lay. If she picked out a guy, he was assured of at least one good score with her before she dropped him and moved on to the next one. Hell, pretty much the entire male populace at school would kill for the chance to achieve that coveted "Super Fuck" status and the popularity that resulted, even for just one single day.

Cameron hadn't even blinked an eye at her presence. He'd shot down the offer instantly, with no signs of even remote interest or even a second thought. It had almost been as if he didn't care. Didn't care? Only a dead man could not care about the opportunity to screw that girl! A dead man or a homo anyway, Tyler realized all too suddenly…

"Dude, Cameron, buddy," He said nervously, mulling that last thought over, "we've known each other a long time now, right?"

"Right." Cam responded confidently.

"And we're best friends, right?"

"Right." Yet another assured response.

"And best friends always tell each other the truth about everything, no matter what. Right?"

"Yeah…" Came the reply, a little more nervously this time. Where the hell was Tyler going with this anyway?

"Are you gay, dude?"

"WHAT?" Cam squeaked out, voice cracking and panic flashing quickly across his face. Tyler saw it too, plain as day.

"Dude, you turned down the single hottest girl in school without even thinking about it. Ever since you've been real goofy. Hell, Cameron, you haven't had a girlfriend in three years and I'm pretty sure that jerkin' it to computer porn isn't your idea of personal satisfaction. So I'm asking you, as your best friend in the world, to be truthful with me. Are you gay?"

Cam didn't know what to do now. His mind froze, his body started quivering, and his lips suddenly became parched. He took a quick swig of his soda, trying to figure out what to do. Then he just lost it, finally dropping his guard and telling his friend everything. Once he started talking, Tyler quit looking at him, closing his eyes or looking at the wall instead. In fact, it almost seemed like Tyler was making a concerted effort not to look at him, like he were ashamed of even having brought up this issue. There was no turning back now, so the hell with it…. Cameron told him everything, the whole story, from start to finish. Then he waited, in silence, for Tyler to reply once he was done. Tyler didn't.

"Dude, look at me!" No response.

"Say something!" Still no reply, as his eyes remained fixed on some random area of the wall. He seemed to not even possess the energy to blink as he sat there, perfectly still and totally silent.

This quiet time made Cam that much more uncomfortable. It was not as though the conversation they'd just had had been particularly easy for him, either. Suddenly, he felt like being sick, his nerves became uneasy, body slightly shaking, and fears of what would happen now quickly assuming dominant control of his mind. He either wanted to yell or cry.

Tyler, the silent one, looked like he was going to be sick. His skin gone pale as if he'd just been punched in the stomach; breath coming in short, shallow gasps. He didn't dare open his mouth for fear that he would actually puke. His head was spinning violently and Tyler wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh, scream, or cry. A very strange sensation, this feeling inside of Tyler, but one not unfamiliar to most 16 year olds. Taking these things into account, Tyler concluded it was far safer to just sit there on the edge of his bed and stare into space not uttering a word.

After all, how often is it that your best friend of nearly ten years, the guy with whom you had done everything, the one you kept no secrets from and who kept none from you, told you he was gay?

Cameron and Tyler had been best buds since elementary school. They did everything together. Same sports, activities, interests, hobbies and friends. Their families even went to the same church, just so they could hang out together more often. Neither one had ever done anything that the other didn't at least know about. There were absolutely no secrets between the two youths. That is what hurt both the most and neither boy was really sure what to do now.

Cam had agonized over the decision to come out to his pal for almost three years, ever since he had been sure of his true feelings. He had sincerely hoped that by doing away with this terrible secret, his conscience would lay off him and there would at least be someone he could talk to about this most scary and frustrating part of his life. Now he wondered if that idea had been wrong. Perhaps this would be the end of a really great friendship. Though losing Tyler was a prospect he could not stand. Without Tyler, there was nobody else in his life to turn to. No one else he could trust.

The silence was deafening.

"Ty, please…. Say something, man!" Cam desperately squeaked. Pleading seemed weak at best, but sometimes we do things merely for necessity's sake.

However, words did not come yet to Tyler Jacobs' mouth. It wasn't as if he'd been dumbfounded or surprised by his friend's admonition. In truth, it made sense and Tyler had suspected the possibility for quite some time now. He just didn't know what to say and was still shocked, at least a little, that Cameron had actually admitted to it. The question that ruled his mind was: Does this change anything between them, and does this alter anything, or the implications of anything, that they'd done or discussed over the years?

These were the fears that plagued his mind at the present, and they were causing him to replay their entire friendship over in his head. He hated himself for doing it, but it just had to be done, if only for his own peace of mind. Until that concern was satisfied, he couldn't respond to his friend's pleas.

Still, he harbored one more bother. This issue troubled him more than any other with the sudden new development in their relationship. He couldn't help but wonder about Cameron's real view of their relationship. In truth, his biggest fear could come into focus any minute. Tyler, though he'd always dismissed them as natural hormones and adolescent exploration, had often found himself very attracted to Cameron. What did that mean now? What did it say about Tyler and his own sexuality? This could be a real problem.

The only sound in the room was the faint murmur of the stereo system in the background. Otherwise, all was still in Tyler's bedroom. Tyler remained in his position, seated silently on the edge of his bed, blankly staring at the wall. Cam sat on a chair off to his side, at his computer desk, staring nervously at Tyler.

"Dude, I should go. Give you some time to think about everything." In defeat, his voice betraying the words he spoke, Cameron rose after several moments and grabbed his car keys from the desktop as he moved to exit the room. This definitely had not gone as he'd hoped it might. Maybe his bud just needed some time to adjust. If that were the case, he would understand and be cool with it.

"Hey! Don't leave yet. Do you have to go?" Tyler's voice almost squeaked on his last words, surprising both boys. His head was spinning madly because of this new information. He was very confused, but knew one thing for sure: If he let Cam walk out the door at that moment, things would never be the same between them. They would grow apart and, although he was very confused, Tyler knew that to be one thing he could never allow happen.