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Matt came by after he followed Thomas and Colt to Sam's Pizza. I was pissed he didn't call me on his cell and tell me to get my ass over there. My parents weren't home, and we reclined on the chaise lounges on the patio in our backyard.
"Everybody wanted to know where you were. They act like we're boyfriends," Matt grumbled.
"Yeah, what's the idea of leaving your boyfriend behind?"
"That's just it. You're not my boyfriend, and I didn't have any obligation to find you or call you."
"I was home watching porn, beating off, and trying to figure how I could get into porn movies."
"Speaking of making porn, what's happened to Randy?" I asked.
"Hell if I know. Don't see him at school much. Could be prostituting. Picking up where you left off."
"You mean we, don't you?"
He turned on his side to face me. "You're the one that almost died, remember? Some of us know when to stop, and some of us don't."
I flipped him off. "You don't need to remind me." I paused a couple of beats. "So what's up with Zoe and Megan?"
"They seem determined to get Thomas and Colt to go out with them or into bed. I'm not sure which."
"I'd be willing to switch teams for either of them," I said.
"Damn, you're a horny asshole."
"Speaking of assholes, my parents aren't home. Wanna fool around?"
"You seem to forget that it doesn't make any difference whether or not they're home anymore. All we have to do is lock the door."
"I know, but there's something about having them out there knowing what we're doing that's a bit unnerving," I said.
He jumped up and headed toward my bedroom. "Come on, Andy, don't just lie there."
Shit he was fast. And here I thought I was the leader in our relationship. We went into my room, locked the door, and had great afternoon sex. Ah, the joys of friends with benefits.
Andy and I had awesome afternoon sex. Sometimes I felt guilty because it seemed like I was using him. But hell, we'd been friends all our lives, and we'd be together hanging around anyway, so why not hang around having sex?
I'm not sure why, but for some reason I started to miss Dr. Walker. Everything in my life seemed to be going well, so why it suddenly hit me, I wasn't sure. Maybe it was my confusion. I had been thinking about Megan a lot, and in a way it made me feel like I was cheating on Andy, even though we weren't boyfriends. Maybe it was because she was a girl. But I think I'd have felt the same if it was a guy. I could remember a time when I'd have sex with Thomas, or Andy, or Randy, or any of those guys who paid for sex and never give it another thought, and now for some reason I was feeling guilty. Is that the price we pay for trying to do the right thing?
All my life my dad had said you never get anything for nothing. He brought it up again the other day when we were cleaning out the garage.
"You know, Matt, like I always say: you don't get anything for nothing. There's always a price to pay."
I just had to be a smartass. "How `bout if someone gave me a million dollars and said there were no strings attached?"
He gave me a confident smile. "There'd be a price."
I grabbed some rope and put it in a cabinet. "No there wouldn't. I could spend it however I wanted or burn it if I wanted. There wouldn't be any strings attached."
Then came the questions. He could have easily been playing Dr. Walker.
He stopped working. "Are you telling me you'd feel no obligation at all to the person who gave you the million dollars?"
I closed the cabinet door and turned toward him. "Well, uh. No. Why would I? He gave it to me without any strings attached."
He pursed his lips. "So you're saying that you'd never think about the man who gave you the money. You'd never wonder if he'd be critical of the way you're spending it, or hording it, or whatever you decided to do with it? You'd never think of him again?"
"Of course I'd think of him. I'd appreciate his generosity. And I suppose I'd want to..." I stopped. I knew what was coming next. Yeah, you got it. I'd want to show my appreciation.
He smiled. "If I'm hearing you correctly, you'd owe him? Are you going to thank him?" "Yeah, I'd owe him that much."
"How about one day you hear a knock on our door and the man is standing at the door telling you he's in trouble, and needs the money back? Assuming you put it in the bank to pay for college, would you give it to him? And if you didn't, how would it make you feel?"
"Dad, stop it. I get the point."
He laughed and patted me on the back. "I thought you would. But you don't get off that easy. I almost hate to bring this up, but, have you had to pay a price for all the things you and Andy have done?"
I didn't answer at first, but he waited. "Yeah."
"Was it worth it?"
I rolled my eyes. "Dad, I know what you're getting at. It seemed worth it at the time. Now, I'm not so sure. But I'm alive and moving ahead, so maybe there isn't any price to be paid."
"You've tied some real knots in your life. Don't you think that's the price you pay?"
I didn't want to admit it. "I suppose."
"Are you able to just make your mind go blank and never again picture the things you've done, the people you were with, the cost you paid for growing up too fast, or how much the loss of your youthful innocence cost?"
"Dad, you sound just like Dr. Walker."
He smiled. "Thanks for the compliment."
"You're right, Dad. There is a price. I often think about what I did and try to block it out of my mind, but I can't. I do my best every day to not let it drag me back down. What bothers me the most is the thought that when I'm your age, these images and memories will still be with me. The knots will still be with me. The knots are my regrets. Things I can never get rid of. I'll drag them around with me all my life." Now I remember why I missed Dr. Walker.
"Matt, they'll fade. The knots will become smaller as long as you don't give up. Your mom and I are here for you. Don't be afraid to talk to us. Hell, after everything that has happened in your short sixteen years, I think you know that by now."
Tears formed in my eyes as I walked to my dad and hugged him. "I love you, Dad."
"I love you too, Matt."
Zoe, Colt, Thomas, and Megan walked out of Sam's Pizza holding hands, leaving Matt in Sam's waiting for the pizza he'd never planned to buy.
Thomas let go of Megan's hand as soon as they were out the door. "That's enough. You had your fun. But it's over."
Megan gave him a sad look and then gave him a light shove. "Lighten up. You know it was fun. Come on, say it. Say it was fun."
Thomas crossed his arms. "It was stupid."
"Ignore him," Colt said. "I thought it was fun."
Thomas scowled, grabbed Colt's hand, and said, "Let's get out of here."
Colt pulled away. "Loosen up, Tommy. It was all in good fun. It's not like Zoe and Megan want us as boyfriends. Didn't you notice how everyone stared? They're probably all wondering if we got `scared straight'."
Thomas' face broke into a smile. "I like that. Scared straight, but we gotta go. Let's go, Colt."
Zoe grabbed Colt's hand. "Can't you at least walk us back to school so we can catch the activity bus home?"
Colt looked at Thomas, then Zoe, and back to Thomas. "Come on, Thomas, the least we can do is do that."
"Colt!" he said with heat in his voice. "These two are clever enough and smart enough to get back to school on their own. They don't need us."
Megan grabbed Thomas by the forearm. "You're right, Thomas. But Colt wants to. Don't be such a coward. We're not going to lure you into an alley and molest you."
Thomas let out a low quiet laugh. "I'm not so sure about that. And by the way, I'm not a coward."
"Then why do you act so afraid of two girls?"
"I'm not afraid."
"Then walk us back to school."
"Come on, Tommy," Colt said.
"Quit calling me Tommy. It's Thomas."
Megan squeezed Thomas' forearm. "I think it cute, Tommy. Come on. Walk us back to school."
"What the hell," Thomas said. "What can it hurt."
A broad grin spread across Colt's face until Thomas continued. "Megan, you and Zoe walk in front of us, and Colt and I will walk behind you to keep you safe. Or maybe it should be the other way around; we'll walk in front, and you walk behind us. That way if anyone attacks us from the front, we can protect you." He let out a loud laugh.
"Be serious, Thomas," Colt said.
"I was just trying to do like Megan said and lighten up. Let's get these girls back to school."
Megan put her hand inside Thomas' elbow, and Zoe did the same to Colt as they headed down the street looking like two straight couples out for a walk.
Thomas pulled away from Megan when they got close to the school. She surprised him by putting her arms around him, kissing him, and forcing his lips open with her tongue.
"What the fuck you doing?" he yelled as he pushed her away. "I'm gay. Leave me alone."
Zoe was emboldened by Megan and did the same to Colt. Colt didn't pull away and let Zoe's tongue slip into his mouth and do a little exploring. He liked it.
Thomas grabbed Colt and undocked the two of them. "Come on. Let's go."
Colt didn't move, which gave Zoe just enough time to ask, "Would you like to come to my house this weekend? We live in a gated community with a pool, a game room with a pool table, and a large flat-screen TV. We can swim, play games, and watch a movie."
Colt glanced at Thomas who gave him a pissed off look.
Colt shrugged. "I'd love to, but my parents are busy this weekend, and I don't have a way of getting there. Besides, I can't come without Thomas."
"He can come too," Megan offered.
"It's not even your house, Megan, and I'm not interested," Thomas said with a scowl.
Megan turned to Colt. "Is he always like this? Not much of a boyfriend if he's always such a pain."
Colt fumbled for words. "Well. Well, no, not really. He's sweet and loving. But he can be a pain in the ass sometimes, especially when it comes to letting other people into our lives."
"Look," Megan said. "We know you're gay. We accept that. But like I said, we watched you guys all basketball season, and we both agreed we wanted to get to know you better. You know, friends without benefits."
Thomas crossed his arms and smiled. "You know, all this reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve."
Megan gave him a questioning look.
"YOU know. She tempted Adam just like you're tempting us. It's subtle, but I'm onto you. Maybe Colt isn't, but I am. You sound like this is all innocent, but I know better. You know damn well from all the publicity from the Dillon Burke trial that I'm not so innocent, and I've seen this all before."
"Tempting you?" Megan questioned. "You guys are having sex together all the time. What is it that we're doing? Are you concerned that you might go to hell by hanging around with girls and maybe have sex with one? You've already been in a foursome. So what's the big deal?" She paused a couple of beats. "Anyway, this isn't about sex. We just want to be friends. So are you coming to Zoe's or not?"
Thomas looked at Zoe. "To answer your question, yes, you're invited."
A huge smile crossed Colt's face. "What time Saturday?"
Zoe smiled back. "Come over around noon. We'll have lunch out by the pool."
Colt turned to Thomas. "Can your parents give us a ride?"
Thomas rolled his eyes. "I think so. They'd probably be happy seeing us doing something with girls, even if it might mean we'd lose our virginity."
Megan pointed at the bus. "We have to get to the bus before it leaves. See you guys on Saturday."
"It's a date," Colt said in return.
I couldn't believe it when Matt told me he heard from Thomas that he and Colt were going to Zoe's this weekend. Her family lived in this big house in a fancy community. I was jealous. Girls or not, I sure wished I could join them. At lunch the temptation to rag on Thomas and Colt was too much to pass up. "So guys. You have dates this Saturday. You planning on getting naked and going crazy?"
"You know what, Andy, you're just jealous," Thomas said.
"You're right, Thomas. I am jealous. Those two have money. If you hook up with them, they'll probably get some fancy car next this year when they turn sixteen, and they'll let you guys drive them."
Colt slapped the table. "Damn, Andy. I hadn't thought of that. Thomas, maybe we should give this more thought. They could become friends with some benefits."
Everyone around the table laughed except for Emily and Thomas. "This isn't funny. Zoe and Megan are people, not assets. Either be their friends because you want them to be friends, or don't lead them on," Emily said.
"We not leading them on," Colt fired back. "They invited us. Thomas didn't want to go. But this is why I know he loves me. He knew I wanted to go, and he's going because of that. Yeah, it pisses him off a bit, but he's still going." He leaned over and kissed Thomas. "Thanks."
"That is so beautiful," Matt said in that you are dumb shits voice. "Two gay guys being friends with two girls who might wind up being friends with some benefits. And of course, Colt thinks you are the greatest, Thomas. That's really sweet. It's just going to be a fun day at the pool with the rich folks."
I punched Matt in the shoulder. "Knock the shit off. I'm sure these two can handle Zoe and Megan. There only girls, after all."
That got a response from Em. "Only girls? Keep in mind that we may not have the same thing between our legs like you do, but we have something we use far more often than guys. It's the brain that sits between our ears. Zoe and Megan are not stupid, and you should be afraid, seriously afraid if you want to keep your virginity."
"Come on, Em," I said. "These two have already lost their virginity."
"Yeah, maybe to another guy, but not a girl. That could spell trouble in paradise."
Thomas ran his fingers through his hair. "That's what I've been trying to tell Colt, but he doesn't seem to care. He thinks it's all innocent."
"So why'd you go along with it, Thomas?" Ollie asked.
"He seemed so excited. I loved seeing that look on his face. It just didn't seem right to get in a fight over this and take a chance on losing what we have."
Emily took a bite of her sandwich. "But you are taking a chance,"
"I know, and I resisted at first. But I love Colt, and I want to see him happy. I didn't think I had a choice."
Colt put his hand on Thomas'. "That's why I know you love me. And damn, I really want to go. Neither of us have had a chance like this before. It's going to be good for us. Like I said, they can be friends with some benefits."
Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue making mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not deny my humanity, but embrace it. - Kevyn Aucoin
The choices we make, however, determine to a large extent our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices. - James E. Faust
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. - Eleanor Roosevelt
If you like this story, xontact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I answer all emails.
I'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time to edit Knots 1, 2, 3, & 4. As the author, I take final responsibility for all parts of the story, including any errors.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales, is purely coincidental and no slanderous intent is implied.