Learning to love

Part 11

The gift; I Love You; What is a friend?

[This story was fabricated and created by me, the author.
Any similarity to any real life situation,event, or person(s) is purely of coincidence.
Please do not distribute this story in any way, shape, part, or form without my expressed consent.]


After leaving my fathers, I walked to the kitchen. In less than three weeks since leaving California, I had a boyfriend; I found out that my father had been lovers with his high school boyfriend, who just happens to be my boyfriend's father; I came out to my father; and my father was divorcing my mother and she would be leaving tomorrow. Sounds like a soap opera "Gays of Our Live's" I chuckled to myself. I asked Connie if she would call Hank as I passed through the kitchen. I still had the journal in my hand; my father hadn't even hinted that he wanted it back, so I was going to keep it. I climbed the stairs back to my rooms and entered my study. I returned the journal to my desk drawer and when I closed the drawer, I noticed a CD jewel box on the desktop. I picked it up and looked at the cover. To Brent from Matt: Forgive Me. Ah, the CD Matt had handed me at my birthday party. Connie must have placed it here. I opened the case and took out the CD. I walked back out into the game room and over to my CD player. I turned it on and placed the CD in the carriage. I walked through the bedroom into the bathroom. I was checking to make sure I looked alright. I had rushed so much earlier, I hadn't even paused to check my appearance. I was combing my fingers through my hair when I heard it.

I walked into the game room and just stared at my CD player. The song was Everything by Lifehouse, but Jason Wade wasn't singing it. Matt was singing on the CD. The music was acoustic guitar and the words:

And How Can I
Stand Here With You
And Not Be Moved By You
Would You Tell Me
How Could It Be
Any Better Than This

'cause You're All I Want
You Are All I Need
You Are Everything

You Are All I Want
You Are All I Need
You Are Everything

Matt was singing this song and his voice was amazing. It then hit me that Matt was singing this song to me. When he handed me the CD on Saturday, he said he didn't buy it, that he made it for me the night before. I thought it was just songs he had compiled from other CD's, but that wasn't what this was. I went to the player and skipped to the next song. It was sung by Matt. I skipped to each track on the CD and they were all being sung by him. I hit the power button on the player and silence filled my room. I was feeling moved by this and I won't let that happen. I went into the study, grabbed my book bag, and hurried out and down the stairs. I stopped at the front door and yelled to Connie that I was going to be waiting for Hank on the porch. I went outside and sat on the steps. My mind was consumed by what Matt had done. I had to be honest with myself. It had affected me a lot, this gesture he had made for me. The time and thought he must have put into selecting songs to tell me how he was feeling and then to actually play and sing them himself? Then I got mad. How could he do this? He promised me that we were going to start over and he knew how I felt! Friends...I had said that all we could be were friends and now this!

Hank pulled up and when I didn't get up to go to the SUV, he honked the horn. Startled, I looked up and registering that he was there, I stood and walked to get in the front seat. "Hello Brent." Hank said, as I got in the car and closed the door.

"Hey Hank. How are you doing today? Sorry for kind of interrupting it, to have you take me to school so late." I told him.

"It's no problem, and I'm doing good. You seem a bit preoccupied, anything you want to talk about?" He asked me as he began turning the SUV around to leave the farm.

"Thanks, but I'm ok. Just have a few things on my mind this morning." I looked at the clock on the radio and it was 12:15. "If you can get me to school in 10 minutes I'll have time to get lunch, and I'm starved!" I looked at him and grinned.

"Your wish is my command!" He laughed and drove onto the road leading us towards town. My mind was still on Matt's CD and it took me all the way until we were almost to the school, before I realized that Matt had made that CD the night before my party, so the conversation he and I had about friendship and all, had not taken place when he made it. I began to feel a lot better, but the sound of his voice and the emotion behind the words as he had sang, didn't leave my mind. Can we be friends? Can he really put aside what he thinks he's feeling for me and keep it on a friendship level, or am I deluding myself? "We're here, and in only 8 minutes!" Hank said and gave me a smile.

"Thanks Hank, you're the best. I'll see you after school." We said our goodbyes and then he drove off. I turned and walked towards the entrance doors. When I got inside, the cafeteria was buzzing with students. I hurried to my locker to drop off my book bag and exchange the content for what I would need for the last three periods of the day. I then put the bag in the locker, closed it and turned to walk back to the cafeteria. I got in the lunch line and selected some food. I showed the cashier my school ID and she punched some buttons on her terminal and then said thank you. I looked around the cafeteria, and started walking towards the back, to what had become my normal lunchtime table. When I got there, Frank looked up at me and smiled.

"Brent! I didn't think you were coming to school today. I.T. was b-o-r-i-n-g without you!" My seat between him and Jerry was empty, and all the others were occupied by all the guys of our group. Seeing my chair empty, when they thought I wasn't going to be there, gave me a warm feeling. The guys considered me solidly in their group and no one was going to take my chair, even without me there.

"Yeah, well, I thought it would do my reputation some good to give Mr. Smith a break today." I laughed and set my tray down, then sat down myself. Immediately everyone began telling me what a great time they had Saturday and how much fun it had been. I started eating and nodding my head at their comments. Michelle, one of Missy's groupies, came over and tapped Frank on the shoulder and asked him if she could talk to him. He told all of us he'd be right back and then got up and walked with her over to the windows. I looked at them a couple times and could see Michelle talking to him, Frank's back was to me. I had just taken a big drink of my Coke, when Frank returned to the table and sat down.

"I'm giving up pussy for you Brent." He said and I spewed the Coke out of my mouth, managing to drench Barry, John and Ryan, who were sitting across the table from me. I turned and looked at Frank in shock at what he had just said.

"Your wha...What?!" I asked him. I looked around the table, and every guy sitting there was staring at Frank with shocked expressions on their faces. Barry, John, and Ryan had not even reacted to my soaking of them, they were fixated on Frank. I turned back to him and he was looking around the table at the other guys too.

"What the hell is everyone staring at ME for?" He asked and then looked back at me. "Michelle was trying to get me to coax you into sitting at the table with Missy and suggested that if I sat with them too, she and I could get to know each other better. I got the impression she was offering herself up to me, in exchange for your agreeing to join Missy." A collective sigh registered from the table and I looked and saw that the rest of the guys were now coming back to their senses. "I told her no. I already told you that I don't play that kind of shit." He finished, then asked, "Don't I even get a thank you?" he grinned. My face felt hot and it wasn't from his explanation, but still from what I thought his original statement had meant.

"Uh...Yeah Frank thanks a lot for watching my back for me. I...I'm glad that's all it was." I stammered out. He gave me a puzzled look.

"Well what the hell? What do you mean that's all it was? You know I've been trying to get with Michelle. I'm making sacrifices for you." He still stared at me, wanting some kind of reply. Before I could think up something to say, Mike spoke up.

"Man, when you came back here and sat down, then the first words out of your mouth was that you were giving up pussy for Brent. Well, I'm pretty sure everyone at this table, including Brent, thought you had just come out of the closet and told him you wanted HIM!" Frank looked at the other guys and they were all nodding their heads, then he looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, uh sorry Frank, but that was...well...That was exactly what I thought you had meant too." I told him.

Of course Frank, being Frank, and never being able to control his mouth or words, piped up and said, "I'd fuck you, but you'd have to be damn GOOD for me to swear off the ladies." He made this announcement so matter of fact too.

The roar of laughter that erupted from everyone at our table, caused everyone, and I mean everyone in the whole cafeteria to look at us. I wasn't laughing; I was blushing hotter than hell. Frank was laughing and shoving on me. It was obvious to everyone that I had to be the cause of the laughter and my obviously red face must have been like a big red arrow pointing down, 'look here, look here'. I groaned at the unwelcome attention and bowed my head, shaking it back and forth. I hissed under my breath, "Frank! I'm going to kill you for this!" Unfazed, he just continued to laugh and shove on me. The bell rang signaling the end of lunch.

Yanking on my arm, Frank was trying to pull me up out of my seat. "We better hurry Brent so we can make it to our lockers." The asshole was acting like he had not just caused me to feel embarrassed in front of the whole lunchroom crowd! I looked at him and he was wearing his normal, happy go lucky face. All I could do is sigh to myself and let him drag me out of the cafeteria to my locker. Before we got to the locker, I saw Tommy standing there waiting, and immediately my heart filled just to see him. I smiled at him and he smiled back. Frank said hello to Tommy, he'd see us later in gym, then sauntered off down the hall, Mr. Carefree.

"Brent, man am I glad to see you." Tommy beamed at me.

"I'm glad to see you too." I leaned in close to talk low. "Damn you look good enough to eat." He laughed and I opened my locker and grabbed my bag. "Let's go. I have so much to tell you." I said as we started walking towards our Spanish class. I grabbed his arm to pull him in closer to me. "The first thing I want to tell you is that my dad knows and he accepted it for a given. There's more behind it, but still, it was just amazing how he dealt with it." We turned the corner and continued walking down the hall to class. I looked around us, and then continued, "I also found out something that is going to probably amaze you. It's about you and me." I saw Tommy look over at me and raise an eyebrow. "Wait until we sit down." We both walked in class and took our seats. Tommy turned around after setting his book bag on the floor.

"So amaze me." He said.

I looked around us, but what I was going to say wasn't really damaging for anyone else to hear. "Well, my dad actually brought it up when we were talking this morning. My full name is Brent Michael Stewart. Now think about your full name and what do you come up with?" I smiled and asked him.

He thought about it for a minute and then said, "Your middle name is the same as my dad's, but I don't see anything about my name having any meaning."

"Hmm...What if I told you that my dad's first name isn't William or Bill, but James?" Tommy's eyes grew wide. "Yep, our dad's gave us each the middle name of their high school best friend. What do you think of that?"

"I think it's amazing, like you said I would." He stopped and thought for a moment. "Wait a minute Brent. My dad did even more than give me your dad's middle name." He looked at me as I frowned and then all he said was one name. "Jamesson." Tommy smiled at my shock. "James' son. Do you get it? The son of James. See what I mean?" Oh my God I thought. Mike had named his last son after my dad as well, but if you thought about it the way Tommy had just said, it was like Mike had named him as if he was the result of conception between them both. Tommy couldn't know that our fathers had been lovers, but the more I applied this reasoning to it, the more it was blowing my mind. "How cool is that? They must have been really close best friends to do something like that. You're named for my dad and two of his kids are named for yours. Wow!" Tommy said, a happy grin and deep dimples on his face.

Looking at him smile like that at me and feeling how much I cared for him, warmth started spreading from my toes, up my legs, chest, and to the top of my head. I opened my mouth and said to him. "Tommy, I'm so in love with you."

"WHAT?!" Tommy yelled and jumped up out of his seat, fixated on me with such a look, like no other I had seen on his face. It was a look like he had just been touched by an angel. Silence followed his yell, until we both heard Mrs. Anderson.

"Mr. Weber? Now that you have everybody's attention, was there something you wanted to share with us? Or would you and Brent care to continue whatever your discussing after my class?" We both looked at her and there was a smile on her face, but a bit of surprise surfaced when she directed her look at Tommy. "Are you ok Tomas? Did you need to go to the nurse's office?" Concerned was etched in her voice now.

"No Mrs. Anderson, I'm...I'm fine. I'm GREAT!" Tommy sat down and turned real quick to look at me and mouthed 'WHAT?', a permanent looking smile lighting up his whole face. I was a bit shocked myself at what I had said, but mouthed 'LATER' back at him and smiled.

"Well I'm happy for you then," said Mrs. Anderson when Tommy turned back around. "Let's begin, shall we?" Spanish class cooperated with Tommy and me today, as it seemed to fly by in a blink of the eye. When the bell rang, Tommy almost dragged me out of class and down the hall to the boy's restroom. He looked around and made sure no one was in the room, then pressed me back against the door. Before I had time to say a word, he locked his lips on mine and kissed me so passionately, my cock began to fill. He was moaning as he kissed me, and I was moaning in response. He broke the kiss and looked me in the eyes.

"Say it again Brent. Say it so I can look in your eyes while you say it." He was focused on me. I smiled at him.

"I love you Tommy. With every part of me." I said to him. His eyes immediately teared up and he grabbed me in a hug.

"Brent, I love you too! You're not just saying it to make me happy, you MEAN it! I saw it in your eyes!" I held onto him, but we had to get out of here or we would be late to gym.

"Of course I mean it. We have to go though; we're going to be late." I gently disengaged from our hug.

"Say it one more time first." He said. He was taking me saying the words as if it were a drug to him.

I laughed. "Tommy, I'm not going to stop saying it to you now that I know I love you. You're going to get tired of hearing it!"

"NEVER! I'll never get tired of hearing it! Let's go!" He pulled me away from the door and we hurried out of the restroom and walked into the gym a couple minutes after the bell had rang. Coach wasn't there yet, so Tommy and I made it into the locker room, and started to change into our gym clothes. Tommy was taking every opportunity he could to look at me and smile. The look on his face was too obvious for anyone to miss what it meant, if they focused.

I leaned in close to him at one point and said, "Tommy you have to stop looking at me like that. People will know." He looked around us, then back at me nodding. He adjusted his facial expression to what he must have thought was a more normal 'Tommy' look, but I could still see the difference. I just smiled at him and finished dressing. I had noticed Frank, Bobby, Shane and Matt down the row from us when we walked in. Frank had smiled and waved to us, as had Matt. I had returned their waves. When Tommy and I got to the bleachers, Frank was waiting for us. He looked at Tommy.

"What the hell Tommy? Did you get laid in Spanish class in front of the whole class? Who was she? Maybe I know her." Tommy flinched when he said this and schooled his face further into a more 'Tommy' look.

"You're too sexed up Frank. It's all you think about! I'm just happy school's almost over for the day." Tommy said to him. Frank looked at me and winked, then looked back at Tommy.

"Yeah right! So if you didn't get laid, someone gave you a handjob under your desk. Who was it? Couldn't of been Brent here, he's not smiling as big as you are." Frank laughed and shoved on me, almost knocking me off the bleachers. Tommy and he both grabbed me before I fell.

"Frank! What the fuck is up with you today? First lunch and now this?" I asked. "Are you trying to piss me off for a reason, or what?"

"Christ Brent! I didn't mean to shove you that hard. That scared the shit out of me." He sat down in the bleacher and even I could see his legs were shaking, along with his hands.

"Well you almost pushed him down the fucking stairs! He could have really hurt himself!" Tommy yelled at him, red in the face. He was pissed.

"You shut up Tommy! I know what I almost did and you're not going to make me feel any worse than I already do." He turned and looked at me. Frank had tears in his eyes! "Brent, I...I was only having fun with you two. I would never...Never try to hurt you." He looked down at his hands. "If...If you don't want to...to be friends with me, I...I will understand. I'm a fucking idiot!" Simultaneously, Tommy and I both reached for Frank and pulled him into a group hug with us. Frank was a very macho guy and to hear his voice breaking and see tears in his eyes. Well, you wouldn't have to be gay to be effected by the moment. Frank finally put his arms around both of us and whispered into our huddle. "I really am sorry guys. That was so stupid of me. It really scared me."

"It's ok Frank, I didn't fall. But, dude, you have to calm down and not be so spastic. You also need to stop thinking that every time you make me mad I'm going to stop being your friend. If you keep doing that, we're going to be making up every five minutes." He looked up at me and I chuckled. He smiled at me then looked at Tommy. Tommy smiled at him too and said he was cool with it. We broke our huddled hug and Coach came walking out of the locker room and started class.

During our warm-up, every time I pulled Tommy towards me, he would whisper, "Say it." Then he'd pull me back towards him and I would say, "No." I'm sure the guys close to us were wondering what he and I was giggling about through the warm-up, but we didn't care. We were lost in our own little world for awhile. Today was another basketball day and after we had showered and left the gym for History, I was feeling worn out. Frank was still apologizing every opportunity he could to me in gym, until I told him to shut up or I wouldn't talk to him for the rest of the week. He shut up. American History, the last class of the day, seemed to last forever. When I saw Patrick come in, I watched him until he took his seat. When he was seated I called his name and he turned to me.

"Patrick, I'm really sorry dude. I meant to ask you to come to my birthday party this past Saturday, but never got around to it. I thought you might have showed up with your dad, but you never did. I really am sorry." I did feel bad about him not being there. He and I hadn't really made a connection as friends, but I thought he was a cool kid anyway.

"It's ok Brent. My dad asked me if I was going to go, but...well...the word kind of spread around school last week that if you weren't invited, you better not show. Thanks for thinking about me though." He said and shrugged his shoulder.

"Damn Patrick, now I feel like shit! Listen, you don't ever need a personal invitation. If I have something going on where I invite my friends to come, you're invited now. I'll try and make sure I invite you personally, but if I miss the chance, you come anyway. Ok?" Boy did I feel like an ass. I mean, this guys dad worked for mine. Hell, he even had called my grandfather Opa, and I left him out.

"Brent, you don't really need to do that. I mean, well, we've not really talked a lot, so I didn't think we were friends or anything. So it's ok." He couldn't look me in the eyes for some reason and the last was said with him looking at the isle between our seats.

"Are you saying you don't want to become friends Patrick?" He jerked his head up and was staring at me now. "I mean, I'm not trying to force you to or anything. It's all cool. I'm sure you have friends, and maybe I'm just not the kind of guy you run around with. So, don't feel obligated or anything. Like I said it's cool." I smiled at him to let him know it was ok if he just wants to stay acquaintances.

"What? You're joking right?" His eyes were big as saucers. "Who wouldn't want to be your friend?" He looked over at Tommy, who was listening and watching us as I spoke to Patrick. "Is he pulling my leg Tommy?" Tommy just smiled and shook his head at him. Patrick looked back at me. "Brent, it would be awesome to be friends with you. I just don't think I'm the kind of guy that YOU would want around. I'm no jock and most of the time I even bore myself with how I act. Me not want to be your friend? I'd have to be mental!" He blushed after he clamped his mouth shut on the last word.

I smiled at him and held out my hand. "Let's be friends Patrick. You're exactly the kind of guy I like." He looked at me in shock and then reached and shook my hand. He was beaming as if I had made his entire year. We chatted for another minute, until he was looking overwhelmed by it all and finally turned around at his desk. Tommy leaned close to me.

"What was that all about?" He whispered. I leaned closer to him.

"He's cute." I whispered back and waggled my eyebrows with a big grin on my face. Tommy rolled his eyes and punched me in the shoulder.

"I could kick his ass in 3 seconds, so you and he better remember that." He mock frowned at me.

"I love you." I whispered very softly to him. That shut him up! I chuckled at the look that came over his face and he turned back around because the teacher had called the class to attention. So, after what seemed like 4 hours, the bell rang and we all but ran out of the classroom. We went to Tommy's locker first and then to mine. I knew it was a school night, and that Tommy had after school chores, but I decided to ask anyway. I opened my locker and exchanged out books and then closed it. I turned and looked at Tommy. "So, do you think your dad would mind if I came over after school for a little while?"

"Of course not, but I asked your dad this morning about it when he called me, and he said you had a driver's education class right after school." He said and raised his eyebrow.

"I have a what?! I can't believe he didn't tell me! Again, first that stupid dental appointment and now a driving class? I think I'm going to need to have a talk with him about his lack of communication. Damn!" Here we go again, I thought to myself. Well, he was going to definitely here about this when I get home.

"I thought you knew." Tommy was telling me. "I would have already asked you over and since you hadn't mentioned it earlier, I just assumed we weren't going to see each other after school."

"Well I didn't know. Come on; let's get out there to Hank. Hank didn't even mention it to me, and he can drive you home after he drops me off at wherever this course is. I want every minute with you." Tommy didn't resist as I almost ran him with me from the building. I opened the side door to the SUV and told Tommy to climb in, and I climbed in after him. When I closed the door, Hank was turned around in his seat looking at us both.

"What's this Brent? You have a driver's Ed class to go to. The only reason I'm here, is because your father said he forgot to tell you, so I was here to let you know." He looked at Tommy, then back at me, "Sorry guys, but whatever you planned for after school will have to wait until tomorrow. The class starts at 4pm and is two and a half hours."

"My dad and I are going to have a conversation about him not telling me this morning about the class, and you're going to drive Tommy home, because I don't want to miss spending a second more than necessary away from him. Where's this course taking place?" I stated to Hank. Hank raised both his eyebrows at me.

"Uh, the classes are at the elementary school," he pointed towards the back of the SUV, "Right over there and what do you mean your not going to spend a second away from Tommy?"

"I mean this!" I reached over and grabbed a hold of Tommy and pulled him towards me. I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him. He tasted so good. I heard an intake of air from the front and guessed that Hank must have gasped. I broke the kiss and looking Tommy right in the eyes, I said. "I love you. I hate not being able to be with you after school, but I can come over tomorrow. If you want me too."

"Of course I want you too." He said. We both looked forward and Hank's eyes were going from one of our faces to the other.

"Hold on just one minute here! Wha...What is going on?" He looked at Tommy and asked him, "Did you know about this?"

Tommy looked at his Uncle and started laughing, then said "Do you think I just let any guy who wants to kiss me, kiss me Uncle Hank?" Hank swallowed hard and then looked at me. He seemed unable to speak to me.

He turned back to Tommy, "Does your dad know?"

"Well, actually, both our families know, now." Tommy said and Hank must have experienced a second shock in less than five minutes.

"Why am I always the last to know these things?! I swear I'm always treated like the relative that no one wants to talk too!" He looked at me and then back to Tommy and finally locked eyes with me. "I'll give you this much Tommy. Of all the guys in this whole fucking state that you might have had a chance to choose from, you sure the hell chose from the top!"

Tommy looked at me and then his uncle with a big smile, "I know, and he's all MINE!" Between the two, they had me in a fine blush.

"Ok, enough of this." He looked at me again. "The elementary school is right over there across the street from the high school. You're not going to walk?"

I smiled at him and said, "Nope, every second, remember?"

"Aye, aye Captain!" He chuckled and started the car. We made it to the elementary school in half a minute. When Hank pulled up in front of the school, he looked at me in the rearview mirror and laughed. "Every second as ordered, and I think that was about 25 seconds, you reckon?" Tommy and I hadn't even had time to say boo to each other before we were there. "I'll be back to pick you up at 6:30." I saw him look at his watch then say, "It's almost 4pm, and the class room is room 43 on the first floor. Just follow the few parents that are probably walking in with their kids. They'll be the ones that look like the end of the world is coming!" He laughed and banged his hand on the steering wheel.

"You're a real funny man Hank." I told him and he saw me roll my eyes at him in the mirror. I turned to Tommy, "I'll see you in the morning Cutey. I love you." I gave him a quick kiss. Tommy told me he loved me too, and I opened the side door to get out.

"Aw...that was so...touching." Hank said when I looked at him before I closed the door. He had also raised his hand to his eye and wiped away a false tear, then laughed. Grrr I let out as I shut the door and started walking towards the entrance. I opened the door and walked in. I did notice a few parents with teens in tow, so I followed along looking at room numbers as I walked in their wake. When we arrived at room 43, there was a notice there that said that class would be at 4:45 due to the instructor running late. Now isn't this just damn PERFECT! I thought about calling Tommy and telling him to have Hank come back, but decided against it. The classroom was close to the schools cafeteria, so most of the people that were there to attend the class, had headed there to sit and wait. I followed the tribe. There was a juice machine in the cafeteria. I took a dollar out of my wallet and went over to the machine. They had a selection of all non-carbonated drinks, so I decided I'd get a grape juice. I looked all over the damn machine and there wasn't a slot for bills.

"I've got change for a dollar." Someone said from behind me. I turned around and it was Robert from my Algebra class.

"Robert! Hey dude. You here for the driver's Ed class?" I asked. I exchanged the dollar for four quarters he had handed me.

"Yeah, you?" He asked. I told him I was. I bought a grape soda and then looked around for somewhere to sit. He watched me looking around then asked, "You want to go outside to the baseball field? Some of the 5th and 6th graders are out there for little league practice. It's a little less boring to watch than sitting in here twiddling our thumbs."

"Hey, that's sounds perfect." I told him and followed him from the cafeteria. Once outside, we walked to the right of the school, across the street and over to the baseball field. There were quite a few people in the stands and a bunch of smaller kids running around. Robert and I stopped at the end of the bleachers and stood watching as the little leaguers were taking turns batting. A female voice called my name from the stands and I turned to see who was calling me, and it was Carolyn with Angie in here arms. I waved to her and told Robert that it was Tommy Weber's mom, and he and I went into the stands to sit with her.

"Hello Brent, hi Robert. What are you boy's doing here?" She asked us both and gave us a smile.

"Hello Mrs. Weber." Roberts replied. "Brent and I have Driver's Ed over at the Elementary school, but the instructor is late, so we decided to kill time over here." As Robert was talking to her, I leaned down and gave her a hug.

"Hi Carolyn! Who are you here with?" I asked her and stood back up.

"David, Scott and Jamesson." She got out before we heard a scream and then saw Jamesson come running from the dugout towards the stands. Carolyn chuckled at her son and looked at me. "You better get down there before he gets up here, or he's liable to knock you out of the stands."

"I think your right. I already about took a dive out of the bleacher in gym today." I hurried down and made it to the bottom just as Jamesson launched himself at me. "Whoa little man! You're almost too big for me to be catching you flying through the air like that!" I laughed and spun him around.

He was almost breathless from his dash over, but he managed to say, "No one told me you was comin to watch me play!" He had the biggest grin in the world on his cute face and he looked like it was Christmas morning. "Wow! Wait til I tell all the fellas!" I laughed and put him down. The little devil was heavy.

"Well, I'm actually here because I have a driving class at the Elementary school. I didn't even know you played baseball." I told him. I looked back up in the stands, "See, I'm here with Robert. He's in the same class." I pointed him out to Jamesson, standing where his mother was sitting. Next thing I knew, Jamesson was walking past me heading for the stands. "Where are you going?" I called to him but he didn't answer. I hurried up behind him as he started climbing up into the stands. I got to him just as he stopped in front of Robert. He looked up at Robert, put his hands on his hips and drew his eyebrows together.

"Who are YOU?!" Jamesson demanded. Robert looked at me and then at him.

"I'm a friend of Brents' and your brother Tommy." Robert replied to him. Robert looked a bit taken aback at the attitude Jamesson was showing, and I was getting a queasy feeling in my stomach. Carolyn grabbed hold of Jamesson's arm and pulled him towards her.

"Jamesson! Mind your manners young man. What's all this about?" She asked him. Jamesson however, had not taken his eyes off of Robert. He lifted his left hand and extended his thumb. He swung his thumb in my direction looking directly at Robert.

"Brent is MY boyfriend and only me and TJ are allowed to kiss him!" He shouted at Robert. Carolyn and I gasped in unison. Robert's reaction at the declaration of this pint sized alpha wolf was totally unexpected.

"Brent and I are just friends, Jamesson. There's no need for you to be mad at me or him." Jamesson got ready to say something else but Carolyn grabbed a hold of him and jerked him to her. She looked him in the face and said, "TRUCK! NOW!" He looked from her up at me, stuck out his bottom lip and started crying, then turned and ran down the bleachers. Carolyn stood up with Angie.

"I'm sorry Brent and to you too Robert. I know a little boy who's going to get his butt blistered!" She picked up a diaper bag that was sitting by her and excused herself, then started down the bleachers heading after Jamesson. I looked at Robert and he just smiled at me.

"I have a 10 year old brother. I know what it's like. They're all the insanely jealous!" He shrugged his shoulders. I looked to see where Carolyn was and then turned to Robert.

"Hey, I'll...I'll be right back. I don't want Jamesson to get in trouble over this. Ok?" I asked him.

"No problem, he's a cute kid. My brother acts the same way whenever I bring one of my new friends home. The things my brother says would make you think him and I were lovers!" He laughed and told me to hurry and go before she beat me to Jamesson. I hurried down the bleachers and ran after Carolyn and Jamesson. When I got to their truck, Jamesson was in the bed of it, refusing to come to his mother as she stood there demanding that he come to her right now.

"Carolyn, please. Let me talk to him." She turned and looked at me; you could tell she was pissed off. Her face was red and her lips pursed. She looked back at Jamesson who was now staring at the both of us, wide eyed. She got control of herself and nodded to me. I asked her to please go back and sit in the stands, that I would talk to him and then bring him back so he could finish practice. She interrupted me to tell me that his practice was over, and I told her to please let me handle it. She looked at me, and finally consented. After one last look at her son, she took herself and Angie back towards the stands. I turned and looked up at Jamesson standing in the bed of the truck. I grabbed the side of the truck and started to pull my self up, and Jamesson ran to the opposite side and cowered down by the far wheel well.

"Jamesson, what are you doing?" I asked him. Seeing him trying to hide from me, like I was going to hit him or something, almost made me lose it. "I'm not going to hurt you! I would never hurt you buddy!" He looked up at me for a minute, and then unwound his body from the protective posture he had gotten into. I grabbed the side again and climbed in. I sat on the floor bed and patted my lap. "Come over here and sit in my lap. I just want to talk to you and explain why what you just did wasn't nice." He gave me a skeptical look, but then finally got up and came walking tentatively towards me. When he was close enough I held my arms open. He looked me in the eyes and after only a few seconds climbed into my lap and I hugged him.

"I'm...I'm sorry." He sniffled out.

"It's ok, but I want you to listen to me. Stop me if I say something you don't understand, ok?

"Ok." He said. He settled deeper into my lap and laid his head against my shoulder. I took a deep breath and thought about how I was going to make him understand me.

"Jamesson, you and I are friends. I like you. I think I liked you the first time I saw you when I looked and saw you standing at your bother's door. I'm happy when I see you and I know you get happy to see me. But, now I want you to listen to a difference between friends. There are friends that do a lot together. They play games and ride bikes. They spend a lot of time together and sometimes two friends can like each other more than they like their other friends. Those kinds of friends are what you call your best friend, because you like them better than all others. Do you understand what I'm saying so far?" I felt him nod his head.

"Yeah, like you're my best friend cause I like you more than all my other friends." He said. Oh boy, I thought. He better not say I'm the next kind of friend when I explain or I don't know WHAT I'm going to do.

"Ok, well, that's right. I could be your best friend if you feel that way about me. But most of the times your best friends are people that are closer to your own age. There's a few years difference between us Jamesson and things that you like to do now, won't seem so fun to you when you grow older. Now there's another kind of friend. There are boyfriends and girlfriends. It doesn't just mean that the person is either a boy or a girl, it means that this friend means even more than your best friends because you feel something very different than you could ever feel for your friends." I felt him shift in my lap and I looked at him.

"What do you mean?" He looked at me and asked.

Here I was about to explain love to this 10 year old boy and I just found out for myself what I think love is. "You love them Jamesson. I'll tell you what I feel when I see Tommy. He makes me feel warm inside, like I was covered in a blanket when it's cold outside. I feel my face get hot and at the same time my heart hurts a little because I want to hold him in my arms and never let him go, but I know I can't hold him forever like that. So, it's a feeling I get when first I see him, that I know eventually I'm going to have to let him go, like to go home, to class, or just anywhere that I'm not going to be able to go. But you see Jamesson, the minute I do hold him in my arms, that little hurt I feel goes completely away. Do you know why?"

He didn't answer right away but then he said, "Because you're holding him. Is it because you don't have to let him go for a little bit?"

Ah...smart boy. "Exactly right. But then there's also the way I feel when he's not with me. I think about him all the time. Not just some of the time but always. I don't mean that I sit down and do nothing else but think Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. What I mean is with everything that I'm doing, I think is this something that Tommy is doing or that he would like to do. Right now, if I went to the store and was looking at something that I wanted to buy, I would be thinking if it was something that both of us would like, not just me. This is the hard part for you to understand, but girlfriends and boyfriends do things that friends don't do. For instance. They kiss. Not like when you kiss me on the cheek or I kiss my Nan on the cheek. They kiss on the lips and usually for a long time. It's the way they let each other know they love them. There are a lot of other things they do too, but the most important thing they do, is that they don't do those things with anybody else as long as they are boyfriend and girlfriend. If they did, then they would hurt each other. Tommy is my boyfriend and I'm his." I hope he got that.

"Now let me ask you some questions ok?" Test time I mentally chuckled.

"Ok, I'm ready." He sat up straighter in my lap and cleared his throat. What a cute ass kid.

"Ok, first. When you're at home with your mom, dad and brother's and sister's, do you think about me all the time like I just said I do about Tommy?" A pause and then he said no. "Ok, next. When you go to the Family Dollar Store to buy that race car that you want, do you think it is going to matter to you if I will like it or not?" His answer was no right away. I chuckled. "Ok, and finally Jamesson, do you feel the way I told you I feel when I first see Tommy or when you hug me?" This time he paused for a longer time. He looked at me several times and thought some more about my question. Finally he looked at me.

"No, but I like it a lot when you hug me. It makes me feel good." He said and searched my eyes.

"It makes me feel good when you hug me too, but when I see you I don't feel that little hurt inside." I told him.

He shook his head and said, "I don't too."

"So what does that mean, do you think? Are we friends, best friends or boyfriends?" Mental fingers crossed for the finale.

"We're best friends!" He said and gave me a hug. I hugged him back with no small amount of relief at his answer.

"So now you understand right? You can have friends, you can have best friends, but you can only have one boyfriend or girlfriend. There's differences between friends and best friends, but there's a very big different between those two and a boyfriend or girlfriend right?"

"Right!" Jamesson said proudly.

"Ok, one last thing I need to tell you, and then you need to go finish practicing and I need to go to class. Some people have a girlfriend some have a boyfriend. Most boys will have girlfriends and most girls will have boyfriends. But there are some that are boy's that have boyfriends and girls that have girlfriends. Jamesson, there are a lot of people that would try to hurt and be mean to those boy's who had boyfriend's or girl's that had girlfriend's. Not everyone would, but a lot would. The best thing for you to do is not to tell or say anything to someone about them to others. Let them tell who they want, but it's not up to you to tell. I know you would never want anyone to hurt Tommy, or me, just because he and I are boyfriends, but someone you tell might try to do just that. Ok? So it's best to not say anything about it." Whew, that was a mouth full. Did it sound like gibberish to him, like it sounded to me? I almost felt like I was double talking.

"Why would they try to hurt you, I don't understand?" He looked at me confused. Oh well, that didn't go over well I thought to myself.

"How about I explain that another time to you? Just remember to keep it to yourself, and you'll be ok. When I explain it to you next time, maybe you'll understand why." I hope. "But right now, you need to go tell Robert you're sorry for yelling at him. He's just one of my friends, and you also need to tell your mother you're sorry for being rude in front of her. You got that?" He didn't look happy about it, but he said he would. I helped him out of the truck and then I jumped down next to him. He held his arms out to me to pick him up. I smiled and bent down and picked him up. He hugged me and whispered really soft in my ear, "I'd be your boyfriend if Tommy wasn't. But he got you afor me. So being best friends is good." He kissed me on the cheek and ran to the stands when I put him down. Oh Lord save this town from that little boy when he hits puberty!

Robert and I eventually made it back to the elementary school and our first evening driver's education class. We each received a North Dakota Department of Transportation Driver's handbook. We were instructed to study the handbook and when we felt comfortable, we could go take the written exam for our permits. The instructor gave us a 2 weeks deadline in any case to get it. We watched a film on driving under the influence of mind altering substances, went over the first four chapters of the handbook, and then we were dismissed for the evening. Robert and I walked out and waited in the front for our rides.

Hank showed up first and we offered Robert a ride if he wanted, but he declined, as his mother was probably already on her way to get him. I told him I'd see him in the morning in class and we said goodnight. When we pulled up in front of the house, I suddenly remembered that my father had more than likely told my mother that see would be leaving tomorrow! This was not going to be a pleasant evening at the Stewart home. I looked at Hank and then eventually got out of the SUV. I looked at the front door and collecting myself and my thoughts. I headed inside my house to say goodbye to Mrs. Mary Louise Rich Stewart, my mother. 

No matter what was about to happen in the house tonight, I knew one thing for certain.  I was in love with Tomas James Weber and he was in love with me.  I had learnt what love is and it was a lesson I was not going to forget.  My father had begun the process and then me meeting Tommy and having him have such a profound effect on me continued it.  But, ultimately, it came from a small blue leather bound journal from over 20 years ago.  Started by a boy of 12 and written over a six year period.  In six hours of reading last night, my fathers words in that book told me what love was, showed me what love was, and made me feel what it was.  But unlike him, no one was going to take it away from me.  I closed the door behind me as I walked in the house.  Silence greeted my arrival.  But I knew it was only temporary. 


Thanks to all the people who have written with encouragement and positive feedback for this story. Keep it coming!  And WOW, you all are surprising me with the amount of e-mail I'm getting in support of continuing.  I had no idea I had so many readers. {blush; for reals!} It does indeed show me that the interest is out there for me to continue.  I hope you enjoyed this segment of Learning to Love. If you would like to send me an email, you can send it to jmedinacorona@gmail.com . Stay tuned for more to come!