Chapter 3. Opening Moves

Aye, there's the genius and the wonder of the thing!” he cried. “The man pervades London, and no one has heard of him.

--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Simon strode purposefully down the hall towards Room 121. Actually, students were not supposed to be in the building at all before the first bell, but Simon had what he liked to call ‘influence’ with the door monitor, ever since that matter of the stolen exam papers. Simon would have resented terms like ‘snitch’ or ‘blackmailer’; he preferred to think of himself as a broker in useful intelligence. The faculty and administrators found him useful as a source of information; in turn, he was usually well informed in advance of enforcement activities like drug and weapon checks. This knowledge, in turn, bought him some influence with certain helpful individuals. He probably knew more about what was really going on at Jefferson than any other single individual, and traded this knowledge for favors or more material rewards as needed. He had no friends, and fear and obedience were not really the same as respect; but they had their advantages. Simon squirmed with self-satisfaction as he contemplated the admittedly melodramatic plan he had finally set in motion after weeks of preparation. Tommy's unwillingness to comply had gotten Simon in trouble with the principal last November, and Simon would relish every moment of his repayment of that debt.

The teacher he had come to see was working at his desk. He looked up in surprise as the door opened and got to his feet; he knew better than to deal with Simon from an ‘inferior’ posture. “What are you doing in here?” he said with a frown. “You should be outside with the others.

Simon's thin lips twisted into that unpleasant expression he thought was a smile. “I came to ask a small favor. Very easy, not in any way disruptive. And I think you'll agree you owe me one; you came off looking very good to the principal after that little dope bust last month.

There was a long pause. With an annoyed sigh, the teacher rubbed a palm his bald head, then squared his shoulders. He looked at Simon over the tops of his reading glasses with a severe expression. “Understand, if I go along with whatever this is, it makes us even, got it? Now talk.

Simon shifted effortlessly from arrogance to the obsequious attitude the moment required, nodding ever so humbly. “Of course. Here's what I need …

Excerpt from Kyle's Diary: Wednesday, Feb 3:

No wonder I keep having nightmares. I keep seeing that slimy Simon around all of a sudden. We hadn't seen him at all since before the holiday break, and now I've seen him lurking around twice this week already! This morning I was waiting at the front of the school for Tommy, and suddenly there's Simon popping out the front door — and the doors hadn't even opened yet! And when he saw me, instead of just glaring at me like he did on Monday, he smiled at me. You know, I thought Simon was creepy enough, but he's like a hundred times scarier when he tries to smile. He just stared at me and smirked, then walked on, with this smug look on his face.

I really thought Tommy had convinced him to leave us alone after his little blackmail attempt failed, but now I'm not so sure. Still, Tommy can handle him, and Simon knows it, so of course there really isn't any problem.

Brian sat down next to Tommy in their Science class as usual; Kyle had English this period. Brian was a classic ectomorph, not strong at all, but Tommy considered him bright, and good company. “Kyle keeps talking about how strong your hands are,” Brian remarked as he took his calculator from his bag. He looked at it for a second and then offered it to Tommy with a little laugh. “Do you think you could crush my calculator?

Well, as long as you don't mind,” Tommy said as he accepted the device. His right hand closed around the case, and his already powerful-looking forearm swelled visibly as the fingers tightened. In another instant, there was a sharp crack! that caused everyone in the room to turn and look as the case gave way. But Tommy was not finished. With no visible sign of strain, he continued to tighten his grip, and in another second the calculator was in pieces all over Tommy's desk.

Brian's eyes widened in shock as Tommy swept the broken electronic fragments into a sheet of notebook paper and wrapped them up for the trash can; he hadn't really believed Tommy could do it. For his part, Tommy thoroughly relished the astonished expression on his face, but, realizing that he had just destroyed his friend's property, offered Brian his own, identical, calculator as repayment. Brian, still stunned, thanked Tommy and accepted it; then grimaced as he tried, with no success whatsoever, to crush it with both hands. “Eh, it was worth a shot,” he shrugged with a little smile.

Mr. Wesson, their teacher, stood up as the bell rang to begin class. He rubbed a palm over his bald head and surveyed the class. “All right, settle down,” he told them, as he did every day, and began his lecture. About halfway through the period, he announced, “We will be doing some lab demonstrations on this material, and I've randomly assigned each of you to a lab partner.” He read down a list of names. Tommy was partnered at lab bench 4 with Tasha, easily the hottest girl in their grade, with a well-developed figure that a good many older girls envied. Tommy thanked whatever deity happened to be listening. Tasha was one of the few girls in his grade that hadn't flirted with him, and she had responded to his own approaches with no more than smiling politeness. Tommy hoped that as her lab partner he might find some way to break the ice.

Tommy sat on the lab stool next to Tasha, perhaps just a little close, and gave her his best smile. “Looks like we're going to be working together. Could be fun!” he said, as his eyes locked onto hers.

Whatever else could be said about Tasha, she was not shy. Her eyes held Tommy's gaze. “I think it will be,” she said. She glanced down to Tommy's right hand. “I saw what you did to your friend's calculator. I never knew you were that strong!

Tommy gave a little smile, then reached out with his left hand and gently took hers. He placed it upon his right forearm and squeezed his right fist. As the steely fibers of his powerful forearm jumped out beneath her touch, Tasha breathed an appreciative “Ohhh.

Mr. Wesson glanced at them for a moment and once again called for attention, and explained the equipment and the experiment to the class. It was pretty elementary stuff — classifying a series of liquids as base or acid using litmus paper — and neither Tommy nor Tasha needed to pay close attention. They set to work; Tommy carried out the experiments and Tasha took down the results. By the time they were at the third sample, Tasha's hand had slid, with a sensuous lightness of touch, from Tommy's forearm to his upper arm, feeling the weight of his nearly-relaxed biceps. By the end of the lab session, Tommy was flexing his biceps into a hard iron ball as Tasha stroked appreciatively, feeling the warmth of those hard sinews through his paper-thin skin, pausing only occasionally to quickly scrawl down the results of the experiment. Their conversation was limited to the experiments; there was no need to say anything else. When the bell rang to bring the class to an end, both simultaneously said, “See you tomorrow,” then laughed.

Tommy and Tasha would have been surprised to learn that they both had much the same thought as they left the room and walked to their respective next classes: both were eager to tell their own boyfriends how successfully their flirtation in class had gone.

Excerpt from Kyle's Diary: Wednesday, Feb 3 (continued):

I was so happy for Tommy when he told me about Tasha feeling his arm in class! I know he's been trying to get her attention for a while, and I'll bet he'll get her before a week has passed. Some people think I should be jealous, but it just makes me proud that someone who can have just about any girl in the school has chosen me as the one he loves. And I know he loves me — he tells me ten times a day — so what do I care if sometimes he gets it on with girls? I'm happy for him to do it! Besides, it was hot to hear him describing her with her hand on his flexing bicep! I knew I'd get my chance later.

Kyle's chance came later that afternoon, when he went over to Tommy's house to work on their history assignment together. The assignment was not difficult, and took perhaps an hour to complete. The work went easily, the two friends' intelligence and insights complementing one another's perfectly. And of course they enjoyed working and talking together, and simply being in one another's company. Every so often, right in the middle of the conversation, Tommy would stop and just smile silently at Kyle for a few moments, then go back to what he was saying. When they were finished, they sat cross-legged on the bed, facing one another just chatting quietly about school. Kyle asked Tommy to show him just how he had placed Tasha's hand on his forearm.

I think it was something like this,” Tommy said, firmly taking Kyle's hand in his own and placing it on his hard forearm. Kyle felt the hard cords of muscle, and thrilled as Tommy squeezed his fist to make those muscles jump.

And then she held your bicep like this?” Kyle's left hand glided slowly up to Tommy's thick upper arm, and started to squeeze. Tommy flexed beneath Kyle's grip. To squeeze it, even with both hands, would be like trying to crush a statue carved from warm marble; Kyle tightened his grip until his hand hurt, yet Tommy's bicep was not even dented in the slightest.

Never like you,” whispered Tommy as he watched Kyle's face in fascination. He reached up to stroke Kyle's face. Kyle let out a slow breath and closed his eyes. His hands very slowly and deliberately slid up Tommy's arms, over his powerful shoulders, and then to his neck, pausing there to lightly stroke that strong neck, before moving up to his face. Tommy, too, closed his eyes and smiled as he felt Kyle's fingers touch upon his sensitive neck; he knew this ‘game’ well. People who knew that Kyle and Tommy were ‘an item’ typically thought of them as horny adolescents, always either in a lip-lock or humping like crazed weasels. But perhaps their greatest pleasure was in being intimate in other ways, such as simply hugging, or in just spending time together. Now, gently, each explored the other's face, not with sight, but with the most delicate touches of the fingers and hands. Tommy knew the feel of every square inch of Kyle's face, from the shape of his ears to the wonderful little way his mouth curled at the corners when he smiled. As for Kyle, he would sometimes mirror-image Tommy's gentle touch; at other times he would take the lead, stroking Tommy's brow or neck, and Tommy might then follow in imitation.

After a while, Kyle's hands returned to Tommy's neck and shoulders, then to his chest. Even through the fabric of his shirt, Tommy's pecs — strong enough to bench-press two of Kyle — felt as hard as stone as he flexed them at Kyle's touch. Kyle playfully thumped Tommy's chest with his right fist, lightly at first, then harder — then he drew his arm back and struck harder still, making an audible thwack against Tommy's shirt.

Tommy opened his eyes and grinned at Kyle. “I know you can hit harder than that!” Tommy got up off the bed and lifted Kyle irresistibly to his feet as well. He pulled his shirt off and gestured at the bumpy six-pack of abdominal muscle that Kyle knew so well but never tired of admiring. “Come on — really let me have it!

His pulse now racing, Kyle began to punch those abs with his right fist. Each time, Tommy exclaimed, “Harder!” and Kyle would throw even more of his weight and power into he punch. Although he was nowhere near Tommy's strength, after months of this kind of play, Kyle was able to deliver a punch that might have surprised some people, and had he punched any harder, he would have hurt his hand badly. Nevertheless, Tommy felt his hardest punches as no more than light taps. “Harder!

Kyle took a breath and nodded. “OK, then, brace yourself!” he said, and took a step back. Tommy did indeed put one foot solidly back to brace himself as Kyle turned and delivered a hard side kick with the heel of his shoe to Tommy's six-pack. Kyle himself had to take a step back to keep his balance, but Tommy just smiled and said, “Nice kick! But can't you do that harder?

I'll show you ‘harder’!” With that devilish smile that Tommy loved, Kyle launched himself at Tommy to tackle him back to the bed. Tommy cried out in mock horror as he allowed himself to be toppled by his friend.

Excerpt from Kyle's Diary: Wednesday, Feb 3 (continued):

I almost hurt my hand gut-punching Tommy, which sounds like a cliché, but it's true. His six-pack is so hard that even kicking it is almost surreal, because it feels like something man-made that I am kicking, not a part of him. But I think the wrestling was the most fun. He let me tackle him to his bed, but as soon as he was on his back, he lifted me off his chest like a rag doll and tossed me onto my back and sat atop me, straddling my waist as I looked up at him. He was beginning to sweat just a little, and the sunlight coming in the window highlighted his muscles in this amazing way. His hair was mussed just enough to give him the look of someone just getting out of bed, a look I always love. As he leaned over me, my hand worked its way slowly down his hard-muscled back towards his round butt. He shifted himself to a kind of ‘push-up’ position over me, his whole body rigid. I placed my hands over his butt, and closed my eyes to enjoy the feel of its hard roundness through his clothes. Oh, all right: actually, I slipped my hands under his shorts, directly onto his perfectly smooth and tan skin.

Tsk! Naughty boy!” Tommy murmured with a wicked grin, but Kyle was enjoying the feel of his friend's smooth sculpted rear far too much to remove his hands. Tommy suddenly sprang up, and grabbed Kyle firmly but gently by his upper arms. He effortlessly lifted his friend into the air and brought him down onto the floor of his room, sitting him up and carefully undressing him down to his boxers. As he stripped down to his boxers himself, he looked down at Kyle. He looks so clean and perfect, Tommy thought, like someone you just want to hug. Not a blemish on his whole body, and everything just where I want it to be. Tommy savored the moment as he anticipated the mere act of touching Kyle. Repeating, “naughty boy!” but with a loving smile, he pushed Kyle firmly onto his back and pinned him there with his hands on Kyle's shoulders; his powerful thighs squeezed firmly against Kyle's sides. “Come on, try to get up,” he said, but of course all of Kyle's struggling punches or attempts to pry off Tommy's hands were in vain. “Oh, so you want to match my strength fair and square?” he asked, and Kyle nodded eagerly. Tommy released the grip of his thighs, and sat back a little.

Excerpt from Kyle's Diary: Wednesday, Feb 3 (concluded):

I pounced on him, and pushed him down onto his side, and quickly grabbed his arm, and started to push it up behind his back. Forcing him down onto his stomach, I held him in what I considered a rather successful pin. I said something like “Gotcha, Muscles!” and pushed his arm up his back as hard as I could. Even relaxed, his arm was tough to move, and the cords and veins of his arm still stood out, passive at the moment but powerful. I was actually rather pleased with my pin; it seemed secure, and I wasn't even sure if he would get up. I told him he could return to ‘Tommy mode’ again, and try to get out of my hold. He turned his head, just to make sure I could see him grinning. His arm suddenly tensed up, and I swear I could see it get thicker right before my eyes. Several veins appeared snaking their way down his arm to his forearm, as he applied more and more pressure to his pinned arm to try to release it. His forearm started to move down his back, against my maximum resistance. Soon, his arm was completely free. He arched his back in a sort of ‘reverse situp’, throwing me off him. I took a good look at his arms, red and engorged with blood. I got to see and feel his strength a lot more; in fact, we spent the better part of an hour wrestling this afternoon!

Wrestling with Tommy is humbling, but exhilarating, like playing with a tame lion or something. To me, he feels infinitely strong, and for some reason I really really enjoy wrestling him knowing that I cannot possibly beat him! And sometimes he lets me win a match, but makes it almost impossible, just matching almost all my strength. So Tommy is giving me quite a workout while we're playing! I was sweating and panting by the time we were done, that's for sure. But then, we just lay there afterwards hugging and cuddling, with my hands on his arms. Sometimes I think that if I had to pick one ‘desert island’ activity, it wouldn't be anything sexual, it would be just a simple hug. And with me, Tommy can be so tender and gentle, it's as if he doesn't have any muscles at all. I think it is the combination of his strength and his gentleness that I love the most. I wonder if that's something that Tasha finally saw in him today?

About a mile away, Tasha lay beside her boyfriend on his bed. Satiated for now, he lay there snoring loudly, paying no attention to the the girl he had so ardently desired only a few minutes earlier. Nevertheless, she stroked the matted hair on his barrel chest, praising his performance. “There's nobody that can come close to you,” she told Mouse in a low whisper. “Nobody.