Chapter 2: A Bundle of Nerves
The next couple of days saw both mom and me getting more and more jittery. I called off my friends, forcing them to promise not to disturb me until Sunday. That went fine until I talked to Jeremy. He's my best friend, and he refused to cancel our usual hang-outs until I'd told him each and every reason. Only half satisfied, he promised not to bother me, provided he'd get to hear everything that happened. Jeremy is one of the select few people who know I'm gay, so naturally he teased me mercilessly about getting it on with Alex. He even swore he could hear me blush through the phone line. After hanging up, I resolved to kill him, but then again, I often did, and he was still alive. Bastard always knew he could disarm me with a smile and a wink.
Ron called to tell mom that Alex was okay with everything, but when I tried to pry to find out if that was happily okay or hesitantly okay, she didn't respond. I hoped he would be feeling like me, nervous but excited. At first, I looked forward to meeting my prospective family with no reservations, but as the days ticked by, I started to fall apart. So did mom. We cleaned the house; even my room looked like a place where people could actually live. And before we knew it, Saturday had arrived. That morning I got up at five, without having slept for a single second. Eyes half-closed, I wandered down into the kitchen only to find mom at the table, wearing a dressing gown and trying to inhale a large mug of coffee. I poured myself one, too, even though I usually prefer tea, and sat down to snatch the sports pages. We sat there reading and drinking coffee, and neither of us seemed very inclined to make breakfast. The clock ticked past six. There were still twelve hours before father and son Bradley would arrive. Mom looked like she'd slept just about as much, or as little, as me, and I found myself wondering how we'd manage to get through the day. Then again, it's not an every day event, forming a new family. A bit of apprehension is allowed. Hell, forget apprehension! I was downright scared. In my morning-zombie state, I was starting to picture worst-case scenarios. What if Ron found out I'm gay, and started harassing me for it? What if Alex turned out to be a shit-head? What if he snored? I mean, we would be sharing my room! Unable to sit still, I put the paper down and walked over to the fridge, and started making myself a bowl of cereal and a couple of sandwiches.
"There's a habit you'll have to get rid of, Dave."
"Huh?" I'm a great conversationalist in the early morning, aren't I? "Wha' habit?"
"Eating breakfast in the buff, honey."
I felt my face burn as I hurried to put away milk and butter, setting my breakfast down on the table before I sprinted out of the kitchen. This was something I often did when my body was up and moving before my brain. Mom didn't mind, but I always got terribly embarrassed. Luckily, it wasn't one of... those... mornings, or I would've locked myself inside my room for the rest of the day. Instead, I put on some clothes and got back to finish my breakfast. This time I was very much awake, and I could really enjoy fuming over mom's smug grin. I brought my eatings to my room and turned on the TV, zapping between news and reruns while my blush subsided. Not that I really needed to be all that embarrassed. Mom kept telling me how good-looking I was, and even though I strongly suspect some of it's just to boost my morale, I could readily admit that I wasn't all that bad. Swimming had given me a lean body, almost as devoid of muscles as of fat, but with the beginnings of a nice `six-pack'. I had no body hair whatsoever, except for a thin patch of dark brown pubic hair. I looked over at my dress mirror, grinning at the cute boy who grinned back at me. He had hair that was currently a dark blond, but would turn a light brown during the winter. Large blue eyes peered at me from each side of a straight, slightly freckled nose. If I wasn't me, I'd definitely try to get me. Come to think about it, I already did. Both me and my mirror image laughed at the terrible joke, and gave each other thumbs up. I definitely need to get a less sarcastic mirror. Once I'd eaten, I was starting to get tired. It was almost half eight, and I figured I could get a few minutes' shut-eye. Turning off the TV, I lay down, not bothering to get undressed.
I wake up, blinking against the lamplight as I sit up. I stretch and yawn, feeling perfectly refreshed for the first time in days. It strikes me as kind of odd when I notice that it's dark outside, but I don't think any more of it. Instead I reach for my clothes and start putting them on. Then I realise just how hungry I am, and decide to haul my butt into the kitchen for a snack. Mom's voice makes me jump, and I feel my pulse quicken as I turn to face her. She has put on that boy-are-you-in-trouble look.
"So, time to grace the world with your presence again?" I hardly recognise her voice through the thick sarcasm. "Dave, I'm very disappointed in you!"
"Why?" I hardly dare to make the question. "What did I do now?"
"The very least you could've done was to come and greet your new family members! Not just sleep through the whole damn thing!" Horrified, I look at my clock radio. It shows half past eleven. "If you're thinking about food, forget it. Just get back to bed!"
"But mom!" I whine. "Why didn't you wake me up!?"
"I might've, if you'd just shown any interest."
"But I would've loved to meet them!" I'm crying now, huge tears running down my cheeks as she scolds me. "Why didn't you wake me up!?"
She turns to leave as my scream echoes through my head. I'm on the verge of dying of shame and embarrassment. Why the hell didn't I set the alarm!? Sobbing so hard my throat hurts, I throw myself down on the bed, hiding my face in my pillow. Mom turns out the light and slams the door, and I'm left alone with myself and my shame. Just as I'm about to break down into another fit of crying, I'm startled half to death by a hand touching my shoulder, and a voice that whispers into my ear.
I sat up in bed, my forehead colliding with something solid. A wave of pain went through my skull, leaving flashes of bright colours behind my eyelids. Moaning, I sank back down, clutching my hands over the aching spot. Only then did I hear another voice growl in discomfort, and I opened my eyes. Mom was sitting on the side of my bed, rubbing the top of her head. Realising what I had collided with, I sat up again, reaching over to hug her.
"Oh mom, I'm so sorry!" Then I remembered all about missing the dinner with Ron and Alex, and I felt my eyes overflowing with tears. "Mom, I'm so very, very sorry!"
"It's okay, Davey. My head's thick enough." I noticed that she was smiling, and for a second, I wondered if I had knocked her out of her mind. "I didn't mean to startle you. Are you all right, baby? You're crying... You're not hurt, are you?"
"Never mind that!" I pushed her hand away as she reached for my forehead. "Listen... about the dinner... I'm so sorry..."
"Don't tell me you're cancelling it." She suddenly got a disappointed look on her face, and that's all it took for me to break into fresh sobs. "Davey, what's wrong? Talk to me, honey!"
"I..." My voice betrayed me, but as she hugged me tightly, I managed a couple of words. "I overslept... didn't mean to..."
"I let you sleep, baby." She stroked my hair, rocking me as she always did when I was crying. Surprised, I broke the hug to look her in the eyes. "I know you, Davey, you didn't sleep one wink tonight. So when I saw that you had drowsed away, I decided to leave you to it."
"Anyway, I've made us a light salad for lunch. You want some?"
"Lunch? But I..." I looked around, blinking in the sunlight streaming in through my window. My clock radio read one o'clock. "Oh fuck!"
"What's the matter? Does it hurt?"
"No..." Suddenly, I broke up with laughter. I flung myself back to the bed, laughing so hard I began to fear I'd wet myself. "I just... I..."
"Baby, did you lose your last brain cell?" Her joke set me off even more, and I had to make a dash for the bathroom, still laughing. "Davey? Davey, please, talk to me!"
I just barely made it before my bladder gave up its struggle. Peeing calmed me down somewhat, and when I returned to my room, meeting mom's worried gaze, I was at last able to speak again.
"I had a dream, mom. I'm not crazy or anything, it just felt so real I thought it was." I sat down next to her, leaning my head onto her shoulder. "I dreamt that I woke up, and you were so furious because I'd slept through the dinner. You told me off something awful, and then when you woke me up..."
"...you thought `d come back to finish you off." I nodded, and she burst out with laughter, hugging me so tightly I thought I heard my ribs creak. "And I thought you'd finally gone mental. Davey, sorry I scared you. If I ever meet my dream-self, I'll tell her not to be so harsh on you."
Well, she had a lot of fun over this `incident'. Way to much fun, in my opinion. I kept fuming during lunch, while she would smile at me every time I looked at her. I had to bite my lip to keep from asking her not to talk about this tonight, because I knew that if I asked her, she would tell the little story. She's like that. The more embarrassing I find one of her little tales, the more she enjoys spreading it. After lunch and dishes I went for a walk in the park to try and ease my nerves. What the hell was wrong with me!? Usually, I was quite extrovert, and never had a hard time making friends, but now I was falling apart! Maybe, I told myself, because this isn't about making friends. This is about meeting the people who might become family. Strangely enough, I realised that I wasn't very nervous about myself. Whatever happened, I'd manage it. No, what I was the most scared of was letting mom down. She got a dreamy look in her eyes every time she talked about getting married again, and she was so excited about the baby she'd have. So what if I screwed up in front of her would-be new husband and his son? I stopped right next to the playground, sitting down on a bench. Taking deep breaths, I managed to quench my nervousness, determined to make a good first impression. Now, I know that it was quite unlike me, to be so concerned for others. Hell, I was a teenager, we're supposed to be selfish little bastards! But I just knew I'd be all right. What needed to be done now was to make sure everybody else would, too. A bunch of kids were playing on the swings, in the jungle gym or in the sandbox, watched by their mothers, fathers or siblings. I kept picturing myself there, looking after a cute little boy, maybe joining him for a game or two...
"Hey, I thought you were busy today!" Jeremy's voice made me start, and I jumped up from the bench. "Whoa, take it easy, pal!"
"Sorry," I muttered. "Just getting some fresh air."
"What happened to you?" He fingered the bruise on my forehead. "Another fight in the sandbox? Who was it, the toddler in the rompers or the girl with the bucket and spade? Want me to get `em for you?"
"Jer, you're really not helping. I'm so nervous I'm just about to throw up."
"Sorry, mate. Come on, let's sit down for a while." He pushed me down on the bench and sat down beside me, his arm around my shoulder. "There. Now I'll watch the young mothers, while you'll watch the young fathers. Then let's talk about sports or something."
"Jeremy, I can't concentrate enough to talk right now. Not even to you, not about anything."
"Not even about that guy who's pushing the swings? I know he's just your type."
"See? I knew you were faking, Dave. When was the last time you were nervous?" He grinned maliciously, and I really felt like punching his nose in. "Don't even think about hitting me, Davey-boy! I'm not cute enough to look good with my face bruised."
"Are you saying I do?"
"Sure. You should hear the gossip that goes on behind your back. Half the girls in class are already talking about asking you out to the end-of-summer dance."
"Great news, Jer. Really." I knew I shouldn't be sarcastic with Jeremy. After all, he was just trying to help me feel better. "Come on, let's get moving."
"No boy-watching? Man, you must be really ill. Want me to call 911?"
"Not possible with that phone stuck up your..."
"Hey, calm down, okay? I'll stop cheering you up, just don't resort to violence."
We grinned, then started pushing and shoving each other. With the ice finally broken, we chatted on for a while, walking around the park at random. Like we always do, I pointed out the pretty girls for him, while he told me which guys were hot. I was so happy for having a friend like Jeremy, who was so totally cool about me being gay. If there were just a couple of more people like him, I wouldn't mind coming out for real. At half past four, I started feeling jittery again, and we headed back to my place. There's a secluded place just behind our garage, where it meets the house itself, where we'd often sit and talk when we felt like being alone and undisturbed, and after letting mom know I was home, we went there. Not that we did much talking, but just having Jeremy there, knowing he was on my side, made me feel easier. Some of the old self-confidence returned. The minutes slowly ticked by, and I knew I would soon have to go inside to help mom set things up. As if he could read my mind, Jeremy got to his feet.
"Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Dave. Good luck."
"Thanks, man. You're a brick."
"That was with a b, right?" He grinned. "Otherwise, I might have to kill ya."
"I'll call you as soon as I wake up, okay?"
"Sure thing. And tell me all about your night of hot love with your new bro. Unless you're both locked away for being incestuous."
"Why, Jer, is that envy I hear? Just because you don't have a sister to screw?"
"Make sure you call me, okay?" We were both laughing. He gave me a hug, then looked me straight in the eyes, smiling evilly. "I know what you need, Dave."
"Not now!" I backed away. "They'll be here in a minute!"
"Oh hell! Just a quick one, then."
"I knew you'd never turn me down."
Jeremy grabbed my shoulders and pulled me to him. We both closed our eyes and let our lips meet, our tongues playing with each other. I felt his hands on my back, caressing me as I was caressing him. When we finally broke apart, I was harder than differential calculus. He patted my crotch, then turned to leave.
"Better take care of that before you meet your new brother," he quipped. "See ya!"
I hurried to my room, telling mom I'd take a shower. I stepped out of my clothes, giving my erection a whack for bothering me like that. Wrapping a towel around my waist, I headed for the bathroom, locking me safely inside. With a cascade of hot water running down my body, I followed Jeremy's advice, my mind returning to our kiss. Damn him, he knew what that did to me, yet he persisted. It had started as a joke; he had pinned me down while wrestling, and was teasing me because I couldn't get back at him. So I craned my neck up and kissed him. I thought for sure he'd kill me, but he was just upset over how poor a kisser I was. So he decided to teach me, and once I was fully trained we kept on kissing every now and then. Always, it seemed, at the worst possible moments. He claimed he liked kissing me, that I was way better than any girl he'd been with, but I suspected it was just as much because he knew it always turned me on. That boy could be such a tease! We never went further than that, and our kisses were never really anything sexual, even though they made me hard. It was just an intimate contact between the best of friends. I kept hoping to find him hard some day, so I could tease him back, but it never happened. My fantasies turned towards Jim again, and it wasn't long before I came down the drain. Once my knees were steady again, I got out of the shower and dried myself off, applying some gel to my hair to make it just right. I picked out some of my best clothes to wear, while still trying not to look too flashy. Mom all but choked as I gave her an impromptu fashion show.
"My big boy! You're so handsome."
I was still blushing when we finished setting the table and put the steak and potatoes in the oven to keep them warm. cooked the vegetables, while mom took a quick shower. Blushing again, I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't smell too much of what I'd been doing in there. At six, we were both sitting at the kitchen table, our nerves finally settling down. We kept smiling at each other, and she thanked me over and over again for supporting her in this. I was just telling her how much I loved her, when the doorbell rang. My stomach made a somersault, and I had to mentally steel myself in order not to shiver as mom went to open the door.
Chapter two, a little earlier than I'd expected. That's what happens when inspiration strikes. Now, though, christmas is approaching. I have no idea how much time and energy I will have to spare for writing, so don't worry if the next chapter takes a little time. I'll try not to leave you hanging for too long, though. With the cliff-hanger ending, that would be cruel, right? As usual, thoughts and comments are more than welcome to email@example.com.