My Buddy Eddie


Fiction by Daniel Bradford

Copyright 2009, all rights reserved



I thought my parents were pretty cool when they allowed me to stay at home alone while they took an extended weekend to celebrate their anniversary. They even dropped my little sister off at our cousins' place. I'm glad my parents are still in love but it creeps me out just a bit when I think of them actually getting it on, you know. The kissing and cuddling is fine by me but the other stuff.... I guess that's my problem not theirs.

So I had the house to myself for a few days. It wasn't like I was gonna party or run around the house naked or do anything different, it just made me feel a bit more grown up somehow. I'm probably something of a goody two shoes, but I like my family and friends and even school so there hasn't been much inducement for me to make trouble. Today was actually the first day of spring break and I spent it mostly just goofing off with some friends. We were supposed to go to the movies tonight, but things changed at the last moment, so I settled on nuked popcorn and a video. I was totally fine with that since I had all week to play and probably do some studying and yeah, more than likely, I'd practice on my clarinet.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was my choice. I had already seen it a couple of times, but I really like it and Johnny Depp is so damn cute. After 15 minutes or so, the doorbell rang and I jumped up expecting it to be Jenny and Steve wanting to go to the movies now that she'd settled her emergency babysitting crisis. Knowing there was still time to make a late show I got excited again about going out with them. They're really fun and make a cute couple, even though I'm a bit jealous of their relationship. Steve is super loyal so he would probably have sat at home all evening if Jenny did have to baby-sit, despite the fact that I suggested we go together, just the two of us. See, Jenny never allows a boyfriend to visit while she's babysitting, and Steve's way hot and I'm not blind.

"Hey, guys!" I called out as I opened the door. "Oh..." It wasn't Steve and Jenny, but Buddy. We're in the same grade and have had a couple classes together, oh, and we're both gay, but that's all we have in common. We run in very different circles and you definitely wouldn't call us friends. He was dressed in a worn, long-sleeve, Beastie Boys t-shirt and baggy shorts; his feet were bare. His hair and clothes all seemed to sag from the damp of some drizzling rain that I hadn't even been aware of. "Where are your shoes?"

"Can I come in?" he answered with a question of his own. It was then I noticed that he was actually shivering.

"Yeah, um... sure. Sorry, I was sort of expecting someone else." I said as I stepped aside to let him enter. Not only was I expecting someone else, Buddy was probably the last person I'd expect to find at my door. I was very curious and even a little nervous, as I watched him enter. We were almost eye-to-eye when he stood on the porch, but inside, he stood probably four inches taller than me.

"I'm locked out of the house," he said by way of explanation and possibly in response to the curiosity and confusion, which undoubtedly appeared on my face.

Still unable to think of anything else to say, I shrugged my shoulders. "C'mon," I said and led him to the bathroom where I pulled a clean towel from the cabinet and turned on the water. "You should probably take a hot shower. I'll get you some dry clothes." He just sort of grunted in reply.

I ate my popcorn as I searched the kitchen for something hot that he might like.

"Hey, Joey?" he said tentatively, in a quiet voice, just beyond the kitchen door. His skin was pink from the hot water and I almost laughed when I saw he was only half dressed; instead, I tried not to stare. "Sorry, the other stuff didn't fit."

Obviously, I thought to myself; he was practically bursting out of the t-shirt and boxers I had loaned him. The shirt's hem left a swath of skin exposed above the boxers and his fat dick and hefty balls had forced the fly slightly open, so a sliver of his dark pubes was exposed. He didn't have a sculpted A&F body, just a nice, naturally athletic one with amazing legs and butt from playing soccer but man, did he look hot! "Sorry, dude. I wasn't even thinking. Come on. I'll see if I can find something that'll fit." He smiled a tiny bit and followed me into my bedroom.

My older brother Josh was in his second year of college, so there wasn't much in the way of larger clothing without raiding my father's closet. "Here, try these," I said as I tossed a pair of jeans at him. I felt a bit guilty, since they were my brother's `lucky' pants. He practically lived in them for the nine or ten months when he was Buddy's size. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him remove the boxers and slip on the well-worn jeans. "This should work," I said as I stood and handed him a hoodie, from which Josh had cut off the sleeves. I wasn't the least bit subtle as I watched Buddy's arms pull the garment over his naked chest.

He took the socks I offered and said, "Thanks," as he sat on the bed to don them. I enjoyed watching his subtlety muscled arms as he covered his feet.

I continued to eye him as he leaned against the kitchen counter eating a cup of instant soup. His stance was strangely similar to my brother's, a fact that was made more apparent because he was wearing Josh's clothes. Buddy's dark wild hair, looked nothing like my brother's, which is sandy blonde like mine and was always cut short. Buddy's arms are lightly muscled, but again nothing like Josh, who actually got a college football scholarship and worked out regularly. I hoped Buddy wasn't paying attention when I dropped my eyes to his crotch, where the soft, worn cotton readily draped over his generous mound. That, looks just like Josh, I thought to myself.

Suddenly, I was really missing my big brother. Since forever he had been sort of my hero and definitely my best friend. We looked like twins except his DNA said he'd be an XL and mine said I might mature to small side of medium, if I was lucky; I'm about 5 ft. 6. Despite my stature, lack of athletic abilities and our age difference, Josh took me just about everywhere and did tons of things with and for me. I think he was proud my musical abilities and my smarts; even back then, I could do many of the problems in his high school algebra book. And he didn't miss a beat when I came out to the family during eighth grade. He never teased me but didn't seem to mind my watching him when he was shirtless in our room. Josh had worked hard to build his body and was certainly comfortable in his own skin. He knew it looked good, though he wasn't vain, even though I thought he was a god. I tried not to use him as jerk-off material because that just seemed too weird, but sometimes I couldn't resist so I'd put someone else's head on his body. But I guess that was pretty weird too.

Josh left for college at the start of my sophomore year. During Christmas break that year, my other best friend, Tyler, who shared most of my classes, moved away when his father got transferred. Boy, talk about adding insult to injury: it was probably the worst Christmas in the history of the world! Tyler was the bomb: smart, funny, very handsome and he liked me. The summer before his family moved, I decided I was going to make him my boyfriend, even though neither one of us had revealed to the other that we were anything other that red-blooded heterosexual males. I think we had pretty strong suspicions about each other, but had yet to broach the subject. Part of my plan was to come out at school, so I joined the Gay/Straight group. I don't think too many people were surprised except perhaps some teachers, who remembered my brother. Actually I really liked the group and it was incredibly helpful in letting the world beyond my family know about me. I almost quit the group when Tyler left, but eventually decided against it. We occasionally exchanged emails, but it just wasn't the same. It's been over a year now, and no one has replaced him as my best friend or as my would-be boyfriend.

"Where's the trash?" Buddy asked, breaking me from my reverie.

"To the left of the sink," I said gesturing in the general direction. "There are cookies in that canister and help yourself to some fruit, if you want." He grabbed several cookies and after tossing a banana peel into the trash, grabbed an apple. I guess he has an appetite like Josh, too, I thought

I tossed him the throw that was draped over a chair and he begrudgingly wrapped himself in it; well, that's the way it seemed to me. I nuked another bag of popcorn and we watched Pirates from opposite ends of the sofa. I think he also enjoyed it, though neither of us said anything. After the movie ended, I told him he could either sleep on the sofa or in Josh's bed. When I returned from brushing my teeth, he was already in bed, his clothes in a small heap on the floor.

In the middle of the night, I heard him whispering loudly. "Joey, I'm freezing. Move over!"

Thinking it was just a ruse to instigate sex, I was about to push him away, until his hand touched my face; it felt like ice! I shivered and scooted over to make room, which was pretty difficult in a twin bed. "Hey, watch your feet; they're like ice!" I said as another shiver ran through my body. I rubbed his body for a few moments before I wrapped an arm around him.

The smell of breakfast wafted into the bedroom and for a moment I thought that my mom must be home, but when I saw Josh's unmade bed I remembered my houseguest. "I guess you found everything all right," I said as I entered the kitchen and found Buddy drinking coffee as he cooked an omelet.

"Yeah, most everything I need lives in the refrigerator, so if it wasn't there I assumed you didn't have it. Do you want some coffee?"

"No thanks. I'll just get a glass of milk." I didn't know if it was true that coffee stunts your growth, but I didn't want to take any chances. Of course I didn't tell Buddy any of that. We ate the omelets in relative silence, except I did compliment him on how excellent mine tasted. As we were cleaning up, I asked if he wanted to call home. "You know, so your mom can open the door and you can get back to living your life." I concluded with a smile.

"Ain't gonna happen."


"Joey, I didn't lose my keys. She kicked me out of the house. She doesn't want me back."

"But why?" I asked, innocently.

"Cuz she came in my room and found me screwing around with a guy," he said with a bit of annoyance. I felt like a total loser for asking. "I guess I forgot to lock the door, but she's never done that before," he said with some anger. "Fuck!" he cursed to himself.

"Look, man I'm sorry. I didn't mean...ah...but she can't... do that, can she?" I was incredulous to think that anyone, especially a parent would do such a thing.

"Technically, I think she can. I'm a bit older than you, cuz I had to repeat fifth grade. I turned 18 last month, so I'm no longer considered a minor. And legally, that means she's off the hook." He shook his head. "Probably it's better this way, cuz she can be one mean and nasty drunken bitch! I have no idea how dad ever put up with her." His head dropped like he was weary or ashamed. I'd guess it was some of both.

"Well, what about your dad? Couldn't you just stay with him?"

"Not really. He lives clear across the country and I don't wanna switch schools in the middle of the year; already got too many problems with school."

I stretched to wrap an arm around his shoulder. I thought he might shrug it off, but he did not. After a short while, I said. "In that case, we have to get you some shoes. It might be spring, but it's still too cold for bare feet. What size do you wear?"

We were both staring at his naked feet. "Eleven and a half or twelve," he said.

"Dude! Even my dad doesn't have feet that big!" I said with a chuckle and playfully slapped his back. His body seemed to relax a bit and then he looked up at me and smiled.

My dad's feet aren't that big, but Buddy managed to squeeze into a pair of dad's old sneakers. We had only my skateboard, as I wasn't allowed to drive with people in the car unless mom or dad was along, so we hopped on the bus for a short ride. There was a discount shoe store near the grocery store where my mom usually shopped.

"Well, one good thing about having big feet is that there are lots to choose from. There's almost nothing here, in my size." It was a simple statement of fact, but it almost sounded like a compliment. He found a decent pair for around twenty bucks; I paid with some of the money my dad had left for me. We also picked up a couple videos.

The sun finally came out and we spent part of the afternoon on my skateboard. Buddy is very accomplished, whereas I use my board primarily as basic transportation, so he helped me with my technique and some tricks. I didn't object when he offered to help me clean the garage. He took some of the last pieces of firewood inside. "So we can have a fire tonight!" he said enthusiastically.

While Buddy showered, I called my folks to let them know what was going on. I didn't think they would mind, if they heard about this before, rather than after the fact. "Just a buddy of mine from school," I said. "He's sort of on the outs with his folks right now, so he's just going to hang out here for a couple of days if that's okay." That seemed close enough to the truth without sounding any alarms. As suspected, they were totally cool and reminded me to call our neighbor, and surrogate parent, Mrs. Burnham if I needed anything. They also confirmed that they and my sister would return home Wednesday around noon.

Our evening was quiet, but much more fun than the previous night. We ordered pizza, listened to music, talked about all sorts of stuff. We eventually toasted marshmallows in the fire, though we never got around to watching the videos. I'd been sneaking glances at Buddy's crotch, which was prominently displayed inside the pair of sweat pants I had borrowed from my dad. At a lull in the conversation, I asked Buddy, "Do you always go commando?"

"No," he said with a sly grin. "But I wasn't waiting for mom to come back with a knife or a gun. You do remember that I didn't even have shoes on last night, right?" He snickered and raised an eyebrow.

"I'm not complaining," I said with a smile. "I was just curious."

After a day of camaraderie, it perhaps wasn't surprising that Buddy suggested we again share the small bed. "I don't think that's such a good idea," I said gently but firmly. Buddy accepted my answer. "But I will get you another blanket. I'm really sorry about last night. My mom always handles that stuff and I just forgot. She's the best!" My smile faded as I realized what I'd just said. "Sorry, Buddy, I didn't mean to..."

"It's okay, Joey," he said interrupting me before I could try to explain. "It's great that you have such a cool mom. You're really lucky."

"Yeah, I really am," I agreed, before I turned to fetch the blankets.

During the early morning I heard the sound of the toilet flushing, but far off as in a dream, probably because I was barely awake. I could sort of make out Buddy's body as it entered from the hall. With sleep-filled eyes I saw the tan of his skin topped by his dark hair, and punctuated near his center by his dark pubes. I let my eyes close and was surprised to find him crawling into bed with me. I didn't resist and found his body to be lusciously warm rather than chilled, like the night before. We nestled into one another and returned to sleep.

It was considerably brighter in the room the next time I awoke. My dick was throbbing and I felt Buddy's pressed against my ass. Without even thinking I turned around to face him and we kissed. His soft warm hands ran freely over my skin, which tingled and excited me wherever he touched. He was able to push my boxers down to my thighs as we kissed more passionately. His hand pushed my crotch into his, as we made out, causing our stiff pricks to rub and drool. I'd never made out with anyone before; this felt incredible! My chest was heaving and my body grew rigid as my pleasure built. I was almost dizzy as Buddy's hand squeezed my balls while they pulled near my body. Then he rolled on top of me, squeezing most of the air from my lungs as my dick started to unload. My first shots lubed our cocks, causing Buddy's climax to begin. My entire belly felt wet and warm; this was like nothing I'd ever felt before. Despite Buddy's weight, my hips bucked up into him as I continued to unload. Finally my body went limp and Buddy rolled aside as I gasped for air. As soon as my lungs no longer burned, we were again joined at the mouth and kissed for quite some time. At some point I slipped into contented sleep. When I awoke, the sheets were damp and I was alone. I smiled to myself thinking that the make out session with Buddy wasn't bad for my first boy-sex experience.

The next day was more or less a repeat of the previous except Jenny and Steve joined the two of us at an early matinee, followed by lunch at a burger place. When it was time for bed, I sent Buddy to Josh's bed; not at all sure he'd stay there. Of course, I wasn't all too sure I wanted him to stay, but I didn't know exactly how these things worked; I figured it might be best to proceed with some caution.

Can I just tell you? A blowjob is absolutely, the most entirely awesome, intensely incredible thing in the entire universe!!! Un-fucking believable! Maybe it's kind of sad that I'll be 17 in a few weeks and am just now finding this out. But Wow! I don't know when Buddy got out of his bed, but when I woke up the blankets were on the floor, I was completely naked and Buddy was between my legs as though trying to eat me alive. His hands were also in the mix, but I sort of zoned out and lost track of which part was doing what. Using his fingers, mouth, tongue and occasionally his teeth, he licked, kissed and teased my body, with special attention given to my cock and balls. He zoned in all sorts of places that I had no idea could feel so good. He would speed up and then slow down. He'd kiss my dick head, lick the shaft and then swallow my balls or lick my inner thighs. His tongue seemed to have magical powers and Buddy seemed to know exactly how and where to apply it. I don't know how long he administered his exquisite torture, but I knew I wasn't destined to last long. When he finally got me off, my cock seemed to double in size, if for no other reason than to deliver my load. I couldn't even imagine where all the cum came from! Yesterday's make out session was totally eclipsed by an orgasm that literally took my breath away. I think I actually blacked out for the briefest moment, as my bucking hips impaled his mouth with my rigid meat, and I jettisoned volley after volley of cum into his mouth.

I felt nothing but bliss as my sweaty body began to cool and my breathing and pulse moved toward normal levels. But when Buddy's mouth met mine, the taste of my jizz on his lips tweaked me enough that my cock released a couple smaller shots between our bellies. Our mouths continued to duel, but from the neck down, I was limp. Eventually we eased into a comfortable cuddle and drifted off to sleep.

When I again opened my eyes, I was still naked but warmed by my blankets; I smiled. I couldn't stop smiling! I left the warm bed for a shower and eventually found Buddy downstairs watching television. Recalling how he had made me feel I was ready to cuddle next to him on the sofa, but I suddenly felt very shy. I sat in the chair across from him and meekly smiled. Finally I found my courage and joined him on the sofa. "Thank you," I said as I leaned over and kissed his cheek. He turned to me and smiled; he looked happy.

It was a bit of a surprise when Buddy didn't complain in response to my announced intention to study; instead he shared my book for our only class together and readily knocked off that assignment. We killed the day with skateboarding, surfing the Web, a video and of course, eating.

Upon finally admitting to myself that this was probably the last time we would have the opportunity, that night I abandoned my precautions and we squeezed into my narrow bed and quickly settled in, with Buddy spooning me.

I don't think we moved all night, as we awoke in the exact same position the next morning. He gently nuzzled my neck and planted a few kisses while his hand gently caressed my chest, but he didn't initiate another session of passion. I captured his hand and rubbed my thumb over the back of his hand and occasionally pushed my body more tightly against his. We dozed for a while and then, almost intuitively I turned to face Buddy. He pushed the hair from my face; I did the same to him.

"Joey, I like you a lot; I don't know enough about love to know what to call it. But I do like you; you're kinda cute and really sweet," his face was starting to flush with some color. "But I really do like you, and I don't want to mislead you, but could I ask you for a favor."

"Sure, Buddy. Just ask," I replied. Still, I was a bit fearful and nervous in case he'd ask something of me that I couldn't deliver, though at that point, I really wanted to do whatever he asked of me.

"It's pretty simple, but my explanation may sound a little strange; so please bear with me. Joey, I'd like you to call me Eddie; that is" Maybe my expression stalled him, but he continued in the same quiet voice. "See my real name is Edgar; don't ask me. It certainly wouldn't have been my first choice," he said with a tiny smile. I nodded and he continued. "Fortunately, I've been called Ed, Eddie or Buddy all my life. I like Buddy, but more recently that name has gotten mixed up with a pretty whack part of my life. It sort of a implicates me with a bunch of people I hang with; sort of like I'm their fuck buddy or suck buddy or whatever sex buddy, which often includes drinkin' and smoking too." He released a heavy sigh and rolled onto his back. I could see his face as he looked at the ceiling. "I really thought it was so fuckin' cool, to live my life on my terms, until my mom busted me. I gotta tell you... ummm... I don't like my mom very much, an' I'm pretty sure she feels the same way. Her knowing that I'm gay just gives her one more reason to hate me, not that she's some kind of saint or anything." He paused to see if I was still following, then returned his gaze to the ceiling. "See, I've just been fucking around in every sense of the word. And I won't lie to you, the sex has been eff'n fantastic; of course my grades are in the shitter, and when I'm not fucking or sucking, getting high or whatever, I'm pretty damn miserable." He paused. "This has nothing to do with that bitch, but when she locked my ass out, it did make me stop to think about things... Aww, hell." He sighed in his frustration. He was quiet as I waited for him to continue and I thought he would either start screaming or crying, though Buddy definitely did not seem like the type who would cry. Ever.

"Joey, maybe it's time for me to do a bit of growing up." He had something of a reputation at school and I knew he was well acquainted with detention and the vice-principal's office, but I figured it was for skipping class or smoking on campus. I was surprised by his candid confession. "Hell! I'm 18, still in school and don't even have a place to live!" I saw the wetness in his dark eyes before he blinked several times to push back the tears. He was silent for a while longer as he tried to regain his composure. Finally he quietly said, "Right now... for me, I...I think a good friend is more important than a good fuck." It seemed like we were both weighing the significance of his last statement. He turned his head away from me and asked, "Would you consider being my friend?"

A million thoughts were going through my head. Up until a couple days ago, I barely knew this guy, yet here we were together in the bed we'd shared the past two nights. I gently placed a hand on his shoulder. "Eddie, wow... sure... um...the name part is easy, but I...I don't know exactly what that other stuff means. Actually, I've never had a boyfriend before but I could try if you want, if you want me to..."

"Joey, I'd really like you to try...but I've never really had a friend, so I can't make any promises."

"Okay." I said quietly. "Let's try." We turned toward each other and ended up in a hug.

"Thanks, Joey," he whispered in my ear.

*     *     *     *     *

Eddie never left. Once my parents heard his story they agreed to allow him stay at least until the school year ended. Of course my folks contacted Eddie's mom to discuss the arrangement and eventually collect his meager belongings. My dad assured me that Mrs. Hansen was always pleasant, though somewhat distant whenever he had any contact with her, but that didn't change my opinion of her. Eddie was blown away by how my parents dealt with the whole gay thing but I had only ever known my parents as two of the most amazing people. They certainly made him part of our family. I think he liked having parents, even if they weren't his real ones, despite the fact that he was no longer free to do his own thing 24/7. The four of us had a sit-down discussion to lay some ground rules, mostly to help Eddie fit in and get along. There was also the expected, though thankfully brief discussion covering sex and our behavior in that regard. Subsequently my folks sat me down for a discussion about relationships, responsibilities, etc, etc, blah, blah blah. The way I phrased that last part sounded like something Eddie might say, but I was more grateful than annoyed as I had never dated and had some questions and plenty of doubts. Later I also called Josh and we had a long talk. Other than making me feel really good, like always, I particularly remembered two things he had told me: not to do anything I didn't want to do (or words to that effect) and that he would come home and flatten Eddie if he hurt me in any way. Eddie and I both laughed when I relayed Josh's promise to avenge me, but Eddie knew how I felt about my brother, and I think it made a bigger impact than anything my parents had said. He'd also seen pictures of Josh on the bedroom wall, so he knew my brother had the muscle to back up the promise.

He'd been family for barely more than a week when Eddie didn't come home from school one day. On the inside I was more than a bit panicked. I managed to avoid my parents until we sat down for dinner. I didn't know why, but I lied when asked about Eddie. "Oh, I guess he didn't call, huh?" I answered with my eyes focused on the bowl of vegetables in front of me. "He told me he a study session... for one of his classes. He should be home soon," I said, hoping he would be home soon and even more, hoping my face didn't tell them I was lying. My folks agreed that a phone call would have been appropriate and whether or not they believed my fictitious excuse, they didn't pursue it. I think they were cutting their new son some slack, as I don't think Josh, Katie or I would have gotten off so easily. I truly was worried and distracted as I completed the small bit of homework I had, before crawling into bed. I couldn't sleep for the longest time, but eventually my body's need for sleep overwhelmed my troubled mind. I thought I heard him come into the room in the middle of the night, but I wasn't certain.

There was no denying the sound of the alarm the next morning. I silenced the screaming sound and saw Eddie, fully clothed, stretched out on the bed, partially wrapped with a blanket. "Eddie!" I whispered and gently nudged his shoulder. I tried again, but he remained dead to the world. Finally I rolled him over. "Eddie! Wake up. You gotta get up! I said as loudly as I thought possible without making a ruckus, while I roughly shook his shoulders. He looked bad and smelled worse, sort of like cigarettes and old piss or something. Finally he opened his eyes, which were bloodshot and puffy.

His eyes wandered around as if to assess where he was. "Joey?" he said, almost as though he was surprised, then emitted a long, low groan of recognition. "I'm sorry, Joey. I...I ran into Toby and he..."

"We can talk about that later," I said cutting him off with a voice that sounded surprisingly like my father's. "Just get out of those clothes and into the shower before anyone sees... or smells you!" I demanded while tossing him a pair of sweats and a tee. He dutifully stripped and I was reminded of one of the reasons why I might worry about my "brother" so much. "I'm gonna throw this stuff in the wash before mom finds it," I added conspiratorially. He was about to speak but I smacked his ass and pushed his towards the door. "C'mon, hurry up! We'll get you some coffee on the way to school." He gave me a weak smile before he headed down the hall.

I had already been to the laundry room and was dressed when he strolled into our room. With the t-shirt in his hand, he was only wearing the softly clinging sweatpants. His freshly washed hair curled softly with the dampness and his skin seemed to glow like that first night after the hot shower. For the first time, I started to bone up just from looking at him. "Dude, hurry up," I said trying to play it off. "Mom's got some breakfast waiting." I fought the urge to pull his sweats down and have a go at his big dick, something I had yet to try. (Previously, Eddie had initiated all of our sex play and I hoped he didn't see the lust in my eyes at that moment. Something had changed; I wasn't just a Good Samaritan any more.)

We took turns spitting into the sink as we brushed our teeth before heading off to school. We stopped along the way for coffee as I had promised. I cringed when I thought to myself that the looked like a junkie getting a fix, though the caffeine seemed to have the desired effect. As was our habit after only a week, we went our separate ways at the entrance to the school building; third period American History was the only class we had in common. But for the rest of the day, I thought about Eddie. A lot!

That night at dinner, dad announced that we were all going to the movies. With neither Katie nor I dating and nothing on the board in the kitchen, he decided it was the perfect opportunity to do a family outing. As far as I was concerned there couldn't have been a worse night for family togetherness...I was horny and still curious about Eddie's escapades of the night before. Anyway, one of Katie's girlfriends came along and the two of them provided a buffer between the parents and Eddie and I. He casually put his arm on the chair back and I leaned into him ever so slightly. A couple of times, my hand crossed over the armrest and landed on his hand or in his lap. The final time he started squirming in his seat in response to my activities and he had to return my hand to my side of the armrest. He brought his face close to my ear and whispered, "Later bro" followed by something that was neither a grunt nor a chuckle. I was embarrassed for being called out, but with his warm breath and proximity caused my embarrassment to vanish.

Back in our room, Eddie's demeanor changed to one of contrition. I didn't necessarily want any details, but I did want to know why he had disappeared. Picking up where he left off that morning he told how he'd accepted Toby's invitation to a party and spent most of the night drinking beer, smoking at least a couple doobies and having sex with several guys. I'm fairly certain my face registered shock; I only knew of Toby by his reputation and grimaced inside when I put the two of them together as part of Eddie's `buddy' club. "I'm sorry, Joey... But I ...I was careful," he stammered with downcast eyes, which I interpreted to mean he at least had been using condoms. "But what about your folks? What did they say?" He looked at me with a nervous, worried expression; I'm sure he was concerned about a potential falling out with the rents.

"I told them you had a study group after school and mostly they just agreed that you should have called. Fortunately they had a Girl Scout thing with Katie, so they left right after dinner." Eddie looked relieved. "I don't know if they actually believed me; it's been a long time since I've lied to them. I'm not even sure why I did but I really was afraid that something might have happened to you." Reliving the moment, my eyes started to tear, though I didn't want to cry in front of him. "I didn't want you to get in trouble and I really hoped you weren't in any danger. But I had no way of knowing that you were out partying; for all I knew you could have been hit by a bus or some stupid shit like that!" I pulled up abruptly; I wasn't prone to saying "shit", one of the restricted words in our house.

"God, I'm sorry Joey," he said as he rose from his bed and crossed the short distance to mine. "I didn't mean to get you in trouble. But I appreciate you covering my back. You're a good friend. The best." His arm squeezed my shoulder before his hand rubbed up and down by back. "I'm be good, but it's ..." I looked into his face, hoping for some explanation. After being out, at least to my family for almost four years, followed by joining the GSA last year, I was still a complete and total virgin in every way except for the incredible blow-job I received just days previous. I could hardly imagine what kinds of stuff Eddie had been doing for possibly years already. "There are no buts, I just fucked up..."

"Or just fucked," I said with a smirk, followed by a quick kiss, which I thought sufficed as acceptance of his apology.

"You sexy little fucker," Eddie quietly growled before he pushed me onto my back and we kissed.

Eddie's talented mouth woke me the next morning. I interrupted long enough to get us into a comfy 69 and tasted his cock for the first time. I hoped he was sufficiently distracted by the cock in his mouth so as not to be put off my amateurish technique, but he never once complained, except for a comment about teeth. Despite my self-consciousness, I had to laugh at his comment. And if this was make up sex, I was already a big fan! Being insatiable teens we could have gone at it for hours, and we might have except for the smell of breakfast, which reminded us we were also hungry teens.


But the relationship stuff was really hard, especially for a newbie like me. Way more difficult than I ever would have imagined. Though it made no sense, part of me thought he should be more like Josh or Tyler, (and less like Eddie?) And then I was also beginning to wonder if being Tyler's boyfriend would have been any easier. So we kept trying and we did have fun. He was much more of a jock, which challenged me in a good way. I think Josh would have liked that about Eddie. The very best part about Eddie was that he made me laugh, though his kisses were a close second. Maybe I should have just thought of us as very friendly roommates.

Sunday afternoon dad announced that he was going to barbeque, though general consensus said it was still too early in the year. He enlisted Eddie in the project, which involved getting the grill out of the garage where it had been stowed for the winter. Dad kept Eddie busy outside while Katie and I helped mom. I smiled at the realization that dad was trying to bond with the boyfriend/ prodigal son. Eddie scarfed down a burger and several brats and probably everyone was surprised that he eagerly accepted mom's brownie/ice cream/hot fudge concoction after dinner, though I was growing more accustomed to his voracious appetite. Moms seem to get off on appreciative appetites, and mine was no exception. Dad went off with Katie to review some schoolwork while Eddie and I helped clean up the dishes. I was ready to bolt, when dad invited everyone to gather to watch the movie he had rented. I caught dad smiling when Eddie stretched out on the floor and put his head in my lap. I occasionally played with his hair as we watched the movie. I thought maybe my dad was even cooler than I had ever imagined.

I couldn't believe that Eddie asked mom if he could make some popcorn to take to our room after the movie; I was still stuffed from diner. Of course she said yes, and back in our room, Eddie told me that dad had suggested he try out for the baseball team. "Dude, you'd be perfect!" I cheered.

"I don't know. I haven't played since little league," he argued.

"So what?" I demanded. "You're a total stud, and a star on the soccer team, so there's no way you won't make the team!" I blushed at my gushing admiration. " And there's some pretty hot guys on the team." I snickered then added, "But don't hit on Steve; Jenny would never forgive me."

"I guess that means you feel the same as your dad," he said as though it was totally expected. "But are you trying to ditch me? Do you want me to hook up with someone else?" He asked with one eyebrow arched.

"Eddie, I...I want you to...." I was interrupted by a kiss. "Yeah, I want that too!" I admitted with a small laugh. We fell back onto the bed and found ourselves kissing amidst the spilled popcorn. We alternated kisses with laughing while feeding each other the popcorn. Eventually we ended up in bed together, naked. And that is how we awoke on Monday morning.

So anyway, Eddie made the varsity team, though not as a starting player. Never the less I was pleased, especially since I think my dad was a little disappointed that I wasn't as athletic as Josh. I tried to go to all the home games and sometimes dad would accompany me. Those nights were always a triple play: I liked watching the players while dad watched the game; he let me drive and we got some quality time together. One night in our room, I told Eddie that his ass looked especially hot in his uniform. He surprised me by yanking down his jeans and boxers to moon me. I reached out and slapped his muscled glutes as he watched over his shoulder. "If you buy the condoms, I'll let you fuck me," he said with a devious smile before he pulled up his pants. We laughed and giggled as we wrestled around on the bed for several minutes. I never forgot his offer, but wasn't sure I could work up the courage to walk into a store and make that particular purchase

Eddie made me his confessor twice again during the next couple of weeks. I had to hide my boner when he admitted to banging a buddy's ass in the handicap stall at school but I was less enthralled when he admitted to leaving campus to smoke a joint with one of his old crowd. (Obviously the joint was a no-no but only seniors were allowed to leave campus during lunch without a pass.) "God, Eddie, please be careful! You know you could get expelled for that shit!"

"I know," he admitted with sad, puppy-dog eyes. "Really Joey, I'm trying but sometimes..." he sighed in frustration. "And still you're always so cool. I don't deserver someone as good as you."

I wanted to cave to his appeal but couldn't be sure that I wasn't being manipulated. "So why do you tell me all this shit, Eddie? Huh? Am I supposed to be impressed by the way you ostensibly tell the world to fuck off? I know I'm something of a wimp: following the rules, trying to make people happy and not make waves but...but what am I supposed to do? I like you...I like you a lot! I don't know, maybe ..." I stopped short. I felt angry, sad and very confused. "Why do you rub my face in this shit?" Tears formed in my eyes. "Fuck!" I muttered before I turned into my pillow and began to cry in earnest.

" Joey, It's not like that at all. I like you too; more than anyone...ever." His voice broke. "I don't mean to hurt you Joey, but I've got to tell someone... someone important, otherwise I'll just lie to myself, and pretend that it didn't happen or that it doesn't matter. But it's don't know how hard it is to change after all this time...and I do want to; even more so for you, than for me." The bed moved a bit under his weight before I felt his warm breath on my neck. "Joey you're very special to me...Please, I'm sorry." Then he wrapped his arm around me as he snuggled along side. I think Eddie fell asleep while I continued to turn over our conversation in my head. I was no longer angry, but I was still confused. Finally I recalled that we had agreed to try. I felt reasonably sure that he was trying; I decided to do the same.

Many weeks passed before Eddie came forth with another confession. During the interim, I thought perhaps I'd forced him into secrecy, but also promised myself to be a better listener; I certainly didn't expect to get so turned on. Apparently this time, one of his `buddies' was stalking him outside the practice field, with the promise of dope and hot sex. Eddie edited the details though my mind painted some lurid scenes. The tryst had prevented him from showering in the locker room so he was standing before me in his practice gear. He had barely finished when I quipped. "I told you your ass looked hot in that uniform; can't really blame the guy." I yanked on the zippered fly and pulled his pants and jock down his meaty thighs, as his cock quickly stiffened. Though still needing to perfect my technique, I had improved to the point where I could take more than half of his length into my mouth, and had learned to busy my hands with milking his balls, squeezing his ass or caressing his taut belly. The musk from his recent practice and sexual encounter was new to me and surprisingly erotic. I think we were both enjoying the ride, though my jaws were starting to ache from the extended session. When I noticed his telltale signs, my own cock pulsed in anticipation. As always, he dropped a huge load but I kept my bone in my pants until we could scurry to the bathroom. There, Eddie returned the favor almost as soon as we were under the shower's spray. We continued to make out for a while and probably would have remained until the water turned cold, but we were aware of the family on the other side of the bathroom door. Despite the fact that the next day I had a big test and Eddie had a game, we spent the night cuddled in his bed.

We managed a quick 69 before we dressed for school the next morning. And later that evening, dad and I sat in the stands watching a particularly competitive game. Even I got interested in the play and not just the players. Eddie got some field time earlier in the game, but sat out several innings. At the bottom of the eighth, Eddie stepped up to the plate with our team down by two points, two outs and a runner on third. Eddie got a two base run and the guy on third easily made it home. It was a tense moment as the next batter stepped up to the plate and immediately got a strike, followed by two balls. He swung at a rather wild pitch and managed to connect...barely. The short fly doomed him to be tagged at first, but a fumbled throw provided Eddie with extra seconds. He literally threw himself across the plate with the ball so near, that everyone had to wait for the umpire's call. "Safe!" Our side of the bleachers went nuts, though the score was only tied. The final inning was scoreless through the bottom of the ninth where we again, had two outs. Both teams were tired but adrenalin was running high. Keith, another Junior, who like Eddie hadn't received much playing time, was up to bat. Undoubtedly the pitcher cursed himself for immediately giving up two balls. Keith was in a couple of my classes and he looked completely at ease, just like he did when a teacher called on him with the most difficult of questions. I could imagine it only unnerved the pitcher even more. Keith took a strike and a third ball; again, everyone was on the edge of their seat. Before the ball even reached the plate, I saw the pitcher silently mouth the word "fuck", apparently knowing what was to transpire; Keith hit the ball over the fence. Eddie hugged Keith at the end of his leisurely stroll around the bases before the team swarmed around them. The final out was provided by one of our star performers, though no one really cared as we had won the game. Dad and I waited at the gate and seeing us, Eddie broke away. I was so proud and happy for him that I wanted to hug and kiss him, but settled on a discrete pinch of his muscled ass cheek. Dad announced that he was buying dinner, anything that Edie wanted to eat.

Dad and I sat on the hood of the car as we waited for Eddie to shower and change. Dad seemed to be as proud of Eddie as I was, which paved the way for him to ask about Eddie and I. I was more pleased than surprised by his question, but honestly replied that we were working at being friends, not being too serious about any `relationship type thing' and occasionally tossed in some sex for good measure. Dad laughed at the last part, told me he loved me for the umpteenth time in my life and gave me a big hug. We were still in the hug when Eddie approached, so we invited him into a group hug. I was surprised when Eddie chose Outback. I thought for sure we'd eat pizza since it seemed to be our favorite food. Dad and I were both surprised at how much Eddie could eat: the largest steak with potatoes, salad and dessert! I felt full just watching him eat. "Apparently he has two hollow legs, just like your brother," dad said smiling at the two of us.

It was late when we got home, so we went directly to bed. Eddie just smiled when I asked to sleep with him. I purposely spooned him so I could feel his tummy. Normally flat and tight, tonight it was slightly distended and wonderfully warm; we slept like the dead.

After that, things became increasingly hectic. There were tests and term papers coming due. I was preparing both solo and ensemble pieces for competition, while trying to study for my SATs. Eddie was busy with practice as the baseball team was headed to Regionals for the first time in years. One day Steve stopped me to thank me for getting Eddie on the team. I smiled but told him I'd pass the thanks on to my dad, explaining how he had initiated the idea. Mom and dad were always willing when it came to helping Katie or myself with anything during the year-end crunch, and I didn't hold a grudge against them for seemingly giving Eddie that extra 20%. In the end, Katie graduated eighth grade with a perfect 4.0; I was close behind with a 3.94gpa and a better than decent showing on my SAT results. I received a first on my trio and placed third on my solo. The baseball team survived Regionals only to be trounced at semi-finals, while Eddie received an award for Most Improved Player. He also managed to post several B's in addition to expected C's in his final grades, but the fact that there were no D's suggested a substantial improvement after two and a half years of mediocre academic performance. Everyone was pleased though I couldn't remember when I'd last been so happy.


My joy was cut short when Eddie announced he was leaving to go live with his father. I thought the entire family would miss him. Even Katie, who had remained apart from most of the goings on with Eddie and myself, seemed upset that her newest `brother' would be leaving. (I think she had discovered how having such a hot brother improved her status with her girlfriends, but maybe that was just my imagination.) I half expected dad to argue that Eddie remain, but he whole-heartedly supported the decision. Privately, he reminded me that family came first and that Eddie was being brave and mature to seek out his father after all these years. I wanted to hate my dad for being right...again! But, he had made it utterly impossible to hate Eddie for abandoning me, though that didn't stop the nagging thought that I'd failed at my first attempt at a relationship. To his credit, Eddie seemingly picked up on that and tried to reassure me that that wasn't the case.

Eddie and I hugged at the security station before he waved and headed down the concourse. I was silent the entire way home and mom, thankfully left me alone. Feeling a bit melodramatic, I decided this was a million times worse than the experience of Josh and Taylor leaving, combined! True to his word, Eddie sent an email almost as soon as he touched down and we eagerly exchanged messages during the first weeks of his absence. Most of the news from his end was very positive, so I soon abandoned hope of a hasty return. Jenny, Steve and Matt were the only friends I had told about Eddie, though I'm sure more than a few people at school had figured it out. Jenny pulled out all the stops to get me over the hump. And Josh came home for a week after his finals. His visit improved my mood but a couple of times I had to stop and remember that it was Josh and not Eddie in the room with me.

I quickly realized that keeping busy was helpful so I welcomed the 40 weekly hours at my stupid fast-food job. I knew I'd never be built like Josh or Eddie, but I committed myself to time at the pool or on my bicycle everyday; sometimes both on my days off, and even begrudgingly joined my dad several mornings a week for a jog. He was pretty fit for a guy in his mid-forties, but he was no iron man, so it wasn't too difficult to keep pace; it was the 6 AM call that was painful. I joined the city band, a mismatched group of fellow students and adults of varying musical abilities, did a lot of reading and hooked up with Jenny and Steve frequently. All the diversions were helpful, and the summer passed quickly. The frequency of Eddie's emails diminished after the first couple of weeks and by August, he seemed to have disappeared. I was bummed but had sort of resigned myself to the inevitable.

The phone rang one warm August morning. It was my day off and I was getting ready to head out to the pool, while mom and Katie were out shopping for school clothes. "Hello, Thompson residence, this is Joey."

"Hey bro, it's me! How the hell are you?"

I could almost hear him smiling over the line. "Eddie!" I exclaimed. "Where've you been? I haven't heard from you in like, forever!" I heard him chuckle softly "Where are you?"

"I'm outside your front door," he stated calmly, but with another soft chuckle.

I dropped the receiver, struggled with the dead bolt before flinging open the front door. He stood there on his skateboard with a cell phone held away from his ear, probably from the sound of the receiver hitting the floor where I had dropped it. Almost like that day more than a year ago, he was dressed in a black t-shirt and baggy cargo shorts; this time the t-shirt was sleeveless and he had rather expensive looking sneakers on his feet and a big grin on his face. He looked bigger and more handsome than I remembered. He looked fuckin' hot! I didn't even think about the neighbors as I hugged him tightly. "How'd you get here?" I asked once I broke the embrace.

" Duh!!! On my skateboard!!!" He said grinning.

"Not all that way!"

"Dad got promoted and transferred." He was completely nonchalant and it was making me crazy. "I live half a mile from here."

"Really? You're not just shitting me?" I asked, still not believing what I was hearing.

"No shit, bro. I'm..." I tuned out his words as I drank in the sight of him. He had definitely grown some muscle since last spring and he looked happy and maybe more mature, or something I couldn't identify.

"God, you're huge!" I blurted as I reached out to feel his upper arm. I blushed a bit realizing I sounded like some schoolgirl. Seriously, he'd only been gone a couple of months, so he was hardly transformed, but our reunion tweaked my objectivity.

"Yeah, I had a warehouse job and so..." he proudly flexed for me. "But that's not the only part that's grown," he said with a smile and lightly cupped his crotch. He loved to tease me and admittedly I was a pretty easy target.

"No way!" I protested. "You were already way more than a mouthful." I said, giddy with excitement.

"Man, it would be great if there was some way you could tell the whole school that," he laughed. "But you've done some growing too. You're looking pretty damn sexy, Joey." He smiled and tousled my hair.

I smiled at the compliment, pleased that he had even noticed. "You look hot. Come inside and get a drink." I had been serious about getting out of the hot sun, but as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I recognized the double entendre. We both burst out laughing.

Inside we drank sodas and he me gave a quick rundown of his new situation. He also apologized. "I didn't mean to leave you hanging but I wanted to surprise you, bro. When talk of dad's promotion came up there was discussion of him coming here or going to Seattle, and then like a bunch of politicians they couldn't decide if it was gonna happen now or the first of the year."

"I'm glad you're back."

"Yeah me too. And I'm really glad that dad and I hooked up. I mean your dad's cool and everything, but..."

"Yeah he is, but I get it." I interrupted. "He's just not your dad. I'm glad that things worked out."

"You can say that again. We're still figuring things out but he's pretty cool... He knows about me." He must have read my expression because he added. "He knows about you too. He knows about us."

It pleased me to hear him use the word us in reference to Eddie and I. "And he's cool with all that?" I asked. Eddie nodded and I hugged him tightly and planted a single kiss on his face. I was sort of surprised I didn't feel the need to strip my boyfriend naked and make love to him on the kitchen floor. `Later,' I thought to myself when Eddie spoke.

"Sorry dude, but I have to get back to meet the moving van and then I have soccer practice this afternoon. I missed the first two days of pre-season, but coach was glad to hear from me."

"No shit," I laughed as we headed toward the door.

"Maybe you can come by on the weekend and help me set up my room. It'll give you a chance to meet my old man," he chuckled.


*    *     *     *     *

"Eddie's back," I announced at dinner that evening.

"Is he joining us for dinner?" my mom asked, with just the tiniest bit of surprise in her voice, while getting up to get another place setting. I noticed that Katie was watching me expectantly.

"No, his dad got transferred so they're back in town. But mom, aren't you just a little surprised?" I whined at her for ruining my surprise.

"Joey, after all these years, you kids can't surprise me very often. Otherwise, I'd have more gray hair than your father," she said giving him a wink before sitting back down. Everyone, including dad laughed, though honestly he still had a full head of hair and very little gray."

"So, I guess everything worked out?" my dad replied.

"Seems that way. He looks great and seems happy," I said with a smile, "But we didn't get much of a chance to talk. He had to run off to soccer practice."

With just 10 days remaining before school resumed, life was a madhouse. I did spend time with Eddie on the weekend and was surprised to see where he and his dad were living. The house was 10 to 15 years newer than mine, considerably larger and definitely nicer. "Dad's doing pretty good," Eddie admitted. I noticed a few toys like the cell phone and new computer, but it wasn't like he had just robbed a bank. I was happy for him, especially after those years with his mother. We talked while putting his room in order but ignored the inviting queen size bed. I got a huge hug and several kisses as I was leaving and again remembered that night at the movies when he had said, `Later, bro.'

I was expecting to see an older version of Eddie when I was introduced to his father, but they bore little resemblance to one another, though there was something similar about their eyes. William Hansen, or Bill as he preferred to be called, was a bit taller than his son and his auburn hair and dark eyes offset a rather plain but handsome face. He was affable, very polished and effusive with his gratitude for all I had done for Eddie. They shared a smile when his dad addressed his son as Edgar, which I took as a clue that they were getting along. He quickly put me at ease and I readily agreed that he should meet my parents once he and Eddie were settled in.

Not surprisingly, we had no classes together and didn't have much free time. Eddie started calling me his horny little brother whenever I broached the subject of sex, though I had to laugh at myself, because in fact, I had always been the shy one. But slowly it occurred to me that he was more focused on school and sports than before and certainly less impulsive, a bit more like Josh! I finally realized that he had done a lot of growing up in the past several months. Eddie was now more of a man and less a boy, a fact I found to be incredibly sexy.

It was several weeks into the school year when he invited me to join him after a soccer game. Of course I agreed and after we had stopped to eat, he drove us home in his dad's car. As the garage door lowered behind us, Eddie said. "Dad's gone for the weekend, but you can stay over if you want to." I just smiled. His eyes were twinkling or sparkling or something but I knew he wasn't teasing me. I called home to say I'd be home sometime tomorrow and surrendered myself to Eddie.

His room was nearly dark as he told me that he would do everything, which started with him undressing me. Never in my life had it taken so long to get naked, though I enjoyed every moment. This was the first time Eddie would actually see my body since my growth spurt and summer exercise. He made several appreciative comments, but was mostly silent. In bed he rubbed his hands over me like some kind of massage interspersed with kisses. It occurred to me that this must be lovemaking; everything before was just sex. When he finally took me over the edge, it was as if my entire body was part of this orgasm; it wasn't just draining my balls. There were more kisses while he eased me down and then into sleep.

The next morning Eddie served us breakfast in bed, literally. It wasn't terribly fancy, but it was particularly delicious since he had done it for me. I felt completely loved. Once he had eaten, Eddie became like a kitten with a belly of warm milk. I took the opportunity to return Eddie's favors with a boyish imitation of his skillful manipulations. He eased back into the bed, though I made certain he wouldn't fall asleep. At first, I tried to remember all his moves from the night before so I could repeat them, but eventually let myself be guided by his beautiful body and his appreciative sounds. When he finally stopped shooting, he smiled at me with glazed eyes and pulled me into a hug before we both fell asleep.

I awoke with the realization that I truly loved this man. I'd thought and wondered about it since the first time we had kissed but I never knew it until that moment. I felt nervous and excited and scared all at the same time. I didn't know what to do so I moved under the blankets and managed to awaken Eddie with the best blowjob I could deliver. I could feel the smile stretched across my face as I emerged from under the bedding. Eddie was smiling too. "I love you, Eddie." I'd said it and knew I meant it.

"I know you do and I love you too." We shared a single extraordinary kiss.

When we eventually made our way to the shower it was a totally sensuous event. We soaped and rubbed each other's body, but avoided provoking erections, simply enjoying the sensations. We barely said a word but we were continually communicating. It was an experience that was totally new to me. Even after we dressed, I felt content to sit nearby while Eddie drank his coffee. The nirvana stayed with me even after I returned home. I wrote several letters to Eddie, trying to explain how I felt, how he made me feel, but ultimately tore them up. I called him just before I went to bed and told him again that I loved him and then slept soundly.

*     *     *     *     *

Ironically, the best sex of my young life was sort of the beginning of the end, or so it seemed at the time. I was perpetually horny and lusting after his affection. Eddie remained a good friend but sex was seldom part of our shared time. Reluctantly, I acknowledged his discipline, but that did nothing to assuage my lust. One day, out of nowhere, I remembered that Eddie had never asked me to be his boyfriend; he had asked me to be a friend.

Irrespective of my sexual needs, our senior year was already well underway, and Journalism, the elective I had selected before I had even met Eddie required proposals for a final project. Wanting to stretch myself by picking a subject I knew very little about, I proposed an overview of sports at our school knowing that I could include friends like Greg, Steve and Ethan, who wouldn't crucify me for not understanding their particular sport. I planned to include players, coaches, cheerleaders, pep band members, and possibly the vice-principal since he was in charge of scheduling. My teacher, Ms. Gorman was always mining for articles for the school paper and I knew this could be a hit as sports were a big deal at my school. I also took satisfaction in the fact that I could do the interviews throughout the semester and possibly use an article as a writing example for college applications. My plan was almost genius!

My intent was to interview and photograph individuals and then follow up by attending at least one game to get some action photos and a better understanding of the sport. Eddie was an easy hit so I started with him. He convinced the soccer coach and several of his teammates to participate. Though I probably missed some of the intricacies of the sport, I had good understanding of the game and a new appreciation of the particular skills required for the sport, which made sitting in the bleachers fun! As far as I knew Eddie was the only gay soccer player, but there were several very hot guys on his team.

Football coach Meyers, basically dismissed me and our interview lasted under five minutes. His reputation in our division was pretty much golden, so eventually I found a way to edit his remarks to make a positive presentation of the man. However, Greg and Ethan graciously answered my questions and explained the game better than Josh or dad had ever done. Even in their practice gear they looked huge and despite the couple of inches I had added to my height, I felt small. They pulled several of their fellow players over though some of them did little more that grunt to further the stereotype of the dumb jock. Since I was in the marching band, I was a de facto audience member at all the home games, though in previous years, I usually goofed off with other disinterested band members until we had finished the half-time show and split. However, as with soccer, I was now tutored in the sport and occasionally watched the game to its conclusion. I borrowed my dad's camera, as it was more versatile than my simple point and shoot. My dad hadn't been to a high school game since Josh graduated, but joined me one evening. I think he was impressed that I understood the game as well as I did.

"You're full of surprises Joey," he said with a smile, "though I guess I shouldn't be since you're so damn smart."

I recognized it as a sincere compliment, but had to be a bit of a smartass just the same. "Damn straight!" I concurred before we both burst out laughing. Our shared moment was interrupted as we watched Ethan pluck a wild pass out of the air, dance around several aggressive defense players and run some 30 yards for a touchdown. Dad cheered at least as loudly as the students. Ethan twisted his body and leaped into the air while slamming the ball into the turf. He landed facing the stands and I would have sworn he was looking right at me! Thankfully I remembered the camera and managed to grab several shots of his victorious moment. One of those images made it to the pages of the local and student newspaper.

But it was my own dad that played a trump card and announced that we would be going to watch Josh's homecoming game. "You're shittin' me!" I exclaimed in my surprise.

"No I'm not. We should have done this before but I never thought you'd be interested. It'll be great!" he proclaimed. "Do you think Eddie will want to join us?"

"Of course!" I exclaimed. "Well at least I think so; I guess I'll have to ask him. But are you serious?"

"Damn straight!" he teased and we both laughed. (I told you my dad was cool!) Eddie was at least as excited as I was.

Eight days later dad and I pulled up in front of Eddie's house to find father and son waiting in the driveway. My folks had met Eddie's dad soon after they returned to our town and already treated Mr. Hansen like an old family friend.

"I wish I could join you guys," Eddie's dad proclaimed as we gathered outside dad's car. "I know you're gonna have a great time. Right Edgar?" Dad looked a bit puzzled but the rest of us smiled our unspoken understanding. "Just don't give Bob any grief, okay?"

"Give the man grief? No way!" Eddie promptly answered.

As cool as my dad, Bob Thompson is, I think we lost him after `Edgar' was mentioned. Regardless, he continued to smile as we jumped into the car and headed for my and Eddie's first college football game. After a long drive and a lot of hassle getting parked, we ended up in seats near the forty-yard line; pretty sweet we all agreed. The game was a very competitive one and after the first quarter the score seemed to hang in a balance, as one team's triumph was countered by the other `s scoring a rebuttal; the final score was 35 to 31 with Josh's team victorious.

I was a bit nervous when the four of us gathered for dinner, as it would be the first time for Josh and Eddie to actually meet face to face. There seemed to be a brief moment of sniffing the other out, like two strange dogs meeting for the first time, but they soon bonded over the commonality of sports, at least long enough to get to know the other a bit better. Josh was surprised that I was able to comment on at least some of the day's football strategy. He tried to give dad credit but dad turned to Eddie, who in turn deflected it to me, while revealing my journalism project. Josh asked me about my project before requesting that I send him a copy. I had to remind him that it was a work in progress as it wasn't due until the end of the semester, but agreed to send him segments, suggesting he could be my editor.

"Your editor?" he laughed. "You know I'm a math geek, not a man of letters."

"Well, if Joey can comprehend football and soccer, certainly you could tackle the written word," dad interjected. I gave Josh a teasing shove, but my muscled brother didn't even budge, though he smiled at dad and me.

"Ok-a-a-a-y! I guess I should have kept my mouth shut," he chuckled. At that point he and Eddie seemed to share a look before he added. "Joey, I'm not sure about any editorial contributions from my end, but I'm serious about reading your article; it's so cool that you went out on a limb like that. You're full of surprises."

"Damn straight!" dad replied and Eddie just about lost it; we all laughed. Dad had never played favorites, despite his admiration of Josh's athletic prowess; and that night he proved it once again. As the conversation continued, dad and I sat back as Josh and Eddie seemingly ate everything in sight.

It was quite late when Eddie and I finally returned to the hotel room and the long day and full stomachs made us both sleepy. Despite my fatigue, the pair of freshly made queen-size beds piqued my sexual interests.

"Damn, Joey, your brother is one fuckin' hot stud!" Of course, I already knew that, but was a bit jealous until he added. "Guess he takes after you," he snickered and pushed me back onto one of the beds. We made out while rolling around on the bed and tore at the others' clothes. Technically, we never got around to actually having sex, though we both got off before we fell asleep; I still had my socks on! In the morning, we shared a less frantic, but equally enjoyable 69 before we showered and joined my dad in the restaurant for breakfast. I don't know why, but I felt almost embarrassed to be eating in the dining room of the same hotel where I had just had sex with my "boyfriend". Neither Eddie nor dad seemed to notice.

After two hours on the road, dad pulled into a gas station and handed me the keys. After the tank had been filled and we had each taken a turn to empty our bladders, Eddie settled into the shotgun position for the remainder of the trip. With dad snoozing in the back it was easy to imagine that Eddie and I were on some carefree road trip, limited only by the endless ribbon of pavement. In reality, it was a quiet ending to a great weekend. It was a beautiful fall day, the radio was playing softly and much of the time Eddie and I were comfortably silent, though his long arm was stretched across the seatback, so that his fingers occasionally played with my hair or squeezed my shoulder. Ummm, so nice, I thought.

*     *     *     *     *

During the remainder of the fall sport season I managed to interview my friends, Matt, a maniacal drummer, Miguel, the tallest Latino I had ever met and Macy, a pixie of a girl who could drown out the entire band with her piccolo. At one point the four of us were hanging out before Mr. Schneider ordered us into position for half-time. Even though I knew he had a serious girl friend, I was teasing Miguel about blowing an instrument as large as a trombone while using his hand to move the slide.

Matt, who was aware of my relationship with Eddie, piped up. "I guess you'd know all about blowing big ones!" I felt my face turn at least 15 shades of red, as the others started laughing; Macy and Miguel didn't know about Eddie but I'd been out to them for quite some time.

Miguel almost bit his lip in an effort to stifle his laughter long enough to add. "If you want any pointers on blowing, I'd...I'd be oblige," he managed to get out between laughs. Despite my red face, I began to laugh as well.

"Two points each," I said pointing at Matt and Miguel, though barely able to hold my extended fingers at arm's length, let alone stand because of my own fit of laughter.

"Damn! Finally I got you, you slippery bastard," Matt teased, before he planted a mock-serious kiss on my cheek, Miguel and Macy followed suit. I just knew if my face got any redder, it would burst into flames.

But as Macy pulled back from the quick kiss she squealed, "Joey, you're the most awesome fag in the entire school!" Then she hugged me tighter than I would have thought possible for a girl as small as she was.

"Thanks," I simply said before I returned her kiss. Matt and Miguel both moaned at the fact that I was kissing a girl, though I knew they were teasing.

Dad got some great pictures of the band's half-time show. Of course I'd never seen it so I was a bit impressed by some of the formations we were actually able to achieve after only limited practice and many derogatory comments from Mr. Schneider.

Despite the fact that I was one of a handful of guys at school would not have seriously considered surrendering their left nut to be granted access to any rehearsal of the cheerleading squad, I was more nervous than I had been to meet with Coach Meyers. Sharon Burke also coached girls' soccer and volleyball and in that arena was almost as well known as Coach Meyers. She maintained a closed-door policy for cheerleading rehearsals, but they certainly put on a show for the only male in the gym, who also happened to have a camera. Of course it was wasted on me, except for the fact that I discovered how much effort and commitment each member of the squad brought to rehearsal and performance. I chuckled to think that I could make some quick cash if I decided to forego journalistic ethics; many of my fellow students would readily pay cash for shots of these hot girls shaking their tits and ass in outfits which were far more revealing than a cheer leader's costume.

Cassie was co-captain, gorgeous and also an honor student. She had negotiated my entry and did her best to make me feel welcome. At rehearsal's end, most of the girls rushed forward to be photographed as if I were some Hollywood-casting agent. I graciously obliged them, though realized that I'd need to crop the images extensively as most of the girls posed in pairs or groups and somehow managed to end up looking like soft porn. I finished my afternoon by interviewing Cassie and her co-captain, Reese. As our discussion continued, it became obvious, even to me that Reese was hitting on me. For the first time in my life, I had to tell a girl I was gay.

"No way!" She challenged. My brother, Josh was the lady-killer in my family, so I was both surprised and confused that Reese could be so taken with me.

"Trust me," Cassie responded while placing an arm over Reese's shoulder. "He's telling the truth; he even has a smokin' hot boyfriend," she said giving me a wink. Of course my face immediately turned bright red.

I think my red face convinced Reese that neither Cassie nor I were lying.

"Damn! Why are all the cute guys gay?" she queried.

"They're not! Carrie and I said in unison. There was a moment of silence before we all laughed.

After my performance at cheerleading practice, Ms. Burke more readily agreed to be interviewed as the soccer coach; of all the coaches I'd thus met, she seemed to have the best grasp of the importance of a balance between competition and fun. Several of the players came forth to talk and be photographed, as many of them thought the girls' team was largely ignored in deference to the boys' team and of course, football. The practice session revealed some very talented players, an impression that was confirmed when I attended an actual game.

The first quarter had already ended, with the realization that I had devoted way more time to the project than I imagined or intended. Between marching band and my journalism project, I had missed several of Eddie's soccer matches, despite my intention to attend every home game. I felt bad about that, but had to admit that my project was a lot of fun, at least most of the time. At that point, I knew way more about sports that I thought possible and somehow, word of my project spread through the jock community like wildfire. I had guys (including some incredibly hot ones) and girls stopping me in the hall offering interviews and anything else I might deem necessary or appropriate. Of course some of the guys were typically pompous jock-jerks, but mostly they were regular kids like myself, anxious to get some recognition for their efforts and their sport. Whenever possible I made time for interviews. Still, time was running out for the fall sports and Cross Country, regarded as the redheaded stepchild of high school sports, was the only sport I had yet to cover. By this time, word of mouth made me keenly aware that I needed to meet with the Elliott brothers: sophomore twins who had managed to make quite a name for themselves in our school and with our competitors. Even Eddie, who didn't seem to know much about the sport, had heard of the infamous twins; I had no idea what to expect. I did some Internet research before I approached the twins or their coach.

Coach Sanderson was kind and polite, though not terribly talkative. I was glad I had done the research because he certainly wasn't forthcoming with any insights into the sport. Even so, it was clear he was dedicated to his team. The twins were altogether a different experience. I guess they weren't identical twins as Cody had blue eyes whereas Kevin's were hazel, but that difference was so subtle, you had to be right on top of them to discern it. Fortunately Kevin had a mole/beauty mark below his left eye, which saved me from repeated instances of mistaken identity. When I learned that they ran seven days a week, we agreed to meet at the park between our respective homes.

I was sitting in the bandstand where I had performed the previous summer and watched as the twins ran up and down the small section of permanent risers fronting the bandstand. Surprisingly, they were only slightly winded when they jogged up and greeted me. They were cute in that gangly sort of way that teens undergoing a growth surge might exhibit. They hadn't yet had their 16th birthday, though they were already taller than Eddie or myself; they seemed to be mostly comprised of arms and legs, with chins and noses that prefigured their future stature. If they reached the promised maturity, they would be very handsome men; at that moment, they were simply a pair of happy teens. They pushed their sweatpants up to their knees and settled in next to one another, almost as if they were Siamese twins; I envied their intimacy.

"We started running to keep from falling down," Cody admitted in answer to a question.

"Yeah. Back in eighth grade we started growing like crazy!"

"We were practically falling over ourselves!"

"So we started running." Kevin explained. "We're a bit more comfortable with our arms and legs now." They both chuckled. "And we found we liked it. We're on a team, but mostly we're each competing against ourselves."

"Don't you mean each other?" I interjected.

"No!" Cody replied. "We're our own best and worst competition."

"Huh?" I responded, completely thrown off balance.

"We try not to compete against each other," Cody continued. "That only means disaster, something we found out the hard way," he added giving his brother a knowing smile.

"Yeah," Kevin continued. "We both got kind of hung up on the same girl last year, but we didn't tell the other, though I think we both knew something was going on. Finally Cody told me had a thing for Allison and we ended up in a stalemate for so long that she hooked up with some other guy." Kevin turned his face and buried it in his brother's neck. (I couldn't help myself; I snapped a picture of the twins.)

"Yeah, some loser," Cody added. "She was definitely hot, so it was a pretty big lesson for us. We've gotten better about sharing would-be secrets. Kevin's way better in math and science, while I have a slight edge in English and history."

"That's why he does most of the talking," Kevin teased, with a sly smile.

Cody just snorted, before he added. "I'm sure lot's of kids think we do each others' homework, but it's not like that. Sure we help each other out, but we still have to make it on our own. Like out on the course; we want the other to excel, but regardless, Kevin and I have to make it as individuals."

"Yeah something like that, Shakespeare," Kevin replied with a smile.

"But maybe we won't have to compete in everything," Cody continued. "It seems my brother has come up with an angle I know nothing about." He paused and gave Kevin a questioning look. His brother apparently understood the unspoken question and nodded his head. "Kevin's been sort of wondering, so we went to a few GSA meetings at school. No offense... but I didn't remember seeing you there but Kevin certainly did."

"Oh... great, I you''re like ..."

"Yeah. At least I think so," Kevin said interrupting my clumsy reply.

"Maybe he is and maybe he isn't," Cody said and wrapped an arm around his brother. "Doesn't matter to me, he's my brother and I love him regardless." I was shocked to see Cody give Kevin a quick kiss on the cheek. But then Kevin returned the gesture. I would have to be a complete pervert to think of their act as erotic; obviously it was a rare example of pure love and understanding between siblings. It reminded me a bit of Josh and me, though I didn't remember that we ever kissed; I did remember plenty of hugs.

"So which team do you play on?" Kevin asked.

"Definitely the boys' team! I...I mean, I like guys; I'm hardly a jock," I chuckled at my jumbled answer.

"That's cool," they said almost as one.

After that we continued to chat for nearly an hour. We talked about boys, girls and the GSA; school and college; studies and sports and even music and movies. The twins were quite interested in my brother, Josh, because he was playing football at a Big Ten school, while I was particularly interested in the circumstance of being a twin, since they were the first twins I had ever known personally. They seemed amused by my curiosity but agreed to another meeting.

The following Thursday was a miserably cold and drizzly autumn day. I looked for the twins among the groups of runners warming up for the event, but failing to spot them, set out to find a position along the course. Already I was feeling the damp chill and didn't envy the athletes in their flimsy running gear. I cheered every time someone wearing our school's colors passed by, though I had no idea how the team was faring. Cody and Kevin were running almost side by side when they passed me and I had to chuckle to notice that one was still wearing his warm up top while the other had retained his bottoms. I also noticed the smile on each face when they spotted me, almost as if they knew I'd be poised at that point in the course with my camera. I did get some shots before quickly heading toward the finish line for more photos. None of the runners smiled as they pushed themselves toward the finish; all their energy was funneled into winning the race.

Despite the fact that the team placed second, the twins, their teammates and coach all smiled to find someone from school around the finish line. I got some great photos and congratulated everyone and anyone wearing the school colors. I was a bit embarrassed to realize that I knew two runners in addition to the twins, though hadn't previously known they were on the team; I offered a congratulatory handshake and even coaxed them into having their picture taken, if only to assuage my guilt.

With the change of seasons, the marching band was retired, though many of us transitioned into the pep band. It also brought a change of sports, and a whole new adventure for me: boys' and girls' basketball, girls' volleyball and boy's wrestling, at least cheerleading hadn't changed. Having a bit of a reputation, it was easy to score interviews with members of the girls' teams. I knew several of the guys, including Ethan that participated in basketball, and their coach had been my algebra teacher last year so he was a known quantity.

But I was more than a bit nervous when it came to approaching the wrestling squad. Eventually I met with Todd, who wrestled in the 105-pound weight class and was one of the two sophomores on the varsity team. Todd was very serious, yet totally charming. Despite the fact that I out-weighed him by almost 30 pounds, I was convinced he could have readily torn me into two tidy halves. He appeared to be made entirely of muscle, but he quickly revealed another muscle: his brain. He also revealed a lightning- quick wit and an amazing smile, complete with dimples. During our discussion I learned that he was in the top 10 percent of his class and actually appreciated wrestling for the element of strategy, which according to him had greater impact than physical conditioning, especially in the lower-weight categories. He in turn helped me hook up with Rick, who wrestled at 165 pounds. Rick was a fellow senior, so I'd seen him at school but didn't know anything about him. And if I thought Todd was muscular, Rick's additional 60 pounds must have been comprised entirely of muscle, as even his worn and sagging sweats couldn't hide his powerful frame. I would have been mentally undressing him if I weren't so intimidated.

So imagine my surprise when Todd introduced us with these instructions: "Joey's totally cool so behave yourself and don't hurt him, okay asshole?" Todd let loose with one of his smiles and smacked Rick firmly on the back. Another member of the squad calling Rick to the gym cut the interview, which I expected to last five minutes tops, short after 20 minutes. Rick wasn't the smartest guy in my class but we mostly talked about college rather than wrestling. As it turned out, he definitely wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy and although I knew nothing about it, I tried to encourage him. In so many ways, it seemed more legitimate than my dreams of becoming a writer. Since he was planning to retake the SAT, I suggested a couple websites that friends had found helpful.

As a sport, wrestling only got hotter when I finally hooked up with their coach. Randy Simonson had been hired just last year and had great hopes of making the wresting squad a powerhouse, at least in our division. He couldn't have been older than 30 and looked like one of the models from the Marine Corps ads; square jawed, broad shouldered and sporting a buzz cut. I kept stealing glances at his left hand until I spied a wedding band. Randy loved sports and wrestling in particular. (At my school, he was an assistant coach for both football and baseball.) He had been a state champion in high school and was equally successful in college, but recognized the need to make a living and hoped he might inspire other young athletes, hence his current position. I was relieved to discover than he was content in his current milieu, and enjoyed watching his 13-month-old daughter as she proudly walked through the family home without much assistance.

With a rudimentary understanding of their sport, I found myself rooting for Todd and Rick during the match, sometimes leaning into their move as if to assist them from the bleachers. I got some great shots throughout the night and was surprised by how erotic the sport could be as two hunky, sweaty studs strained and struggled against the other's hard body. I made a special effort to get some additional shots after the match ended in a hard-won victory for our team. Rick was effusive with thanks when I presented copies of the photos I'd taken during his match. We're certainly not friends, but since then, we exchange hellos in the halls; it's nice.

*     *     *     *     *

Despite the fact that Eddie wasn't involved with a winter sport, we were both busy and finding time to share was difficult. I had to remind myself that since he no longer lived with my family, I wasn't exactly the center of his universe, as if I ever was! My journalism project was my one guilty pleasure (not counting jerking off) as I spent an inordinate amount of time on the project, sometimes editing or rewriting a specific segment to send off to Josh. Then there was music practice; the occasional study group with Jenny, Carrie, Steve or Ethan; student government; GSA, where I was still an active member; lurking college applications and of course family, which occasionally had me involved with Katie's girl scout troop. I'll admit that Katie, her friends and Scout troop were often a welcome distraction for the demands of a high school senior.

Even with my reassurances and frequent offers, Eddie was reticent to ask for help with any of his studies, but we managed to study in the other's company occasionally. Maybe he didn't feel like he was being tutored when we studied together, where he could ask the random question or have me explain something. I just liked having him near, though at times, his physical proximity seriously distracted my academic pursuits; at times like that I tended to talk more and study less; thank god Eddie never complained! Some nights, he would just unzip his fly and smirk at me; ten minutes later we were both content and back to our studies.

On one such evening Eddie said, "Well maybe you should go out with Ethan. He obviously likes you and trusts you, so what's the big deal?" I hadn't even realized that we had been talking rather than studying nor that Ethan had become the topic of our conversation.

"But don't you like me?" I asked, purposely avoiding the word love.

"Joey, of course I like you. More than that, I hope you know I love you, but you have more love inside you than anyone I've ever known. I probably need all you have to give and more, but I'm not able to take it all in just yet. So meanwhile, perhaps you could share some with Ethan. I'm not saying you have to fuck him..." he snickered, then smiled at me. "But seriously, he seems like a real cool guy who is maybe floundering a bit. Probably he's straight but a bit curious or confused or worried or scared. I might have been scared, but I don't think I was ever confused. But if I'd met you four or five years ago, my life wouldn't have been the hell that it has been." I was so stunned by the maturity of his confession that what he said next totally took me by surprise. "Besides, even if you haven't figured it out yet, you're pretty damn sexy." He hugged me tightly and kissed me gently, leaving no doubt about the love he held for me. Obviously he had heard almost every word that I had mumbled or uttered about Ethan since the school year had begun.

"Yeah, but I don't even know if he's gay."

"Hello? Were you even listening?" he teased. "I don't know if he's straight, bent or right up your alley; I barely know the guy!" As if to reinforce what he was saying, Eddied gently turned my face toward his. "What I said was, that there's something going on that he wants to share and apparently you're the someone he wants to share it with."

"Eddie, how come you're so smart?"

He sort of chuckled before he answered. "Joey, we both know I'm not all that smart, but when dad split, mom pretty much left me to my own devices and you learn pretty quick when you have too. And although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, sex, drugs and alcohol can be awesome teachers...particularly when you're left high and dry without any of them." He paused and looked down before adding. "They can be your best friend you're riding high, but you can't count on any of them when you're down. I...I was pretty down when I knocked on your door last year. I had no idea where to go and even less of an idea if you'd even let me in." He sighed before a small smile appeared on his face. "But you took me in and your family was great! I can't ever ..." he never finished his sentence as I interrupted with a kiss.

Of course Eddie was right, but I didn't have a clue as to how I might offer to help Ethan. It wasn't like I could demand he get it off his chest, lay it on me, drop the bomb or whatever; Ethan was more than an acquaintance, but not exactly a friend. We'd met the first day of high school and shared at least two classes every year since. Back then, I'd had my eyes focused primarily on Tyler and knew enough about school politics not to attempt to romantically hook up with a hot jock like Ethan. Even so, we shared a tentative relationship, based primarily on academics. For his part, he knew more about Josh's athletic accomplishments than I did and was the only classmate to ask about Tyler after he and his family moved away! Once he even inquired about my experiences with the GSA and with unusual boldness, I actually invited him to join me for a meeting; he politely yet firmly declined. Since then, we'd been lab and study partners, and shared intersecting circles of friends. Perhaps the oddest aspect of `us' was our willingness, perhaps eagerness to seek the other's validation in areas where we had no knowledge and certainly no expertise: I'd evaluate his debate technique and he'd critique my musical abilities. Go figure! I certainly can't explain what we thought we were doing; it just felt right!

If that sounds ridiculous, it's fair to add that I wasn't the only one to succumb to Ethan's charm; seemingly no one was able to resist him. Kids that hated jocks loved Ethan, while jocks that despised brainy types also loved him. He had been on the homecoming court in both his freshman and junior years; had lettered in three sports, while simultaneously being on the honor roll; was class president his sophomore year; on the student council last year and again this year, as well as being a member of the senior advisory committee, like myself; he'd helped to take the debate team to state last year and this year looked to be no different. Neither of us expected to fill the number one or two spot on graduation day but we silently vied for the next-available slot. It was like we were destined to be pals while being our own worst enemies. I'm serious; when push comes to shove, the crowd will side with jock/brain rather than fag/brain. Don't forget I play the clarinet!!!

Jenny had coerced me to man the ticket table for several lunch periods. Coerced sounds harsh, since I'd do almost anything for Jenny. Anyway, as co-chair of the winter dance, she had enlisted my help with ticket sales and I readily agreed. It was no biggie, I just made sure to have a book to read and paper for writing whenever I sat at the table during lunch period. I'm sure Steve knew about the arrangement, as he was my very first sale. (I almost gave him the tickets, as he and Jenny were among my very best friends!) One afternoon Rick stopped and asked with a wink, if I'd give him a discount. Not knowing if he was serious, I was flustered until he admitted that he already had purchased his tickets. "Who's the lucky girl?" I asked sincerely but with a sense of relief.

"Jackie Simms," he replied with a big smile. "What hottie do you have lined up? Obviously ticket price isn't a problem for you." He said still smiling while nodding toward the cash box. I started to blush and dropped my eyes, even though I didn't think Rick knew I was gay. Unfortunately my eyes landed on his crotch, which looked mighty fine in his jeans since I had seen it in his singlet. My face turned several shades of darker red and Rick changed course. "Guess I'll find out at the dance. Later dude. Oh, and thanks for the spread in the school paper; great pics!" His last comments gave me back my smile. Rick was just another of those quiet guys struggling to excel, and it was good to know he appreciated my efforts.

"Hey Ethan, wanna go to the dance with me?" I asked quietly when he passed during a slow period.

"Thanks for asking, Joey. Maybe next time."

I wasn't sure where my question had come from but was plenty nervous now that I had actually voiced it and quickly tried to cover my tracks. "Just kidding Ethan," I said with a nervous chuckle. "Gotta make my quota, you know... But seriously, I was wondering if you could spare some time over Christmas break? I'm committed to finishing my journalism project before school starts in January and I'd really appreciate your input. More importantly, I'm considering using parts of it as a writing examples for college and could definitely use some objective criticism."

"Yeah, sure," he said. "December 24th and 25th are already booked, but..."

"Oh, and I'm paying for your services: dinner for two, without any dishes to wash!"

"Something other than Mickey D?" he teased.

"You name it and we're there!" I replied, as I started to get a little excited.

His face had a smile (of relief?) as he agreed. "Deal. Just give me 24 to clear my schedule." Again he was teasing me, and we both knew it.

Somehow I started to wish that Ethan and I would be attending the winter dance together. In the looks department, it was a coin toss that separated Eddie and Ethan, simply because I knew Eddie better (including the biblical sense. Ha!) My lustful imagination suggested that Ethan was gay, though every sign I'd ever seen suggested otherwise. I sighed and then chuckled to myself. Nerd's revenge, I thought. I sorta had a totally hot boyfriend and an equally hot guy was willing to spend time with me!

To be continued