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I hate Mondays, Jay thought to himself. His facial expression quickly changed from one of disgust to one of utter excitement when he remembered that his newfound love would be waiting for him at school. The smile that spread across his face stayed with him as he took a hot shower to officially start his day.
He washed himself thoroughly, imagining what it would feel like to have Josh there in the shower with him. His daydream was interrupted by the voice of his mother outside the door.
"Jason," she said, "breakfast is ready downstairs. Hurry up or your pancakes will be cold."
Jay hurriedly finished his shower and stepped out into his room with a towel loosely wrapped around his waist. He strode to his dresser, pulled open a drawer, and selected a pair of black boxer-briefs to wear under his previously chosen outfit. He was fully dressed and downstairs in little more than five minutes.
The pancakes were the best he'd ever had. Jay couldn't help but surmise that it wasn't his mothers cooking expertise that had made them taste so good. He ate quickly, kissed his mother's cheek (as he had only done twice in the last year, at most), and was on his way out the door 30 minutes ahead of his usual schedule, when his mother called to him.
"What's the rush, Jay? When did school become so interesting to you that you have to be there 45 minutes before class?"
"Oh, I'm picking up Josh this morning."
"Doesn't his mom usually take him to school?"
"Yeah, but I decided to surprise him today, I guess you'd say. I really don't see much sense in his mom driving out of her way to take him to school before she goes to work every day. I figured that since I'm going to school anyway, why not? You don't mind do ya mom?" Jay found that last sentence to be quite ironic, since he, himself had been the one to point out to Josh that he no longer needed his mother's permission. Old habits die hard, he thought.
"No, I don't mind at all," Jay's mother, Denise, consented. "I think it's a good idea. Josh's mother will appreciate it, I'm sure. Now I guess you'd better get going," she finished with a smile.
"Okay, mom. I'll see ya after school. I love you."
"I love you too Jason. Drive carefully."
"I will," Jay answered in that age-old `not again' tone of voice that teenagers have been using since the dawn of time.
As Jay left, his mother thought to herself, wow, something has changed in him. I like it this way... he never used to tell me he loved me unless I said it first. I sure hope this isn't a temporary change. She smiled.
As Jay's father, James, got up from his chair at the table and neatly folded the newspaper he had been reading, he said, "Denise, there's something definitely wrong with that kid. He was too normal this morning." They both laughed at his comment, and James kissed his wife before leaving to go to work.
Four blocks away, Josh was just about ready to leave with his mother when there was a knock at the front door.
"Who could that be this early in the morning," Josh's mother, Karen, said, annoyed.
When she opened the door, she was greeted by Jay's bright smile. "Hi there. I'm from the Acme Vacuum Cleaner Company in Walla-Walla, Washington. Would you like a demonstration of our fine product?"
Karen feigned disgust and moved to close the door in Jason's face. He pulled out all the stops on her this time. He even used his patented puppy dog eyes. Karen had come to expect these sort of antics from Jay, so she laughed heartily and let him in. "Alright, just this once. But if you mess up my carpet, I'll send you back to Washington in a vacuum cleaner bag."
Josh was clearly surprised to see his friend at the door. "Uh, hey. What brings you here?"
"Well, I was thinking maybe I could give ya a ride to school today... and for the rest of the year... if you want."
"Awesome man." Josh said, trying not to sound too excited. "What do you think?" he directed this question at his mother.
"It's fine with me," Karen replied.
"Thanks mom," Josh said, walking toward his mother. Karen was surprised when he put his arms around her and hugged her tightly.
"We can leave right now if you want, since you are ready to go," Jay interrupted.
"Sure," Josh said. "Bye mom, I'll see you later."
With that, the two boys left the house. Outside, the Arkansas sun shone brightly, and the morning's balmy air promised a hot, sunny spring day.
In Jay's car, Josh said, "Jay, we're gonna be half an hour early if we go to school now."
"Yeah, I know. That's why we're not going to school yet," Jay replied with a sly grin.
"Oh really? What are we going to do then?"
Instead of answering Josh's question, Jay leaned over and kissed him. Then he pulled away from Josh's house, and drove not towards the school, but in the opposite direction.
Jay drove to a neighborhood that Josh wasn't very familiar with.
"Where are we going," Josh asked.
"You'll see. It's sort of a surprise."
After driving a couple of blocks more, Jay pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex.
"Come on, there is someone I want you to meet," Jay said excitedly. He went to the door of an apartment on the first level, and rang the doorbell. Shortly thereafter the door was answered by a blond-haired beauty of a young woman dressed in very short shorts and an old T-shirt.
"Hi Jason, how are you? You haven't been by in a while... I was beginning to wonder."
"Well, you know how it is with school and all..."
"Excuses, excuses," She replied playfully. "So, who is this fine young man with you today?"
Josh blushed for the millionth time that morning, and Jay answered, "Oh, this is Josh.
"So this is the guy you've told me so much about. I know you said he was cute, but I didn't expect him to be this cute!"
"SYLVIA!" Jay exclaimed, annoyed.
"What? Did I say something wrong," She asked with a sly grin on her face.
"All right then. Are you boys just going to stand outside or are you coming in?"
With that, they accompanied Sylvia into her apartment.
"Hey, this is nice," Josh said.
"Thanks," said Sylvia, "I try. Have a seat."
"This is a new sofa, isn't it," Jay asked.
"Yep. Just got it this weekend. Thought I'd get myself a little present for being so smart."
"What do you mean?"
"I finally got rid of The Asshole."
"All right! It's about time!"
Josh heard a baby cry in another room. So did Sylvia.
"Grrrrr! I just got that kid to settle down. Well, I'll be right back." Having said that, Sylvia left the room.
"Whoa, she has a baby? But she looks our age," Josh remarked, astonished.
"Eh, it happens. She graduated last year... not from our school. The baby belongs to her and The Asshole."
Sometime during their conversation, the baby had stopped crying, and they could hear Sylvia coming down the hall back to the living room.
"Matthew, say hello to Uncle Jason and Uncle Josh!" said Sylvia, in a singsong voice. The two-year-old in her arms waved a cute, pudgy little hand in the boys' general direction.
"Josh, this is my son, Matthew. And no, Jason, you're still not using my son to get your toaster oven!" Sylvia laughed.
"It's nothing, Josh, it's just an inside joke between me and Sylvia."
"Josh, don't look at me like I'm weird."
"Jay, you are weird."
"That's beside the point. So, Sylvia... what's new?" Jay quickly changed the subject.
"Oh, nothing on my end, except for the couch and The Asshole."
"Wait, wait," Josh interjected. "Who's this Asshole character you two keep talking about?"
"Well, he's my soon-to-be ex-husband," Sylvia replied. "He's only the laziest man on the planet. Treats me and Matthew like dogs, won't support anything but his trips to the strip clubs, and cheats on me on a regular basis."
"I'm sorry I asked..." Josh laughed.
"I'm just sorry I married the bastard. But then I wouldn't have Matthew, and I wouldn't give him up for anything in the world."
Matthew hopped out of his mother's arms, and toddled over to Josh, who was still sitting on the couch across the room from Sylvia.
"Homey, homey," Matthew said, in baby-speak.
"What's he saying?"
"He wants you to pick him up, silly boy."
Josh then picked Matthew up and sat him in his lap. Matthew was apparently happy with the new arrangement.
"I think he likes you, Josh," Jay said.
"Yes, it appears he does," Sylvia agreed. "So, Jay, have you... you know... yet?"
"You know, told somebody... something?"
"OH, that... yeah. Saturday night." Josh's eyes lit up... he had managed to decipher their little code.
"And?" Sylvia asked, curious.
"Why don't you ask me?" Josh said.
"Oops, I think we've been caught, Jay. He knows our dirty little secret," Sylvia said, not quite seriously. "Okay, Josh, I'll ask you then. AND???"
Josh then scooted over a bit to be closer to Jay, and planted a sloppy wet kiss on his lips with a loud smack. Jay's face turned a fabulous shade of red.
"OH, that's just ADORABLE!!" Sylvia was practically dancing in the chair she was sitting in. "Well, hey, if you guys need some place to go to... umm... umm... well, you can come over here any time you like. As long as I don't have company myself, I'll give you the house all to yourselves."
"Thanks," the boys said in unison.
"Isn't it about time for you two to scoot off to school now?"
"Oh SHIT, I almost forgot!" Jay exclaimed. "We'd better go. It was great seeing you again, Sylvia."
"Likewise. And it was definitely a pleasure you meet you, Josh." She grinned.
"Nice to meet you, too, Sylvia. Hope to see you again soon. Maybe we can talk a little longer next time."
"Maybe so. You two have fun... try not to learn too much!" She shouted at the boys as they went out the door.
Back in the car, Josh was the first to speak. "Sylvia's really cool, man. So you've been talking to her about me?"
"What did you say?"
"Oh... nothing," Jay smirked.
"You evil, evil little man."
"Yeah, I know. I learn from the best."
On the way to school, Jay stopped by a convenience store.
"Why in the world are we stopping here?" Josh asked, curious.
"You'll see. Sit tight. I'll be right back."
Jay left the car, entered the store and was only gone a couple of minutes. He returned with a huge economy-sized bag of Jolly Ranchers.
Josh's brow was deeply furrowed, as if he were concentrating. "What's with the candy?" he asked.
"Well, you know, I have this insatiable oral fixation." Jay said to Josh, who was blushing profusely. "If I don't have something to suck on at all times, I go crazy," he said with a smile.
Josh giggled, "Pervert."
Jay just smiled. He opened the package of candy and retrieved a piece for himself. After putting the Jolly Rancher in his mouth and sucking on it as seductively as he could, Josh was almost trembling with desire.
"Okay, this isn't fair," Josh whined, jokingly. "You're doing that to me on purpose!"
"Yep," Jay replied with an evil grin on his face. He drove out of the parking lot of the store, and headed once again toward school.
When the boys arrived at school, both were visibly nervous.
"Jay, how are we supposed to be around each other now? I mean, how do we act `normal' when we both know that something's different?"
"Eh, don't worry about it so much... nobody will notice, I'm sure." Jay said, though deep inside he wasn't so sure.
The boys were in the same first period class, French. And wouldn't you have guessed, it was taught by Mr. Treneman. As they walked through the door together, Mr. Treneman eyed them as if to say "Nope, you're definitely not gonna shut up today."
Josh and Jay didn't have any difficulty finding things to talk about during class, but for some reason, Mr. Treneman didn't call their names even one time. It was almost like he was giving them their "space". It was almost like he knew they had just found the love of their lives.
After class, the boys were leaving together when they received a wink from Mr. Treneman on their way out the door. Once they had reached a safe distance from the classroom, Josh said "Jeez, what is this, the twilight zone?!"
"Hahahaha! Nah, this isn't the twilight zone, it's only that Mr. Treneman didn't realize you had such a nice ass until today!" Jay said, laughing.
"How do ya know he was lookin' at MY ass, huh? He coulda been lookin' at yours!"
"Nope, it was definitely yours buddy. Hey, I gotta get to class. See ya at lunch?"
"Sure. See ya later, man."
The day crawled by slowly for both Josh and Jay, but lunchtime did eventually arrive. They met each other at their usual table in the far corner of the lunchroom, relatively isolated from the madhouse that was the rest of the lunchroom.
"Hey Josh, I invited a couple of friends to sit with us today. Do you mind?" Jay asked.
"No I don't m--" Josh stopped in mid-sentence when he saw Jay's friend Mikey coming toward their table. And Mikey wasn't alone--he had a friend with him, Dan Lane, a very unassuming kind of guy who seemed to fade into the background wherever he went. "Jay, I didn't know your friend Mikey went to school here..."
"Yup. He's been going here for about three years now, I think. Are you sure you don't mind him sitting with us?"
"Really, I don't mind."
Mikey and his friend had, by this time, reached the table in the far corner where Josh and Jay were sitting, and sat down themselves.
"Hey guys, what's up," Mikey asked in his seemingly usual cool manner. "I think you both already know my buddy Dan here," he added.
Josh and Jay nodded in agreement and simultaneously said, "Yup."
"And you must be Josh," Mikey continued. "Jay's told me a lot about you...actually, he never quits talking about you," he snickered. "I guess I've never really introduced myself to you. My name's Michael, but everybody calls me Mikey. So I finally get to talk to the fabled Josh," he said, innocently enough. But it made Josh and Jay blush, just the same.
Conversation at the table was inconsequential. All four boys seemed almost to avoid all but the most trivial topics. For Josh it was because he had no idea that Mikey and Dan already knew he was gay; for Jay and for Mikey, it was because they did not want to reveal to Josh their past and their connections to one another; and for Dan, it was simply because that was his way.
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! No, no wait! Don't run, please! Whew. Thought I'd lost ya there for a bit. I just wanna say thanks to all of you out there for sticking with me this long. It's been about a year and a half since the last chapter. How time flies, I suppose.
Lemme know what you thought at email@example.com or stop by my website at http://www.geocities.com/boy1der17. I need feedback desperately! Thanks! :-)