DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account involving gay teenage boys. There are references to gay sex and mild descriptions of sexual acts, and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Although the story takes place in actual locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of neither real individuals nor school policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.

Please note that this 2008 Spring Anthology entry is the ninth in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of some of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey's World. Please see the Introduction for important background on the series.

All My Heart

A Naptown Tale by Altimexis

As I hung up the phone, I couldn't help but smile as I squealed out in delight. I knew it was such a typically girly thing to do, but I couldn't help myself. I'd just gotten off the phone with Barry Smith, and I was in heaven. I'd had a bit of a crush on him since I started high school, but after his brother Will was outed, Barry stood up for him and that just endeared him to me like nothing else could have.

Barry wasn't exactly cultured - in fact, his family was dirt poor - but he was so cute, and there was just something about him that made me know he was a real sweetheart inside. When he moved out of his parents' house because they threw his brother out for being gay, I just knew he was special.

It was a real stroke of luck the next day when Dave Reynolds and Jeremy Kimball sat with Barry at lunch. Dave and Jeremy were a cool `out' couple at school and I'd been eating lunch with them since the start of this, our freshman year in high school.

You see, Barry and I have something in common - we both have gay brothers - so I joined the GSA right away and got to know David and Jeremy through the club. Dave and Jer were such a cute couple and I naturally gravitated to them, although I knew they'd have no interest in me. After all, I was a girl, but we soon became fast friends and I found myself eating lunch with them most every day and enjoying it because of the insights they gave me about being gay.

That day when they sat with Barry was the best. He was even sweeter than I'd imagined, and he actually spent some time talking to me, of all people. I just couldn't get over how nice he was. His English wasn't refined, but I could tell that he was very smart underneath it all.

Then on Halloween, we both went to the GSA's Halloween dance. It was a costume party and he looked so cute dressed up as a pirate. His costume was so much better than my Cinderella outfit. I couldn't believe the amount of time he spent talking and dancing with me, and he asked me for my number! I was thrilled!

Then something horrible happened and I thought I'd never hear from him again. When he got home after the dance, his father had killed his mother and then took his brother's boyfriend's family hostage, threatening to kill them if they didn't pay for Will to attend a church-run sexual reorientation school. Barry was right there, and he kept his cool and managed to get control of his father's gun - he was a true hero. Why would someone like that be interested in me?

The drama didn't end there, though. Barry's father ended up committing suicide, leaving Barry and Will orphaned. Will's boyfriend's family adopted both brothers, but with all that had happened, I couldn't imagine Barry being interested in dating anyone for a while, and certainly not me.

That's why I was so surprised when he called me. He called me! We must have talked for a good couple of hours or so. Barry was such a sweet boy. We talked about anything and everything. We talked about the music we liked and books we'd read. I was in awe about how much reading he'd done. I guess because his family was so poor and he couldn't afford to go to the movies, surf the Internet or play video games, he spent most of his time reading books from the library. He was an avid reader and even though his spoken language sounded a bit uncultured, his fund of knowledge was amazing. And the way he spoke of imaginary places and far away lands in the stories he'd read . . . he's such a romantic!

But the best thing of all was that he asked me to go with him to the school's Holiday Dance! Wow! He asked me to go with him. What was I going to wear?

Well, we went to the dance, and it was everything I imagined it would be. Barry looked so cute, dressed up in a suit and tie. He told me it was the first time in his life he'd ever worn a suit. He'd never owned one before! His foster parents bought it just so he could take me to the dance! And boy, did we dance. I think I realized for the first time that night that I was falling in love.

Over the holiday break, Barry took me out on a couple of dates. We just went to the Casselton Square Mall to hang out and take in some movies, but it was great!

Then there was the flack with the pastor at Hope Evangelical that kind of spoiled the end of the break. I could only imagine how poor Trevor Austin felt being picked on in a sermon, of all things, for being gay. Then they had that petition drive to try to disband the GSA! Thank God for the article in the Star. With the pastor's son coming out in the newspaper and the pastor then skipping town - well, it was all we talked about when we returned to school the next week.

Barry and I went out occasionally in the coming weeks and it became apparent that, not only was I in love with him, but he was in love with me! Barry Smith loved me! He even told me so!

Then one night after we'd gone out to see a movie on a double date with our good friends, Darren and Mary, who were juniors, we drove over to Holiday Park and parked in a secluded area, out of site of the road. Darren and Mary started going at it in the front seat, leaving Barry and me pretty much to ourselves. Barry just looked at me with those adorable big brown eyes of his and my heart melted.

"You don't have to do anythin' you don't want to, you know," he said to me. Such a gentleman!

"We'll take it slow, Barry, but we don't exactly get much time alone together." I replied. "Let's make tonight special . . . at least as much as we can when sharing a car with another couple," I said with a giggle.

I could see Barry blushing in the dim lights that lit the park, and then he slowly leaned in and our lips met. His lips were so soft, and yet - firm. I opened my mouth to him and his tongue hungrily entered, gyrating slowly and sensuously against mine. My heart raced so hard, I thought it would beat its way out of my chest!

I started to rub my hand up and down his abdomen and chest, enjoying the sensation of his taught muscles under my delicate hands. I pulled away from his mouth and looked into his eyes, as I tugged up on the hem of his shirt.

"May I please?" I asked. "I know we can't do much more tonight, and maybe I'm not really ready to do more, but I'd really like to see your sexy body tonight."

A smile crept over Barry's face as he pulled his shirt tail from his pants. I reached for the hem and he lifted his arms up, allowing me to pull his shirt up and over his head. He had the most beautiful chest! I stared at it in awe. Slowly, I lay my head down on his chest and placed my hand firmly on his right pectoral, kneading it slowly with my left hand. I took my thumb and grazed his nipple. He gasped when I did that. He gasped! I was exciting him!

I kissed his chest as I let my hand wander lower down onto his abdomen. I rubbed his abdomen in a circular motion as I kissed and licked his chest and nipples, causing him to shiver. I could see that his pants were tented and so I took a big chance - I couldn't help myself. I reached down and grabbed him, and he moaned. He moaned!

Holding onto his hardness, I looked up into his face, into those beautiful brown eyes, and I raised my eyebrows, silently asking him the question. Barry was speechless - all he could do was to nod. Taking that as his ascent, I took both hands and unbuckled his belt, then unbuttoned his pants and unzipped them. I carefully pulled the elastic of his boxers down over his hardness, exposing it to me for the first time. He was magnificent!

I took him firmly in my hands and stroked him slowly and lovingly. He was so hard, and yet - silky smooth. I loved his feel in my hand, but I wanted more. Slowly, I lowered my head down to his crotch and I licked his crown, tasting him for the first time. I loved the texture. I knew what it should feel like, but it was so different than what I was expecting as it slid across my tongue.

I open my mouth and gradually took more and more of him into my mouth, sucking on him greedily, enjoying every sensation that was new to me. I let my tongue playfully tease the slit and the underside. Eventually, I felt the tip enter the back of my throat. I nearly gagged on it, but this was Barry, and I was determined to please him. I focused on relaxing my throat and before long I had his entire length in me. Wow!

I began to bob up and down, sucking on his manhood as I used my tongue to tease the tenderest parts of his shaft. Slowly I picked up the pace as I sensed his increasing arousal. I could hear his breathing coming more rapidly and I felt his balls start to draw up tight. I knew that he was getting close and I felt him reach for my hair to try to pull me away, but I was having none of that! I knew a lot of other girls might be grossed out by the thought of it, but I wasn't most other girls. It may not be lady like, but I was determined to give my man all the pleasure I could. And I wanted to taste all of him.

 I heard him moan quietly as I firmly planted my lips around his shaft and hung on for all I was worth as I felt his hot seed hit the back of my throat. Jet after jet landed in my mouth and throat before he trailed off to a mere dribble. It tasted kinda sweet, but salty. The texture was slimy - a bit like raw egg whites, but globbier, if there's such a word.*

And as I tasted Barry's jizz and felt it sliding down my throat, the memories started flooding back. The memories of the dark times. Suddenly, I felt sick.

"Wow, Carrie. That was . . . that was . . . I don't know what that was, but it was fantastic! How did you ever learn to do that?"

I tried to smile back at him, but it wasn't working and I saw the look of concern on his face. "Are you alright?" he asked me, always the thoughtful one.

I nodded my head, but the queasiness in my stomach spoke otherwise. I tried to disengage myself from my past, but it wasn't working. I could still taste his semen on my tongue and it reminded me so much of what had happened to me in middle school.

Oh my God! How could I help myself, now that I'd fallen in love? Barry was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Somehow, I had to keep up the charade. I had to pull myself together. There was no way Barry could ever know!

"I'm sorry, Barry," I said quietly. "I'm sorry, but this is all new to me."

"You didn't have to swallow, you know," he said.

"Yes I did," I replied. "I really wanted to. Actually, I think I liked it . . . it's just not what I was expecting . . . that's all. I'll probably get used to it in time."

"But like I said, you can pull off at the end. Really, you can. I won't make you do anythin' you don't like."

"Seriously, Barry, I did like it," I reassured him.

"Really?" he asked. "That was amazin'. You're one incredible girl. If I haven't said it before, let me say it again. I love you Carrie, and I always want to be with you."

That was one special night, let me tell you, but it was only the first of a series of cracks in the armor of the life I'd built for myself, living here in the shadows, safely hidden away from my secret past. Little did I know when I experienced my first flashbacks after giving Barry a blowjob that I'd start having nightmares in my sleep.

They started that night, when I dreamt that Barry and I were in school together and we walked into the Boys' restroom together, hand in hand. We walked up to an adjacent pair of urinals and we both whipped out our dicks. Can you believe that? I actually had a dick in my dream. I could even feel it. Anyway, we zipped up and when I turned around, there were a bunch of boys surrounding us, taunting me and saying things like, "queer boy" and "sissy boy" and "fag boy", just like they used to taunt my brother in middle school, and when I turned back to look at Barry, he was taunting me, too. Then they all dragged me over to one of the toilets and dunked my head under water. I was drowning . . . and then I woke up!

The nightmares continued almost every other night after that, but there were other things, too. Twice at school, I went into the boys' restroom by mistake. Talk about embarrassing! What was wrong with me? I was a girl God Damn it. I knew that. Why were these things happening to me? I was a nervous wreck.

Even Barry started to notice and asked me what was wrong. I reassured him that nothing was wrong, but he clearly didn't believe it. However that didn't stop him from asking me to the school's Valentine's dance,

Because Valentine's Day itself was on a Thursday this year, the dance was held on Friday, February 15. It was held in the school gymnasium. All-in-all, I think they did a great job of redecorating the place. There were red streamers everywhere and little red hearts and little cupids. It might not have exactly been romantic, but it was nice.

Barry and I were having a wonderful time sitting with all our friends from the GSA and mingling with our friends from outside the GSA, too. We danced several fast dances and a few slow dances. I was in girl heaven.

Then I got careless. I started to think I could hide in the shadows and the past would stay in the past.

As Barry and I danced closely to the slow melody that was playing, I allowed the physical attraction to get the better of me. I knew I was in love with Barry, but I also found him to be very sexy and I wanted him more than anything. I was pretty sure he felt the same way about me, and I certainly could feel the evidence as he pressed himself tightly against my thigh, the feeling of his hardness sending shivers up my spine.

I thought my daemons couldn't find me here, but I was wrong.

I knew I was hiding a deep dark secret. Only my guidance councilor and the principal knew about it, and of course my parents knew, but I kept my secret from my friends and as far as anyone knew, I was an ordinary girl who'd moved into the district at the start of the school year.

A few people remembered my gay brother from middle school and I'm sure they wondered where I'd been all the years before and what had happened to my brother. I'd gotten pretty good at changing the subject, and when that didn't work, I deflected attention by saying that after all the problems he'd had last year, my brother now lived with our aunt in California. Truth be told, although we do have an aunt in California, we haven't seen her since we were born.

If anyone asked about me and where I'd been before this year, I told them I was adopted. It wasn't exactly the truth, but it might as well have been. In a sense, I'd been reborn and I'd almost convinced myself I had been adopted. I'd buried my past when I changed my identity. I was a new girl.

When you're living a lie, however, you have to do things to keep the truth hidden. To the world, you're an ordinary person living an ordinary life, when in reality you're living in shadows, shielding everyone from your secret and always living in fear. I was convinced that the lie I'd created with my parents' blessing was better than the truth I'd experience in middle school - that my brother had experienced in middle school, but the fa├žade I'd created in the shadows was an imperfect one. The shadows I'd hidden behind were always in danger of being exposed by the light of day.

If I'd been a boy, I'm sure Barry would have felt me, too, but because I was a girl, there was no way he could feel my arousal. He simply couldn't. I'd taken precautions.

But then Barry did something unexpected.

I guess he'd been taking dancing lessons or something, because, he suddenly twirled me around him and brought me back into him tightly and forcefully. That brought my pelvis into close and hard contact with his thigh and even with the girdle I was wearing, there was no way to hide my excitement from him. Suddenly, his eyes flew open wide as he realized what he'd felt.

"You . . . you're a . . ."

"No, Barry, no, I'm not," I said with tears in my eyes. "Please, don't say it out loud."

"But I know what I felt. You have a . . ."

"No, Barry. Please!" I pleaded with him as I started to break down in tears. "You don't know what I went through last year."

"No, I don't, but I heard a lot about what your brother went through," he said with surprising tenderness in his voice. "C'mon, Carrie, let's get out'a here," he said as he guided me to the door. "We need to talk," he said. "How 'bout the Starbucks in Nora Plaza?"

"OK," was all I could say.

We bundled up and headed out. It was a bit of a walk - about a half-mile in sub-freezing temperatures - but we needed the time to collect our thoughts, to cool down, figuratively as well as literally, and to prepare ourselves for what lay ahead. The cold air was refreshing as we walked together in silence.

When we got there, Barry ordered a vente caramel macchiato - he obviously planned to be up for a while, and I ordered a skinny grande cappuccino. Barry paid for both our drinks - always the gentleman.

"So," Barry began, "you're a guy."

"Barry, physically, anatomically, I have all the same parts that make you a boy," I said, once again on the verge of tears.

"An' there never was a brother, was there? That was you, wasn't it?"

Unable to hold back the tears any more, I said, "You don't know what it was like, Barry. You didn't go to my middle school. I was always picked on in elementary school for being a sissy, but in middle school, the teasing was relentless. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't act like boys are supposed to act. I even squeal like a girl." Then I told him what had happened in middle school:

I could still see the boys taunting me, pulling me into the boys' room, forcing my head underwater in the toilets until I nearly drowned, and then forcing me to suck them off. Try as I might to think of myself as a virgin, I knew I wasn't, even if my past wasn't one I'd lived by choice, and it made me feel so dirty.

But that was a past I was bound and determined to tell no one about. That was a past that didn't exist as far as I was concerned. It was a past I'd left behind, even as I hid in the shadows where it could never find me. Surely it could never find me here, I'd told myself a couple dozen times already since the school year had started.

My life in middle school had been horrible. There was no other way to describe it. Every day I awoke to a living nightmare. The teasing was merciless and the pranks grew worse and worse by the week. By the end of eighth grade, I'd been in and out of mental institutions three times already - that's how bad it was. Twice I'd tried to kill myself, the last time nearly succeeding.

Clearly, something had to be done. My parents wanted to move away. They just wanted me to be happy, but I knew that my problems would just follow me wherever we went. They suggested private school, but I knew that wouldn't work, either. Snobby rich kids can be just as cruel as everyone else. No, I had to make a clean break with the past. It was my psychiatrist that suggested it, and when she did, I embraced the idea. It was a chance to start over.

My parents were reluctant at first and the principal at the high school threw a fit, but with a very strong letter from my psychiatrist, he eventually caved in. He let me register under a new identity under one condition - that I not do what I'd effectively done with Barry. Carrie was my new identity.

I ended my story with, ". . . for all intents and purposes, I act like a girl in every way. I probably should have been born a girl."

"So why not have a sex change operation?" Barry asked.

"For one thing, I'm not old enough," I answered stifling the tears. "You have to be at least eighteen to qualify, but not only that, your body has to have completely finished maturing. If there's any evidence that your body's still growing, you have to wait. Most guys can't do it until they're in their twenties.

"But I don't want a sex change operation," I explained nervously. "I'm not a transsexual, I'm transgendered. I like dressing like a girl and acting like a girl, but sexually, I'm a gay boy. No doubt about it. I like my equipment just the way it is, thank you, and sure as hell don't want it cut off. Actually, they don't cut it off . . . they turn it inside out, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that I want to be a girl in public, but a boy in private."

"Sounds like you want it both ways," Barry said with some sadness in his voice.

"I'm sorry, Barry," I replied. "I promised the principal that my dressing as a girl would only be so I could fit in with the other kids at school. I gave him my word I wouldn't try to seduce straight boys . . . that I would only go out with other gay boys. I guess I broke my promise, huh?"

"You did more than that, Carrie, or whatever your real name is. You crushed my heart. I loved you. I still love you, which is why I didn't out you in the dance . . . but I'm straight. I can't love you the way you want me to. What you did to me was the worst thin' you can do to a guy. Don't get me wrong . . . I don't have anythin' against gay guys. Hell my brother's gay an' he's my best friend in the world. But you hurt me. You hurt me real deep. I don't know if I can ever forgive you for that."

Starting to cry again, I said, "I know, Barry. I love you more than I can say, and it pains me greatly to see you in such pain. If you can't forgive me, at least find it in your heart to remain a friend. Can you at least do that much?"

"No, Carrie, I don't think I can. Maybe someday, but not now. I care 'bout you too much and it hurts too much for me to be your friend just yet.

"But Carrie, you can't do this again. It'd be wrong to do this to another straight guy. There's no way you can keep this up through the rest of high school. You need to find a way to come out to people like Dave and Jeremy . . . people who can help you to find a gay boyfriend."

"After what happened to me in middle school," I said, "I don't know if I can trust anyone. I like my life as a girl. I like my life in the shadows where no one knows what a fuck-up I really am."

"You're not a fuck-up," Barry said to me very gently. "For you, bein' transgendered is perfectly normal."

"That may be, but other kids don't see it that way," I sobbed. "Middle school really was hell for me. All the kids taunted me. Bullies used to drag me into the boys' room and dunk my head in the toilets until I nearly passed out. Then they threatened to really drown me the next time unless I sucked them off. That's why I got so sick after I gave you a blowjob that time. Barry, it wasn't that I didn't like it . . . it's that it brought back all those memories . . ."

"Carrie, did you tell anyone about what happened to you?" Barry asked.

"No, I told my parents about the bullying, but I never told anyone all of the details."

"Carrie, those boys raped you. What they did was sexual assault. They should have gone to jail for what they did. Or at least to Juvenile Hall. That they got away with it, makes me sick," he said.

"But don't you see, it would have been that much worse for me if everyone knew what had happened to me. At least this way, I kept my dignity. At least that's something."

"Yeah, and then you ended up in, what, the witness protection program?" he joked. "So you have a new identity as a girl and no one's the wiser for it?"

"But I'm a lot happier living my life as a girl. People accept me as a girl. It's so much easier living my life as a girl in high school. I've got a doctor's excuse to get out of gym class, so no one ever sees me naked, and the stalls in the girls' restrooms have real doors, not like those in the boys' rooms, so I'm safe from being exposed there. It really does work out better this way," I explained.

"Except when it comes to findin' the right kind of boyfriend," Barry said with that cute half-smile of his.

"Yeah, well there is that. . . ."

"You're just too pretty for the gay boys to notice you, and the boys that do notice are all straight like me."

"It's the story of my life," I sighed. "When I'm older, I'll be able to walk into a gay bar and there'll be plenty of guys who'll actually find a guy in drag to be a turn-on. But no-one is going to take a fourteen-year-old boy in drag seriously unless they think I'm turning tricks."

"That's ridiculous, Carrie. Then they don't know the sweet person you really are," Barry said. "You need to learn how to come out from behind your shadows . . . to learn to trust the right people. I know it'll be hard, but it's the only way."

Barry then went on to say, "You know, I'll bet there's a freshman or sophomore jock around here who's desperately trying to convince themselves they're straight or who's closeted, who'd really be thrilled to have a chick with a dick for a girlfriend."

I was sipping my cappuccino when he said that, and it went up and out my nose. "Barry!" I couldn't help but giggle. It was too funny.

"Seriously," Barry continued with a smile, "My brother's on junior varsity football and his boyfriend's on varsity. David and Jeremy play soccer, and Jeremy's one of the top swimmers in the state. They know a lot of the guys on the basketball and other teams, too. Maybe they can find someone for you. Someone you can trust."

"I don't know, Barry. It's an awfully big risk," I said.

"Do you trust me?" he asked.

"With my life," I answered honestly.

We finished our drinks and Barry called his foster parents to come pick us up and take us home.

I continued to see Barry in school after that, but it wasn't the same. Although we ate lunch at the same table along with David and Jeremy, it was clear to everyone that we'd broken up with each other. We were still cordial, and when we were alone in the hallways, he assured me he was still working on "our little project," but I knew it was pretty much hopeless. I was never going to find a gay boyfriend so long as I dressed as a girl, and I sure as Hell couldn't risk falling in love with a straight boy again. And truth be told, I still loved Barry.

No, the situation was pretty much hopeless once again, and I became ever more and more despondent. And as I became more depressed, my nightmares become more and more frequent. Every night I dreamt I was beaten and raped. I woke up each morning in a panic with the sheets soaking wet. I just couldn't go on this way. I had pretty much decided that I couldn't do this any more - that I would have to stop hiding in the shadows.

Then Barry asked me something one day out of the blue at lunch.

"Carrie, my brother was tellin' me about a party he thought you and I might be interested in goin' to, even though we're not together any more. It's mainly for the jocks, but they've invited a lot of their friends and he thought we might enjoy it.

"Every year, the coaches get together to throw a party for St. Patrick's Day at school. They've been doin' it ever since an incident a long time ago when a bunch of football players got drunk an' smashed up their van and got themselves killed. The party's alcohol-free with non-alcoholic green beer an' the like. It should be fun!"

"Barry, are you asking me out on a date?" I asked with a noticeable tremble in my voice.

"Well, just to go to the party."

And that's when I knew. Barry had kept his word, and he had a reason he wanted me to go. It might be a false hope, but it was better than no hope at all, and if I was thinking of stepping out from the shadows, or worse yet, killing myself as I'd thought of doing twice before, I had very little to lose.

The party was a rather raucous affair with Irish tunes and dancing. It wasn't really my thing, but that didn't really matter in the long run. I got to meet a lot of people and discovered that a lot of jocks don't really fit the traditional stereotype. And there was one in particular . . .

Lyle was special. I knew it right away. He was soft-spoken and a little shy. And he had the sweetest smile I think I'd ever seen on a boy. His eyes were the deepest shade of blue. They were almost a deep turquoise blue. I could have gotten lost staring into his eyes. What am I saying? I did get lost staring into those eyes. The moment I made eye contact with him, I knew I was lost. What was I doing, falling in love with another straight boy? Moreover - a jock!

Well, I assumed he was straight. He certainly didn't impress me as being anything other than 100% USDA Grade AA prime certified straight hunk. He was so tall, too. He had to be at least six-and-a-half feet, at least that's what he looked like to me. He had the most beautiful dark blond hair and his skin was flawlessly clear. He was just beautiful.

What really won me over was his personality. He was so gentle, and so intelligent! He was so different than all the other jocks. But I couldn't do this again. I'd promised Barry I wouldn't, and more importantly, I'd promised myself.

We'd spent most of the evening together and as the party started to wind down and it became clear that Lyle had more than a passing interest in me.

Finally, I told him, "Lyle, I really like you a lot. . . ."

"I like you a lot, too, Carrie. You're beautiful, you're smart, you have a great sense of humor and you're a lot of fun to be around. I'd really like to get to know you better," he said.

"But there's a lot you don't know about me. . . ."

"And there's a lot you don't know about me," he answered, "but I'm really glad Will Smith pointed me in your direction."

"He did?" I asked, astonished.

"Yeah, I guess you used to date his brother," Lyle explained. "In any case, I really do like you a lot, but there's a lot we need to talk about, and it wouldn't be fair to you if I didn't tell you some things about me up front. How about we go some place more private?" he asked me.

"Fine with me." I answered.

Lyle flashed me a perfect set of the most beautiful white teeth. "I just got my license last week. I'll go get my car . . . actually, it's my mom's car . . . and I'll meet you back at the side entrance in just a few."

Lyle must have run, because he showed up in a white Camry not more than three minutes later. Just like Barry, he was a perfect gentleman, as he got out of the car and opened the door for me. We drove up to the Starbucks nearby - the very same one I'd been to a month before with Barry.

We ordered our drinks and then sat at a small table back in the corner. The place was packed and noisy, giving us plenty of privacy since we could barely hear ourselves over the din, let alone hear anyone else.

"Carrie," Lyle began, "I really like you and I think we can be good friends, but that's all we can be. It really wouldn't be fair for me to let you believe we can be more than that, as much as I'd love to have all my jock buddies believe I had a beautiful girlfriend like you. I could never lead you on like that. I . . . I care about you too much to do that."

"I feel exactly the same way, actually, but I have my own reasons. Lyle, what exactly do you mean?"

"Now you really have me confused!" Lyle couldn't help but offer in return. "Carrie, I have to trust you. You see, Will figured out my darkest secret. Something so big, he could really hurt me with it. But Will's not like that. He could never hurt anyone, and I don't think you would either.

"Will and his boyfriend are comfortable in who they are. They're good guys, and everyone respects them, and no one gives them a hard time about being gay and all. They're gay jocks and they're cool. We all accept them, but at the end of the day, everyone knows that football for them is nothing more than a hobby.

"College ball and pro ball are a different matter. Basketball is my life, Carrie. I'm not just good, Carrie. I'm really good. I'm not just saying that. Coach says I could go all the way, but probably not . . . if I'm gay." Lyle swallowed hard as he said that and let it sink in, and it slowly dawned on me just what he was saying. Slowly, a smile crept across my face.

"What is it, Carrie?" Lyle asked - his brow furrowed "I'm not kidding. Why are you smiling? Did you understand what I said?"

"Oh, I understand you all right. I heard you loud and clear, which is why I think we're perfect for each other. Before I explain though, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my brother, 'cause it explains a lot about why I'd still like to go out with you." Then I proceeded to tell Lyle the story about my gay brother, including about how he'd been raped, and how he'd attempted suicide.

"That's horrible!" Lyle said. "It must have been so hard on all of you, knowing what your brother went through. And to think you almost lost him, not just once, but twice."

"It was awful, which is why we all knew something drastic had to be done," I continued the story. "His psychiatrist thought he needed a fresh start, and my parents agreed. We ended up telling everyone that he moved to California and is now living with our aunt, even though we haven't even seen her since I was born. The truth of the matter is, my brother is transgendered. Do you know what that means?"

"Isn't that something like being a drag queen?" Lyle asked.

"Very good," I answered. "My brother is gay, he's very much a boy, but he feels much more comfortable dressing up and acting like a girl. His psychiatrist thought the best thing for him would be to change his name and his identity to that of a girl and to enroll in high school as a girl, giving himself a fresh start. He'd be more accepted as a girl than he ever was as a boy."

"So your brother's still here?" Lyle asked. Then he got a strange expression on his face. "Wait a minute . . . You understand it all . . . so well . . . but . . . what?"

"Isn't it kinda' obvious?" I asked with a coy grin.

"You mean . . . you're him?"

"As Barry put it, a chick with a dick," I answered.

"And that's why the two of you broke up! No wonder!"

"I'm not proud of that." I admitted. "In fact, one of the promises I made when the principal agreed to enrolling me as a girl was that I wouldn't use my new identity to try to seduce straight boys. I never intended to seduce Barry. When his brother got outed, he started eating lunch with Dave Reynolds and Jeremy Kimball, whom I already ate lunch with. I never expected to fall in love with him. . . . it just happened. That's why I have to be straight with you from the start."

"So here we are," Lyle said, "a closeted basketball jock . . . and a high school drag queen. . . . I guess we really are perfect for each other. But we really do have to hide our secrets. We can never be found out . . . not in a million years."

"Honey," I replied in my girliest voice, "I already told you, right now I'm much more comfortable being a girl than a boy. You have nothing to fear from me, and with my past history, I have every bit as much to lose as you do. I'm registered in school as a girl. I walk, talk and act like a girl and unless someone tries to strip-search me, there's no way anyone's going to find out. But let me tell you, when it comes to the bedroom, I'm all boy." I said as I arched my eyebrows.

"Now that," he said, "is definitely something I'd like to check out first hand."

I don't know what got into me, as I'd never felt so confident or forward in my life, but I responded, "There's a lot more to check out than my hands, I can assure you."

That really broke Lyle up and he couldn't stop laughing. We had a great time that night, and on many nights after that . . . some of them lasting all night.

There'll always be a special place in my heart for Barry Smith. He was my first love and I think I was his first love, too, but we fell in love under false pretenses and it was a mistake. We're still good friends and have lunch together when we can with David and Jeremy.

On the other hand, with Lyle, everything's perfect. To the outside world, we're the perfect hetero couple, secretly living our lives in the shadows. It's only in the bedroom that we can come out from behind the shadows and live the lives we were meant to, free from the prejudices of the outside world.

Someday, I know in my heart that the two worlds will come together and we'll be able to live our lives openly in broad daylight. In the meantime, I can take solace in the fact that were it not for the world the way it is . . . were it not for the shadows we have to hide behind, Lyle and I would probably have never found each other. Thank heaven our shadows - they have a silver lining.

*CAUTION TO ALL READERS: In performing oral sex without the use of a barrier device such as a condom or a dental dam, and in particular when Carrie swallowed Barry's semen, she put herself at risk for potential exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. A number of STD's can be transmitted in this manner in addition to HIV, including Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, Chancroid, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV), and Urethritis. Although everyone worries about HIV, several of the others on the list are also incurable. Hepatitis C, for example, can be just as lethal. Frankly, I don't think anyone should want to contract any of these STD's. If you're sexually active and not in a long-term monogamous relationship, you really must pick up a pack of your favorite-flavored condoms, USE THEM and play it safe!

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing and Trab in proofreading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey's World for hosting them.

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