Legal Notice:

The following contains descriptions of mild sexual acts between consenting underage boys. It is an original work of fiction and has no basis in reality.

Do not read this story if:

1) You're not 18 or over.
2) If it is illegal to read this type of material where you live.
3) If you don't want to read about gay/bisexual people in love or having sex.

The author retains copyright (2003) to this story.  Reproducing this story for distribution without the author's permission is a violation of that copyright.

Perry and Jesse:  The Incredibly Romantic (and slightly kinky) Adventures of Two Boys In Love   

Part I  First Encounters

Chapter 6  Deep Talk

Having somewhat regained my composure, I nodded earnestly.  “I’d really like to sit down and talk,” I said, apprehension creeping into my voice as all my confused and conflicted feelings started welling up, along with the very real fear that I might have upset or disappointed Jesse somehow.  “I think we should do this downstairs,” I suggested somewhat desperately.  “If we stay up here, I’m just not sure...”  My voice trailed off, but I was sure Jesse took my meaning.

“That’s cool,” he agreed.  “I'm really thirsty!”

“Me too,” I said, feeling a bit relieved that Jesse was willing to go along with my plan.  Jesse started for the door.

“Hold it!” I called out.

Jesse stopped and turned his head quizzically.

“You’ve got to get dressed, dude,” I pleaded.  Even though it must have sounded like a joke, I was actually very serious and I think my face showed it.

“Oh, hehehe,” Jesse blushed.  “I guess I forgot...”  Jesse went to the bed and picked his jeans up off the floor.  He stepped into them, leaning a little on the bed for support.  He left the T-shirt I had lent him untucked, and stood looking at me with a boyish smile on his beautiful face.  “Okay?” he asked, with exaggerated forbearance.

I was determined not to succumb to my physical desires and urges until at least after I had spoken my piece.  But  seeing Jesse standing there in that brilliantly colored T-shirt ,  those tight  sexy jeans,  and bare feet, was like something out of my deepest fantasies.  “You’d better put your shoes and socks back on” I suggested drearily.   That sounded just plain weird coming out of my mouth!

“Uh...okay...” Jesse said, obviously puzzled by my request.  I’d have to tell him about my little foot fetish--that is, if he hadn’t figured it out by now.   While Jesse sat on the edge of my bed and tugged his socks back on, I stuffed my slightly damp sock feet  into my still tied Sketchers, wriggling my feet around until my heels slipped all the way in.

“My shoes are downstairs,” he reminded me, and then, with a completely sober look on his face, added, “I could throw a towel over my head too, if that’ll help.” 

“I’m sorry, dude--really I am.  It’s just that every part of you turns me on so much...I just want us to be able to talk without distractions.”

”Oh, so now I’m a fucking distraction?” he teased.

“The ultimate!” I affirmed, and headed down the stairs, my sneakers thumping heavily on the thinly carpeted boards.  I could only feel the light impact of Jesse’s socked feet on the stairs as he silently followed me down.

“You want a Coke?” I asked, while Jesse went to gather up his shoes.

“Sounds good,” he said, sitting on the edge of the den sofa and plopping his footwear down on the floor in front of him.

Was I crazy?  Had I actually insisted  that Jesse put his shoes and socks back on?   I loved Jesse’s feet!  I loved looking at them, I loved smelling them, I loved worshipping them.  But that  was the problem.  I couldn’t concentrate, knowing that he was barefoot.  I had definitely done the right thing, I assured myself.  And then I had another thought...

I popped my head out of the kitchen, clutching an ice cold can of Coke in each hand.

“You wanna sit outside?” I asked, trying desperately not to watch too closely as Jesse slipped his still tied sneakers on.  He used his thumb as a makeshift shoehorn, allowing his sock foot to slip in without trampling the back of the shoe’s heel --a bad habit that I had, ultimately resulting in the backs of  my shoes ending up looking rather...well...shoddy.  

Jesse actually seemed a little taken aback by my suggestion and looked at me with puzzled concern.  I realized that he was probably picturing us sitting on the curb in front of the house, spilling out our innermost secrets for the whole neighborhood to hear.

“I meant in the backyard, silly,” I explained with a giggle.

“Sure, why not?” Jesse said, getting to his feet.  “I could use some fresh air.”  He seemed happy despite all the mixed signals I had been sending him all afternoon.  I had told him I really truly loved him, but I had also resisted the opportunity to see--and maybe touch-- his most private parts even though he had seemed more than willing.  I had made him take off his clothes while I kept my pants on the whole time.  I had tricked him into letting me see his ass, only to then demand that he put all his clothes back on again.  Poor kid, he must think I was a real piece of work by now.  I felt a tightness in my stomach, worrying about how Jesse would take the things I was going to say, or at least try  to say.

We went out through the sliding door in the den.  You could also go out through the French doors in the dining room, but we used that about as much as we used the livingroom.

There was an extended eave that hung over the cement patio that ran along the back of the house.  Beyond that was the empty pool--well not really empty--it was littered with bags of cement, tubs of some kind of coating or chemicals, and tools.  Boxes of unopened tiles were lined up along the outside of the pool.  Beyond that was a small grassy area, and then some large shrubs that grew next to the brick wall which separated our yard from our neighbors.  To the sides were my mom’s flower gardens.  They were sort of like her hobby, or maybe even some kind of therapy.  She loved pruning the rose bushes, and also weeding, watering, fertilizing, and planting her flowers.  There were Cosmos, Dahlias, Daisies, and Begonias.  Rows of Azaleas and Camellias, neither of which were quite in season just now, lined either side of our property.  Even the side of the garage was covered with vines and beds of colorful Marigolds and Petunias.

“What as awesome backyard!” Jesse exclaimed as we stepped out into the warm afternoon air.  He took a deep breath, taking in the perfumes of all the various flowers.  Today it seemed like Jasmine was the predominant scent.  Normally, I found its perfume sweet and cloying, but today--it kinda smelled okay.

“The pool’s supposed to be done by Thanksgiving--just in time for the cold weather,” I said sarcastically.

“I can wait until Spring if you can!” Jesse smiled with a wink.

I’m going to get you a pair of those tight little Speedos for Christmas!” I promised him (Whoa!  Was that gay or what?!).  I sat down at the brightly tiled Arte style table my mom had discovered on a trip across the border.  It was bigger than the average picnic table and came with a set of beautifully carved wooden chairs.  It was my job to cover it with a big plastic tarp every time my mom thought it might rain.  Thank goodness, this was  southern California and it hardly ever rained!

Jesse kept looking around for several more minutes, taking it all in.  He had a big smile on his face and looked like a bright eyed little kid seeing Disneyland for the first time.  I just waited, trying to relax, to gather my thoughts into some sort of order.

“It’s really very cool,” Jesse said softly as he finished looking around.  Finally, he took a seat across the table from me.  We both sipped our Cokes for a minute in silence.  Now it was time to be serious--or so I thought...  For some reason, the picture of us lying on my bed with Jesse ferociously jamming his groin into mine popped into my head unbidden.  At first, I just smiled--and Jesse smiled back.  Then I started to snicker, and Jesse giggled a little too, even though he had no idea what was going through my head.  He was just enjoying my silliness, and that was cool but…

I broke out in a big burst of uncontrollable laughter.  It was unstoppable!  Jesse laughed too and that got me going even more.  Soon we were both laughing hysterically.  The picture of the two of us in bed had long since evaporated into the late afternoon sunshine but we were still making each other laugh.  I was redfaced and could feel tears spilling from my eyes and snot dripping from my nose.   It was just like that day in the boys’ bathroom at school.  Just when one of us would finally start to calm down, the other one would raise an eyebrow or make a goofy face and then off we’d go again!   This must have lasted a good ten minutes.  I was feeling light headed and giddy, not to mention hoarse.

“What was that all about?” Jesse asked as we finally seemed to tire ourselves out.

I looked at him contemplatively.  I felt like I was totally laughed and cried out for the moment, and I just shook my head in disbelief.

“I think we just discovered another form of orgasm!” I said, intending to make a joke, but Jesse only smiled and nodded.

“You are very wise, my friend,” he proclaimed in an uncanny imitation of Ricardo Montalban.

This started me on another laughing jag, but it ended in a dry coughing fit.  Trying to catch my breath, I looked at the beautiful blonde angel sitting across the table from me, his hair, now dry and loose, blowing lightly in the subtle breeze that would soon start cooling the afternoon into early evening.  Time was mercilessly flying by--it was after four o’clock already!

“I can’t believe we’re here,” I said, my voice filled with genuine awe.  “I can’t believe that you’re sitting with me here in my backyard.  The feelings I have for you are so intense, Jesse.  I want to say so many things to you,  but...” My voice trailed off despondently.

“I know you want to tell me something,” Jesse said seriously.  “I know that you’re worried that you’re going to upset or offend me somehow--but you won’t.  I’ll listen, really listen to whatever you have to say.  Then, maybe I’ll have a thing or two to say...Otherwise, I’m happy just to sit here with you, Perry--honest.”  

I envied Jesse the level of sincerity and confidence he was able to exude.  How he managed to balance that with his impish sense of humor, his shy demeanor, and his impressive martial arts abilities just baffled me.  What an amazing and complex person he was.  It was a wonder that kids--girls and boys alike--weren’t lined up around  the block waiting for a chance just to spend a few minutes with him!  

 I felt my emotions threatening to overcome me once again.  Is this what being in love was all about?  Or was it just being a teenager--your mind having to constantly do battle with both your hormones and your emotions?  To be confused at every turn?  To feel everything so intensely?  I took a deep, deep breath.

“I think...”  The words were right on the tip of my tongue, but just stuck there for what seemed like an eternity.  But I had only to glance briefly into those deep pools of crystal blue that were Jesse’s eyes, to find the strength I needed to take that one last step towards expressing my deepest feelings.  “I...I do love you, Jesse,” I started again.  “After today, I know that for sure.  The feelings are just so strong.  It isn’t just a physical attraction, though God knows you are beautiful beyond words...But it’s my first time!  I’ve never felt this way about anybody before, girl or boy.  I’ve had crushes--secret crushes mostly--on real people and people I’ve just seen in movies or on TV, in the mall, at the airport...”

I suddenly became aware that, once I had gotten the important words out of my mouth, I had started babbling; but Jesse, true to his word, was just listening.  His blue eyes, full of mature intelligence, focused on me to the exclusion of everything else.  But instead of making me feel more self-conscious and nervous, his attention made me relax--well, at least a little bit.  There was such a feeling of trust there.  It was frightening that Jesse was so willing to give himself to me, to physically and emotionally expose himself to me without hardly knowing who I was.  I swallowed the lump in my throat and kept going.

“And that’s one of the things that I’m really concerned about.  You see, some of the people I...I get interested in are boys, but some are girls...” I shook my head, thinking that my words were coming out sounding just plain stupid.  But I could see Jesse wasn’t going to save me by interrupting.  

“I guess what I’m trying to say,” I stammered, “is...I don’t know what I am, or where I stand, or what fucking category I’m supposed to fit in!”  I felt a wave of angry frustration about my own confusion starting to overtake me as it had so often in the last few weeks.   Before Jesse, it had been fairly easy to just brush all these confusing thoughts aside and go on with my day to day life.  I had my mom, I had my  friends, and I had things to do.  But there were times, usually when I had a crush on someone, that the question of sexual identity became important to me.  Was I gay because I jacked off with the image of a cute boy I had seen in the mall that day dancing in my head?  Was I straight because I wanted to see Melissa’s big boobs?

Jesse nodded for the first time since I had started my fragmented ramblings, but he didn’t speak.  He was just indicating that he understood what I was trying to say.  I had pretty much backed myself into a corner now and it was time to say the thing, the thing I actually didn’t want to say, and I felt the tension and anxiety returning.  Jesse, sensing my discomfort, reached a hand across the table and I took it in mine, grasping it tightly.  It felt warm and strong and good.

“Jesse, I don’t know what I am,” I whispered, my voice trembling.  “I think my feelings for you are too strong to be anything but love, real true love, but I don’t know if...if...”

“...If you want to have sex with me,” Jesse finished, and it was a statement of fact, not a question.

I just nodded, my lower lip quivering.  Yet somehow I found the strength to meet his gaze.

Jesse seemed to be contemplating what I just said.  The look on his face was calm and thoughtful.  

“So, what you’re saying,” Jesse said thoughtfully, still holding my hand across the table, “is that you don’t know if you’re gay or not.” Again a statement, not a question.

I was a little shocked to hear Jesse so brazenly state what I couldn’t bring myself to declare.  Again, I nodded, blushing with shame.  How could I insult Jesse like this?  I knew that I loved him, but at the last moment, when Jesse wanted to share himself with me, all I could do was grind at him with my pants on!  

“I’m...I’m...not sure...” I emphasized, feeling shaken and drained.

Jesse nodded.  “That’s okay,” he said quietly, almost soothingly.  “You should never ever do anything you’re not comfortable with.”  He sighed and looked at me guiltily.  “If I  gave you the idea that you needed to do something more than what you did, then I was out of line, and I apologize...I want us to be friends more than anything else in the world...”

“But I do love you, Jesse!” I cried out loud and clear as I sprang from my chair.   If any of the neighbors were in their yards, they’d probably heard me for sure.  Who gave a fuck?   I felt a sudden wave of shame, having Jesse apologize to me for...what?  For being there for me?  For wanting to give me anything and everything I wanted?  “I love you, and yet I’m not able to express that love the way two guys  who really care about each other should,” the words spilled out of me with guilt and shame.

“Your wrong,” Jesse said, calmly, but pointedly.  He slowly walked around the table to my side.  He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my chest.  It took my breath away.  “What you’re talking about isn’t love.  That’s lust and instinct.”  He just cradled me in his arms and I felt a dry sob well up inside me.

“But I love you so much,” I protested defiantly.  “I should want to have sex with you!”

Jesse held me for a few more minutes.  I felt his warm breath on the back of my neck and it soothed me.  I had said what I had dreaded to say, and Jesse was still here...He was still here!  I felt some of my despair turning into hope.

“I would love to have sex with you, Perry,” he whispered lovingly in my ear, “but it isn’t the most important thing...really.  It wouldn’t change my feelings for you one bit...”  His face was so close to mine, that I could tell he was smiling now, even though I was staring at the tabletop.  “Of course, it would mean a lot of lonely hand jobs for me...but would be totally worth it!”

Jesse gave me a peck on the cheek.  The feel of his moist lips touching my skin sent a tingle through me as it always did.  

“Thank you, Jesse, thank you,” I sniffled, my voice choked with emotion as I tried to express my gratitude.  Every minute that passed showed me how much more amazing a person he was.  He squeezed my shoulder, then he went and sat down again on the other side of the table.

“Are we okay, now?” he asked with loving concern.  

I nodded, wiping a few lingering tears from my eyes.  I even managed a weak smile.  I felt like we had accomplished something important.  Even though my thoughts had been clumsily fragmented and emotionally uncontrolled, I had explained myself  as best I could.  And Jesse seemed to understand and accept what I had to say.  I loved him more now, than I had five minutes ago.

“Perry,” he said, the slightest hint of hesitation in his voice, “if you knew how much it means to me, just being here with you, to have you care so much about me...”  His voice choked with emotion and I thought I saw him shudder.  “I don’t deserve you--you should know that,”  he said, looking me briefly in the eye.

I was about to protest vehemently his outrageous statement   Who on this planet could be more blessed than I was at this very moment?  The idea that my beautiful, sweet blonde angel didn’t feel he deserved stupid, clumsy, skinny, boring me, was beyond comprehension.   It was completely out of whack.  But Jesse stopped me with a serious look before I could say anything.

“Maybe I should tell you a little about myself...”

Please!”  I blurted out more forcefully than I intended.  Then a little calmer and quieter, “I want to know everything about you.”

“Hehe, I doubt that,” he said with an uncomfortable grin.  His hands were clenched in front of him and it was obvious that what he was going to tell me was difficult for him.  I felt like holding him again, but I forced myself to sit quietly, just as he had when I had been babbling on and on a few minutes before.

“I guess I’d have to say that I’ve had a pretty messed up life, for the most part,” he said, staring at his tightly folded hands, speaking in a low introspective voice.  “Thank God for my mom and Miranda.  Before I met you, they were all I had in the world...” His voice trailed off and he shook his head, as if irritated by his own self pity.

“I won’t bore you with all the miserable details, but I guess you should know that...”  He stopped and took a deep breath.  I thought he was going to cry, but I could see the discipline he exerted on himself to keep from losing it.  “I never told you about my dad...” he said in a quiet voice, his eyes fixed on the tabletop.  “Well, there’s no subtle way to put it-- he’s in prison,” he finally admitted.

It took me a few seconds to realize what he was saying.  It had sounded so bizarre at first, like something out of a TV show.  Before I could respond, he went on quickly.

“He’s back in Illinois--in Jolliet--like the Blues Brothers!” he laughed emptily.  There seemed to be a mixture of sorrow and shame as he spoke.  “It’s a long story, but he was  pretty fucked up  towards the end,” he explained , gazing fixedly at his folded hands.  “Really fucked up...”  he muttered almost inaudibly.

I hated to admit it, but for a brief moment,  I was suddenly looking at Jesse in a whole other light.  Sure, he was physically attractive, and intelligent and witty, but his father was a criminal for christssake!  I suddenly didn’t know if I should feel sorry for him or get him out of my house as soon as possible.  Jesse seemed oblivious to whatever my reaction might have looked like from the outside.  Like I said, my eyes always seemed to give me away, so I was glad, for once, he wasn’t looking at me.  He went on in that same subdued,  introspective tone.

“He drank a lot and did drugs, and sold drugs to get more drugs...and there was a lot of bad stuff...and finally he got caught...”  He managed to glance up at me for a moment, and I shivered.   I saw that he was trying to gage my reaction to what he had said so far.  I tried to keep my face impassive, although I had nowhere near Jesse’s discipline in that area.  Still, he went on, wringing his folded hands, his eyes mostly looking down.

“My mom finally kicked him out,” Jesse explained.  “They used to fight all the time...”  He swallowed deeply.  “But even after that, he would show up every now and then.  Sometimes he was nice, had a real job, brought gifts for everyone, spent time with us...Other times, it was bad...”  I saw him cringe with the potent memory.

“Anyway, I was eleven when they put him away.”  He paused to try and calm himself.   “He won’t be out for at least ten more years...”  he whispered.  I could see that, despite his strongest effort to hold himself together, he was on the verge of tears.

I couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt for him in the most intense way.  I had admired him so much for the qualities that had attracted him to me, that it  had never occurred to me that, other than not having much money, there could be any big serious problems for such a sweet and beautiful boy.  The implications of what he had just admitted to me were tremendous and totally beyond my sheltered, suburban existence.

“I’m so sorry, Jesse,” I whispered passionately.  I reached out towards his folded hands.  I was startled when he pulled his arms away from me.  I looked at him in surprise.

“Wait...” Jesse said, his voice now quivering.  “Just wait.  I didn’t mean to sound so pathetic--but I think you should know, before...before anything else...”

This was breaking my heart.  Suddenly, my stupid sexual hang-ups seemed incredibly trivial.  Jesse had experienced real pain, real tragedy in his young life.  The least I could do was be the most supportive friend he ever had.

“I was around nine when my mom kicked him out,” Jesse said, his eyes closed, the beginnings of tears welling up from under his long delicate  lashes.  “That’s when I started taking Karate.  I convinced my mom that someone had to protect our family, and she finally agreed.   Somehow she came up with the money...”  His voice drifted off now as he seemed lost in his past history.   “And when the money ran out, there was someone who helped me with my training...”  His face was pale now, and his eyes gleaming with moisture though no tears spilled out yet.  I could tell that he was using everything he had to keep from losing it all together.

“Now,” he said, darting a quick glance my way, “now we get to the interesting part...”    The next look he gave me was full of pain.   “It wasn’t too long after my dad went to prison, that I started to realize that I was attracted to boys.”  He glanced up at me to see how I was taking  this bit of information.  All I could do was nod in encouragement, my eyes bleary with welling tears.  “There was one boy in particular who was in my Karate class, but didn’t go to the same school as me...”

I couldn’t help thinking that he was going to tell me that he had loved this other boy, and I could feel jealousy welling up unbidden.  But that wasn’t being supportive.  I tried to sweep my own feelings aside, and realized that I wasn’t very good at it.  Still, I hung on, listening to Jesse’s story.

“We got along, you know.  We talked about things, he came over to my apartment, I went over to his.  We started to...experiment,” he said, “just kissing and stuff--I used to think that was the coolest thing you could do...”   He shook his head with embarrassment.  And then he looked up at me with such ferocious intensity, that I felt like I had been physically struck.  “But we weren’t in love, Perry--you need to know that!”

I nodded my head weakly in understanding, reeling from his emotional assault.

“That’s all it was, two eleven year old boys, playing around...”  He smiled rather bitterly at the memory.  “Anyway, for whatever unfathomable reason, this other kid told some of his friends about our little...experiments,” Jesse said with quiet intensity.  “And his friends told some of their friends who did go to my school...” His voice was tinged with bitterness and anger.

I felt my heart pounding in my chest.  The drama of Jesse’s story had taken me so completely by surprise.  Our little afternoon of tittering and smooching had suddenly become dark and intense in a way I had never anticipated.  I felt so much sympathy for Jesse, and yet scolded myself at the same time for being so condescending.  Whatever Jesse had been through, he had survived it.  He was strong and brave and smart.  And most of all, he was here, and here of his own choosing.  

“Well, you can probably guess what happened next,” Jesse said with a heavy sigh.  “There were six or seven of them--I can never quite remember--a few from my class, the rest older.   It was already getting dark.  It was the middle of winter and just a few weeks before my twelfth birthday.  I had missed the first bus home and was waiting for the next one, when they came up to me.  Where there had been other kids milling around just a few minutes before, suddenly the streets were empty.  One of them showed me a knife and I was persuaded to step into the nearest alley.”

I wanted to tell Jesse to stop.  I didn’t want to hear how this story turned out.  I just wanted to cover my ears and close my eyes...

“The first thing I did was knock that knife out of the guy’s hand,” Jesse explained in an emotionless tone, making me remember what he had said earlier about hating violence.   “Then all hell broke loose, I guess you’d say.”  Jesse’s moist eyes were open but not focused on anything but his own horrible memories.  “I got knocked around quite a bit, but in the end, I guess I prevailed.  Three of them were lying on the ground like big bags of garbage, and the others took off, cursing at me.”

“Things were never the same after that.  We had to move, but we could only afford apartments in bad neighborhoods:  first in Cicero, and then around the east side, and then back in Evanston.  Lots of bad things happened...”  Jesse paused, gathering the strength he needed to finish his story.  “My Aunt Ruthie in Oceanside, kept trying to persuade her to move out here...But I guess mom couldn’t bring herself to leave the area, with my dad locked away in Jolliet.”  Jesse sighed heavily, the emotional weight of his painful memories affecting him in a physical way.  “By the time I was thirteen, I was starting to get into trouble.  My grades started to go down because I just didn’t see any purpose in trying.   In the schools I went to, they made fun of you if you got ‘A’s all the time.   Also I was in several serious fights in school, and I actually hurt a guy real bad...”  

Oh, Jesse!  I don’t want to hear this!  Please, lets hug and kiss and just forget about all this!  My teeth ached, I was clamping down on them so hard.

“Anyway...” Jesse sighed, his eyes finally coming back into focus.  “We finally did move here.  My aunt’s been real supportive and helped get me into St. Boniface, and then... I met you.”  Finally, there was a weak, but happy smile on his face.  He looked completely exhausted, his face devoid of color.

I longed to see him blush in that cute shy way of his...

“So now you know what a basket case I am,” Jesse said with obvious self loathing.  There was no hint of his previous confidence, no hint of that well honed mental discipline that so impressed me.  It had all washed away when he went down that dark road of his past.  “And if that ain’t enough to send you running screaming into the night,” he said with a sardonic grin that was the farthest thing from cute I had ever seen on Jesse’s face, “I’m pretty sure I’m gay--not that I’ve ever had real sex--but I’m pretty sure…”

There was silence then.  The distant sound of someone mowing the lawn.  The  occasional Doppler effect of a car zooming past the front of the house.  The slight rustle of the trees in the afternoon breeze.  The mindless twittering of the songbirds.  Despite all that, it was dead silent.

When I finally started to emerge from my shocked state (I felt like a bomb had been dropped right on top of my head--it didn’t explode but the impact sure hurt like hell!), I saw that Jesse was sitting across from me with tears streaming down his face.  

He saw me looking at him, and managed a weak smile.  “Don’t feel sorry for me,” he begged between sobs.  “I’ve already cried about all that stupid shit a thousand times...”  He pulled himself together a little and wiped the snot  and tears away with his bare forearm.  “These are tears of joy,” he said, leaning towards me.  “Because I was so lucky to find you!”    

It was my turn to run over to the other side of the table.  I sat and embraced Jesse, pulling him towards me despite his initial resistance.

“Don’t, Perry...” he sobbed, weakly trying to push me away.  “I don’t deserve this...I don’t”

“What the fuck happened to you?” I asked angrily, my warm embrace loosening enough for me to shake his shoulders dramatically.   In truth, I was in agony, feeling such enormous sympathy and pity for this kid that I just wanted to envelop him, shelter him, keep the bad things away, keep him just for myself.  But I didn’t think that was what he needed at the moment and I hoped that I was doing the right thing.

“Where’s the beautiful, confident kid that was here just a few minutes ago? “ I asked, staring him full on in the eyes.

Jesse flinched, tried to turn away, but I held him fast.

“Where’s the guy that can shoot freethrows from thirty feet away?  Where’s the guy who can learn to play a video game in less than half an hour?”

“Don’t, Perry...” Jesse moaned, trying to hide his face behind his arm like a little boy.

“Where’s the guy who stood up to those bullies at the mall and kicked their asses?”

“I got you in trouble!” he insisted.

“You saved me!  You impressed me all to hell!  You keep amazing me!  Every minute I spend with you, I’m just more in awe of you!”

“Don’t admire me, Perry...I’m a sorry mess of a human being, and if you hang around with me, I’ll drag you down with me!”

That was the last straw.  I actually pushed him forcibly away from me, nearly knocking him off the bench.  He looked at me in stunned silence, a few uncontrollable sobs erupting from his inmost being.

“Where’s my best goddamn friend in the whole world?  The boy I love more than anyone or anything else in the world?” I asked desperately, feeling the tears starting to well up in my own eyes.  I don’t think all the tears I’ve shed in the past thirteen years could equal the amount of moisture that streamed from my eyes that afternoon.

Jesse just stared, his eyes once again bloodshot, snot dripping from his nose, his lip quivering.  He looked at me like he didn’t know who I was, and for a moment, I thought for sure that I had gone too far.  He was going to storm out of here and out of my life, maybe after kicking my sorry ass first.  I got ready to apologize, to get on my knees and beg his forgiveness...

And then...A tiny, thin lipped smile.  A bare forearm wiping away the tears and the mucous.  Big blue eyes that glistened like hidden lakes uncorrupted by human interference.  A sob that became a throaty giggle.

“I’m here,” he whispered in the meekest of voices.

I felt a warmth fill my insides like nothing I had  ever felt before.  I felt a thrill that no roller coaster could ever generate.  I felt like I could do magic, like I could run down the block at a hundred miles an hour, my feet barely touching the pavement.

“I’m so glad,” I whispered back in a shaky voice that was overwhelmed with emotion.

We looked at each other for a long time.  My hands went from his shoulders back into a loving embrace.  His warm breath brushed my neck.  I could feel the accelerated beating of his heart.  Finally, we pulled apart, still sitting next to each other, the colors and sounds of the backyard coming back into my awareness.

“But you should know something...” Jesse said quietly, his voice a little course from all the crying he had done this afternoon, both joyful and despairing.

I braced myself for another dreadful secret, ready to be supportive but strong, understanding but not pitying.   I braced myself...

“All those things you just said,  about the confidence, the discipline, the bravery...”  Jesse looked at me in the most sincere way possible.  “Those things came from you!”  He looked serious so I just stared at him, puzzled.

“The real Jesse Taylor is the shy, pitiful kid you saw walk into your class with his head hanging down that first day.”

I shook my head, started to protest.  He put a finger to my lip, silencing me before I could say anything.

“But that first time you showed an interest in me--remember when I was sitting under that tree reading?”

I nodded.  It seemed like much more than three weeks ago now.

“I couldn’t believe it.  Of all the people it could have been, the cutest guy in my new school was asking me to join him for lunch!”

I felt the heat on my face that meant I was blushing deeply.

“The way you introduced me to your friends I was someone that you wanted to have in your little group...”  Jesse swallowed a lump, battling the urge to start crying again.

“I love you, Jesse, with all my heart.”

“I love you, Perry, with all my being.”

We stared at each other, trying to bring our emotions under control.   Slowly, moment by moment, breath by breath, we managed to calm ourselves down.  It felt like we had been through some titanic, epic battle with all the Hordes of Hell, and that somehow, we had prevailed.  The sun had come out again and the birds were singing.

“Jesse...” I said quietly.

“What...?” he asked hesitantly.

“I really, really like your ass!” I said with an absolutely straight face.

Jesse’s eyes opened wide and he smiled, showing his perfect white teeth.  He was already red faced, so it was hard to tell if he was blushing or not.

“If you had looked in the mirror, you would have seen everything,” Jesse noted, part comment, part question.

“I didn’t.  It felt disrespectful somehow...knowing how confused I am...”

“I kinda wish you’d gone for it!” Jesse said with a little chuckle.

“I was so tempted, dude,” I assured him.

We stared at each other again, only this time we were both beaming like we had taken some sort of happy pill.  

“What are you thinking about?” Jesse asked, cautiously.

“Sex,” I stated simply.

“Me too...”

I had the good sense to glance at my watch.  “It’s after five already.  My mom will be back in less than an hour...”

Jesse nodded in understanding.  “I could go for some of that delicious ice water,” he said.  

I nodded and got shakily to my feet.  My God, how tired and drained I felt.  This afternoon seemed to encompass the events of a lifetime.  There were so many things said, so many things done, that it didn’t seem like this could have all taken place in the course of a few short hours.  On the other hand, I was already feeling sad at the thought that this was going to end soon.  I wanted to be with him so badly, I didn’t think I could wait for another day.

The ice water felt good on my throat as we stood in the kitchen, leaning against the counter.  

“I think I need to splash some water on my face,” Jesse said.

“There’s a bathroom over there,” I said, pointing to the open door of the laundry room.

“How many bathrooms do you have?” he asked incredulously.

It was probably intended as a rhetorical question, but I gave him the full rundown as I had heard the real estate agent give it over a year ago.  “Two full baths and a half bath upstairs, and the quarter bath down here...that’s four,” I said apologetically.

“That’s funny.  I thought I was pretty good at math, but that only adds up to two and three quarters in my book!”  Jesse giggled.

“Don’t become a real estate agent!” I advised him.

“I love your house,” Jesse said, and he meant it.  He didn’t sound envious, just happy and appreciative.  He was so cool...

I waited anxiously for him to come out, wondering how we could best make use of the short private time we had left.  “What do you want to do?” I asked.

Jesse looked at me and blushed.  “Hehe, I know what you want!” he said.  And then his smile diminished a little and his face suddenly looked very tired, despite his hair being freshly shampooed and combed, and having just washed the sweat and tears off in the bathroom.

“How about we just chill in front of the TV for a bit?” he asked guiltily, knowing that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” I said, realizing that I was feeling groggy myself.

I set Jesse up in front of the bigscreen in the den and showed him how to work the remote, and then paid a quick visit to the bathroom myself.

When I returned, Jesse had CNN tuned in.  I thought it was a joke.

”What happened?  Remote get stuck?” I asked, plopping down on the pillowy sofa next to him and getting close enough to snuggle.

“I like watching the news,” he said seriously.  “I like to know what's going on...It’s geeky, I know...”  he said sheepishly.  “Whatever you want to watch is fine with me...”  He offered me the remote.

“This is fine,” I assured him, feeling my eyelids starting to get heavy.  I rubbed myself up next to him and he didn’t move away.  It was odd but comforting to smell the scent of my own shampoo in Jesse’s golden locks.

“Cool, because this is a real interesting story about how these Central American boys try to make their way to the United States to escape the unbelievable poverty in their country and all the horrifying things they have to go through...”

As Jesse’s voice got further and further away, I pictured the two of us slashing our way through some tropical jungle, the sounds of wild animals all around us...

Something hurt my eyes!  I woke up completely disoriented.  My vision was blurred.

“That was precious!”  It was my mom, and she was holding the digital camera!  The flash going off had awakened me.

 I looked around in time to see Jesse lifting his head off my shoulder!  OH-MY-GOD!!!!!  What had my mom taken a picture of?!

“Mom!” I tried to cry out angrily, but my voice was hoarse with sleepiness, not to mention from all the crying we had done earlier.  It came out like an anemic frog’s croak.

“I couldn’t resist,” my mom said cheerfully.  “I come in the house and call and no one answers.  Then I come in here and see the two of you sound asleep, Jesse’s head on your shoulder.  It was so sweet!”  

“You could probably get a hundred dollars if you sold it to the school newspaper,” Jesse said groggily.

“Oh, I would never sell this to anyone,” my mom said, taking Jesse’s little joke a bit too seriously.  “This is for me--and maybe your mom will want a copy!”

“Mom!” I groaned again, a little louder.  “Delete that!  It’s embarrassing!”  I pleaded.

“No way!” she said, defensively moving back a pace.  “Now that your awake, let me have a nice one of the two of you,” she insisted.

Barely awake, Jesse and I glanced at each other, and without even a knowing wink, agreed on what to do.

“One...two...three...” my mom counted off.

As the flash went off, Jesse and I contorted our faces in the most hideous ways we could manage!

“Oh, you boys!  You’re so rotten!” my mom chided us.  To my relief, she finally put the camera down.  “Perry, be sure to download those and give a set to Jesse for his mom,” she said.

“,” I groaned.

“Does Jesse want to join us for dinner?  Friday is usually pizza night over here,” she explained.

“Oh, uh..thanks, Mrs. Thompson, but my mom is coming to pick me up at...”  Jesse glanced at his watch.  “In about fifteen minutes!”  We had slept for an hour!

“I hope she’ll stay too.  I’d love to chat with her.  Look at you two--you make such a wonderful pair,” she gushed.  “Perry, your friend has the lovliest eyes!”

Mom!” I groaned yet again, the loudest one yet.    Of course I agreed with her, but I couldn’t let her know that!

“Well, I need to freshen up a bit, and I’ll make a salad,” my mom said, planning outloud as she often did.  “We’ll wait for Jesse’s mom, before we order--there’s a lovely little pizza delivery just a few blocks from here,” she said, now addressing Jesse.  “It’s ten times better than that awful Pizza Hut and Domino’s crap!”

“Mom!”  The last thing you wanted was to hear your own mother swear in front of your friends.  

“Is that all you can say?” she teased.  “Did you boys have fun today?”

I turned to look at Jesse, and saw that he was furiously trying to keep a straight face through all of this.  It almost made me burst out in laughter.

“We just hung out,” I said awkwardly.  “I guess we had fun...”  Like I was going to tell my mom what we had gone through in the last few hours...

“You have a great house, Mrs. Thompson,” Jesse said politely, turning on that charming smile of his.

“And you’re more than welcome to come over anytime,” she said graciously.  “And please call me Tricia, okay?”

Jesse looked down shyly.  “I don’t think I can,” he muttered, obviously embarrassed by my mom’s kindness.

“Well, you should--tell him he should, Perry.”  Then to Jesse:  “You’re such a handsome devil--I bet the girls are going to go gaga over you!”  Before I could even get another groan out, she was stepping back.  “I’ve got to go freshen up before Mrs. Taylor arrives!”  And she was off.

We both breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“I think I slept for an hour!” I whispered excitedly.

Jesse nodded.  “I think I went out just a little after you started snoring!”

I punched him playfully on the shoulder.  I suddenly felt so shy, like I was meeting him again for the first time.  There were so many things to sort out about today.  I felt a little shiver as I remembered Jesse telling me about his father, about his life before he came here...

“Can we see those pictures?” Jesse asked with a bit more than idle curiosity.

“Good idea!”  I said, getting groggily to my feet.  I stretched my arms to get the stiffness out and yawned.

“That’s so cute!  If that’s what you look like when you get up in the morning, then I really need to see that!” Jesse giggled.

“You’re too much, you handsome devil!” I said, imitating my mom’s voice.  I picked up the camera and tried to bring the pictures up, but I guess my brain was still somewhat disconnected, since I kept finding old pictures of the garden and my mom’s church group and everything but me and Jesse.

“I guess I’m still kinda dopey,” I sighed.  “I’ll just download the whole bunch into the computer and they should show up,” I suggested.  I   slowly headed up the stairs, Jesse following behind.

When we got to my room, I was a bit taken aback.  It was not really messy, but it sure looked like something had happened in here!  Jesse’s T-shirt and both our backpacks were on the floor.  The bathroom light was still on.  The maroon comforter on my bed was all mangled up.  I went over to straighten it out before my mom saw.  Jesse gathered up his things and put them in his backpack.

I could dimly hear the shower running in my mom’s room.  I switched on the computer.

“It’ll take a few minutes to boot up,” I explained offhandedly.

“I really need to get one of those,” Jesse said.

“What?” I asked.

“A computer,” Jesse explained.

I couldn’t  believe that Jesse didn’t have a computer!   “Dude, you honestly don’t have a computer?” I asked, even though I knew it must have sounded condescending.  I was just too shocked.

Jesse shrugged and blushed with embarrassment.  “You know, money, hehe...” he muttered.

“Oh man, Jesse!  That sucks!  I mean, really sucks!  You’ve got to have a computer...”  Then I remembered.  “We still have my old one in the garage waiting for the next church rummage sale!  You can have it!”

“Oh, that’s okay...I can use the ones at school...”

“No way!  Those computers are totally lame!”  I insisted.  “The one in the garage, it’s awesome!  It’s in great shape.  It’s just that I wanted a faster one with the DVD drive and all.  Man, we were just going to give that one away!  This is perfect!  You can get on the internet and we can chat whenever we want!”

“Gee...maybe...” Jesse said, obviously tempted.  “I could really use one--does it have a printer?” he asked warily.

“Of course, dude, an awesome one.  You’ve got to take it with you--tonight!”

Jesse shook his head stubbornly.  “No!  Just let me talk to my mom about it--alone, okay?  Trust me, it’s better that way.  She doesn’t like anything that smells of charity...”

I wanted to protest again, but I had pushed enough.  I knew he wanted it, and I wanted to give it to him.  I’d just have to be patient and let him work it out in his own way.  I figured that what he said about his mom not liking to take charity probably held for the son as well.

The computer was finished booting up, so I plugged in the camera and downloaded the pictures.  We waited anxiously as the computer imported about two dozen pictures into the photo software application.  Finally, the two pictures of us came up.

I breathed a little sigh of relief, and I think Jesse relaxed a bit as well.  There we were, sitting on the sofa next to each other, completely zonked out, with my beautiful blonde angel’s head on my shoulder--incredibly cute but seemingly innocuous.  Anyone looking at it would think that Jesse’s head had just fallen there unintentionally--at least, I convinced myself that’s what it looked like.  Nothing too incriminating...  The other picture was hilarious!  Me with my eyes bugging out and my mouth contorted in a weird snarl, Jesse with his eyes crossed and his lower lip pushed up.  

“Well, I wouldn’t want any of the kids at school seeing these,” I said with some relief, “but I guess they could’ve been worse!”

”Yeah, lucky I didn’t fall asleep copping a feel!” Jesse said.

“Did you really?” I asked skeptically.

“Hey, when the cutest, hottest kid in your class just happens to fall asleep right next to you...what’s a guy supposed to do?”  Jesse giggled.

I couldn’t help but blush and feel flattered.  “How was it?” I asked skittishly.

“You must have been having a damn good dream--that’s all I can say!”

I couldn’t tell if Jesse was kidding me or not.  But what if he had ‘copped a feel?’  It didn’t bother me in the least.  I just wished that next time, I was awake for it!

I printed the pictures up just as I heard the shower go off in my mom’s room.  Jesse took one set and slipped them into his math book.  Then his eyes darted around the room and into the hall.  He gestured for me to join him, kneeling next to his backpack.

“Perry,” he whispered, grinning like a pumpkin.  “In case I don’t get to tell you later, I just wanted to say what an incredible time I had today.  It seems like so much happened today, I can hardly sort it all out!”

I nodded in agreement.

“I’m sorry I told you that big sob story about my stupid problems...” Jesse began to apologize, his smile slowly disintegrating.

I put a finger to his lip.  I didn’t want to go there at all, but the more I thought about it, the more profoundly touched I was at how Jesse had opened his heart to me.

“I’ll never forget that you shared that with me,” I said.  “It must have been difficult for you to go back to those days, to share them with someone you hardly know...”

“But I feel like I know you, Perry,” Jesse said, the soft pads of his fingers brushing my cheek.  “I feel like an angel just walked into my life, that day you came to me under the tree...I’ll never forget that.”

He called me an angel!   That sounded so weird--and I certainly never thought of myself as one in any sense of the word.  I guess I just had to accept the fact that Jesse saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.  

We stared at each other with stupid grins on our faces for a good long minute.  Then the doorbell rang.  

“My mom!” Jesse whispered.  He sprang up excitedly.  “I can’t wait for her to meet you!” he said, grabbing me by the hand.

I figured my mom would be in her room for a couple more minutes, so I just held on as he pulled me down the stairs after him.   His touch always energized me, whether it was the grasp of his hand or the moist tenderness of his lips.  We raced across the livingroom to the front door, and it was only as he started to turn the doorknob that he finally released his grip on my hand.

Mrs. Taylor was startled when the door flew open so suddenly.  She was a small woman, petite I guess the word is,  with her  dark blonde hair tied back in a tight bun.  It was hard to tell her age--all adults looked old  to us teens!  But you could immediately tell through the makeup and the accessories that this was a woman who had been through some rough times--and survived to tell about it.  Still, I guessed she was a little older than my mom.  Her face was thin but pleasant, and I could see Jesse’s nose and mouth there.  I think Jesse said she was a receptionist during the day, and her clothes seemed to reflect that--a light pink jacket, white blouse, and a checkered skirt and stockings.  The only thing that looked out of place were the white sneakers on her feet.  I guessed that she probably had to wear heels at the office all day, and changed into these when she got off work.

“Hi, mom!” Jesse said, and to my surprise, he ran up and gave her an enthusiastic hug and a kiss.   It immediately reminded me that I hadn’t hugged my mom like that in a long, long time  and I felt a little guilty.

Suddenly, a tiny, high pitched voice could be heard proclaiming, “I want to see the big house, mommy!’  and from behind Mrs. Taylor came the cutest little girl I had ever seen.  Miranda had the characteristic silky blonde hair of the Taylor clan.  Hers was long and braided into two pig tails that flopped every which way when she moved.   She had her mom’s green eyes and I wondered where Jesse got his crystal blue orbs--maybe they were just God’s gift, or maybe--and I shuddered a little as I had the thought--maybe they were from his dad’s side.  She was wearing a simple paisley frock, frilly white socks, and white tennis shoes.  She went around her mom and stretched up on her tip toes to hug her brother.  It made me wish I had a little sister!

“Hello, Mrs. Taylor.  I’m Perry Thompson,” I said, on my best behavior.  “Won’t you please come in?”

”Oh, it’s lovely to meet you, Perry.  Jesse talks about you all the time--but really, we should get going. ..”

“Oh, I wouldn’t hear of it!” my mom said, coming up behind me.  She had her hair wrapped up in a towel, but was otherwise nicely dressed in a casual peach blouse and jeans.  She reached past me to shake Mrs. Taylor’s hand.

“I’m Tricia Thompson,” she said with a warm smile.

“Arlene Taylor, and this is Miranda,” she said, gesturing to the little girl that was already flitting around the livingroom like a hummingbird, looking in every nook and cranny.  “Miranda, please!” she called  futilely.

“Please won’t you stay--we’re going to order pizza,” my mom persisted.  “We’d love to have you join us.”

“C’mon, mom--I’m starving!” Jesse said, coming through like a true teenager, always thinking with his stomach.

“I think Lilo And Stitch is on HBO tonight,” I added innocently (hehehe).

“Oh, mommy!  That’s the one I want to see!  Oh, please can we stay?” Miranda was bouncing up and down like a kangaroo.

Mrs. Taylor sighed.  I think the idea of having the evening’s meal and entertainment all taken out of her hands for a change was too much of a temptation for her.

“Well, if you really think we won’t be a bother...” she said sincerely.

“Come in and close the door!” my mom insisted.

Miranda instinctively ran to the den and plopped herself down on the sofa, remote already in hand.

“You do have a lovely house!” Mrs. Taylor said with genuine admiration.

My mom was the perfect hostess, mixing drinks for the two of them and filling her in on all the who’s who and what’s what at our school.  I ordered two large pizzas, one with everything (for me and Jesse) and one vegetarian for the mommies.

“I want to watch Lilo And Stitch on the big TV!” Miranda said, kicking off her sneakers and folding her legs up on the sofa.

“Well, you’re in luck,” I said, checking the TV Guide.  “It’s coming on in about fifteen minutes.    In the meantime, how about some Rugrats?” I asked, not being able to help doing anything but smile everytime I looked into that bright little face.  God, little kids were cute!

“I want to watch Rugrats on the big TV!” Miranda insisted.

I left her sitting next to her brother as I went to get us some drinks.  My mom had taken Mrs. Taylor  out into the backyard to show off her gardens, and talk about adult things (gossip) without us young’uns being able to hear.

The pizzas arrived in about half an hour and the three of us ate in the den.  The movie was actually pretty funny most of the time, and when it wasn’t, it quickly moved on to something else so it never got boring.  My mom and Jesse’s mom seemed to be getting along just great.   My mom popped back  into the den to mix a couple more drinks at the wet bar, and then went back to the kitchen counter.  The two of them ate where my mom and I usually took our meals, sitting on the tall bar stools, their conversation sounding a little hushed and serious.  Later, it seemed like their voices were getting more animated.  Maybe it was the wine they were drinking, or maybe they had enough of sharing each other’s pain and had moved on to lighter topics.  I was relieved to hear the occasional sound of laughter, some of it even coming from Mrs. Taylor.  It seemed like they had more in common than not, and I was grateful that they had hit it off so well.

About half way through the movie, Jesse and I left Miranda hypnotized in front of the tube, and snuck back upstairs.

“Your sister is so cute!” I said as we entered my bedroom once again.  I thought about closing the door and then thought that it might look suspicious, so I left it ajar.  We would be able to hear if anyone came up.

We sat on the edge of my bed, holding hands.  I sighed, thinking about the good feelings I had from sitting next to my beautiful angel.  The afternoon scrolled through my mind in a rapid blur.  So many things had happened, so many things had been said.  I cherished every moment, even the sad ones.

“I love you, Jesse,” I said for the umpteenth time that day.

“I love you too, Perry--you’re the best thing that ever happened to me.  I don’t deserve you.”  I could hear the emotion building up in his raspy teenage voice again.  His eyes were moist.

I reached over and kissed him, first on the forehead, then on the cheek, and then on his lips.  We didn’t get into any frenching, knowing that it would do no good to get all worked up at this point.   We just kept our lips pressed together for a long moment, feeling the warmth and security of our physical contact.

“When can we do this again?”  I asked, pulling back.

“I don’t know.  I’m already committed to babysitting this weekend, and then there’s school again...” Jesse said, a hint of frustration in his voice.

“This is a really big bedroom!”

It was Miranda!  And she was standing just outside the door.  My heart started pounding furiously as I felt a wave of panic take hold.  Had she seen us kissing?  What would we do if she had?  Jesse and I glanced at each other with the same shocked expression on our faces.

Then Miranda pushed the door all the way open and peered in.

“Hey, what are you guys doing up here?” she asked accusingly.  I saw her standing there in her frilly white sock feet and realized that she was too light to make any real noise on the stairs.  She probably just tromped up here, not intending to spy or sneak up on us, but just curious as to where we were.

Jesse breathed an audible sigh of relief.  She probably hadn’t seen us from around the partially open door.

“This is Perry’s bedroom,” Jesse said, getting to his feet.

“It’s too big!” Miranda said.

“Yeah, but look at all the cool stuff,” Jesse said, leading her around as I watched from the edge of the bed.  “A computer, video games, his own TV, and look at all those books!”  

“Where’s his dollies?” Miranda demanded.

“You know guys don’t play with dollies,” Jesse explained patiently.

“Timmy Sandmeyer does!” Miranda insisted.  “He has Star Wars and Pokemon and everything--I seen them at his house!”

“Well, Timmy’s a little boy--your age.  Perry’s a big boy like me,” Jesse said with a grin, glancing in the general direction of my crotch.  I had to stifle a giggle...

“Where’s his little sister?” Miranda asked.  “I want to see her room!”

“Perry doesn’t have a little sister.  There’s only two in his family: him and his mom.”

“Is his daddy away on extended vacation like our daddy?”

I could see the pained expression in Jesse’s face and I felt a shudder as well.

“My dad lives all the way on the other side of the country,” I tried to explain.

“Why--doesn’t he like you?” Miranda asked pointedly, putting her little balled fists on her slender little waist.

Kids sure could ask the darndest things!

“Well, that’s where his work is,” I explained awkwardly.  I could see that it took a certain mind set to have a conversation with an extremely bright and inquisitive nine year old.

“Is the movie done?”  Jesse asked, coming to my rescue.

“No, but I was by myself...” Miranda said, sounding a bit pouty.

“We’ll be right back down. Hurry and watch, so you can tell us what we missed!” Jesse said.  Clever boy...

Miranda skipped off, and we both let out huge sighs of relief.

“I don’t think she saw anything...weird,” Jesse whispered, after having carefully observed Miranda actually go back down the stairs.  “I guess we should go…”

I nodded reluctantly.  I got to my feet.  We hugged.  I felt Jesse pulling me towards him.

“Take some time and think,” Jesse asked, pulling away and looking at me with some trepidation.  “I know I need you in my life, Perry, but I don’t know if I’m good for you...”

“Don’t talk like that,” I begged him.  Even though my vision of Jesse as the perfect boy had been somewhat dampened by his revelations this afternoon, the intensity of my feelings for him had, if anything, actually increased.  Maybe I did have something to offer him, and maybe that’s what a true loving relationship should be based on--not just lust, not just hero worship.  “We need each other, and that’s going to make our love even stronger,” I told him.  It looks corny on paper, but it was the right thing to say, and we hugged again.

“Okay...” Jesse whispered in my ear as he held me tight in the middle of my bedroom. “Maybe you can call me, Sunday night, after Miranda’s in bed...if you want...”  It was the shy Jesse again, and I realized that was a part of him too,  a part I loved as much as anything else about him.

“You bet I will,” I assured him.  “And we’ve got to get together again!” I added, realizing how horny I was feeling just hugging this kid.

“We will,”  Jesse promised.  And he pulled back and looked at me dead seriously.  “And I’m going to get my revenge for that towel stunt!” he said, jabbing a finger in my face.  I playfully  tried to bite his finger, but he pulled it back lightening quick.  We sighed with the frustration of two young lovers kept apart by forces beyond their control, thinking happy, horny thoughts, and looking towards a future that we would share together.

              Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome--