Legal Notice:

The following contains descriptions of mild sexual acts between consenting underage boys. It is a 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 IV  Brothers

Chapter 16   A Visit With Tom Pt. 3  (Confessions Of An Artist Under Suspicion)

My blood curdling screams of agony finally got Tom's attention.  He let the whole front of my foot slip out of his mouth.  There was drool streaming down his chin.  His eyes had that wild, unfocused look that told me that he was much more involved with what was going on inside rather than outside at the moment.  His face stretched into that very same grimace I had seen at my house, as he once again blew his load into his pants.  He sat there helplessly on the floor, shaking and shuddering with orgasmic spasms while I scooted back out of his reach.

Despite the throbbing pain in my foot, I was transfixed by the sight of my passionate Hispanic friend reaching his sexual climax.  Clearly he was unable to do anything but sit there until his ejaculation was complete.  His face was covered with glistening droplets of sweat and his eyes seemed glazed.  His chest heaved as he struggled to fill his hungry lungs with oxygen.  It was so powerful that it almost seemed like he was in pain as wave after wave of sexual ecstasy shook his slender body.

As Tom settled down a bit, I turned my attention to my injured foot.  I pulled it up onto my left thigh so I could take a closer look, and sure enough, there were the clear indentations of Tom's nicely curved uppers on the top of my saliva covered foot--right about the same spot where he had so lovingly kissed it just a little while ago.  Each tooth shaped indentation was marked in red but there was no blood.  Apparently he had just avoided breaking the skin.  I realized that if I had panicked and tried to pull my foot out of his mouth, my flesh would have torn for sure.  I noticed the slightly lighter impressions of his lower teeth on the soft pad of my sole, but they had not penetrated as much as the uppers had.  I couldn't help but grimace at the stinging pain.

I heard Tom take in a huge, sucking gasp of air and his eyes went wide with horror.  "Madre de Dios!" he cried, crawling to me on his hands and knees.  He started reaching for my injured foot and I instinctively pulled it away.  "Oh my God!" he moaned in a much higher pitched voice, staggering to his feet like a drunkard and stumbling into the bathroom clutching his head in his hands.  I heard the water running and I just sat there, fighting back the tears that were stinging my eyes.   The intense pain throbbed its way up my leg, while my foot felt like it was on fire.

Tom came running back, his bare feet slapping dully on the polished wood floor.  He had  a damp washcloth with him and he stooped to clean off my injured foot. 

"Wait, Tom!" I warned him.

He lurched backwards as if I had physically hit him.

"I won't hurt you...again!" he croaked through a tightly constricted throat.

"I know.  It's just that it's a little...delicate.  I'll do it," I said, gently taking the washcloth from him.  I wiped Tom's spit off my toes as best I could, and then cautiously dabbed the area around the wound.  The intense  pain was already starting to subside, and the cool dampness of the washcloth felt good against my skin.

"I'm a crazy person..." Tom muttered, crouching next to me, a look of terror on his usually cute round face.

"You just got a little carried way," I assured him.  The look on his face was disturbing, and I realized that he needed more nursing right now than my little injury did.  I reached my hand towards him, intending to lightly brush his cheek the way Jesse did when he was trying to calm me down after one of my bouts of hysterics.  But Tom flinched and pulled away, whimpering like a little boy.

"'t touch me, Perry.  I'm a horrible person...horrible...crazy..."

"No, it's big deal," I tried to assure him, occasionally wincing in pain as I tried to sooth him.  Seeing that he wasn't being convinced, I stretched my leg out so he could clearly see my injury.

At first he backed fearfully away, but then, like a timid woodland creature being lured out of the brush, he came crawling back on his hands and knees.  He lowered his head to examine the teeth marks more closely.

"Whoa...I did that?" he gasped incredulously.  "Shit, that must hurt!"

Perhaps he had forgotten my blood curdling screams of agony..."It's not so bad.  At least the skin's not broken," I informed him in a calm and steady voice despite the near continuous jolts of pain shooting up my leg.

"Let me take you over to the bed, so you can lie down," he suggested.

Well, I guessed it beat sitting on my ass in the middle of the floor.  I allowed Tom to help me up, and I limped across the long room, walking awkwardly on my right heel.  He sat me down on the edge of the bed and because I was feeling somewhat light headed, I really did feel like lying back, so I swung my legs up and stretched full length on the covers of Tom's bed.

He just knelt there in front of me with an extremely agitated expression, as if he was expecting me to explode or something.  I noticed the dark stain on the front of his jeans and realized he must be feeling really uncomfortable.

"I'm okay," I assured him.  "Why don't you go clean yourself up?"

Tom glanced  vaguely down at his crotch and then looked up at me, the pained expression still frozen on his face. 

I winced a little as I felt a twinge shoot up my leg.    Tom gasped, and I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I...I bit you!" he said in astonishment.

"I know...Isn't that weird?"  I had to giggle despite the pain, thinking about how outrageous the whole situation was.

Finally, Tom seemed to realize the same thing and his mouth, which had been gaping in shock and horror, slowly formed into a thin, tentative smile.

"I didn't know you were so hungry," I chided, glad to see that Tom was starting to calm down.  "You shoulda had some of that ice cream!"

Tom snickered a little and then embarrassedly held his hand up to his mouth.  It was actually pretty cute.  I could feel the pain slowly diminishing to a dull throb with only the occasional stinging sensation shooting up my ankle.

"You''re okay?" he asked hesitantly.

"I may never walk again--but I'll live," I teased.

Tom smiled broadly now with relief.  "Oh shit...I fuckin' bit you!" he tittered.

"How'd I taste?" I asked facetiously.

"You were delicious!" Tom exclaimed.  "I love the way you taste...but I'm really, really sorry I hurt you!" he apologized.

I nodded in understanding.   "You just got a little carried away," I repeated.  I picked myself up and sat cross-legged in the middle of Tom's bed.

"Are you angry with me?" he asked sheepishly.

How could I be angry with such a sweet, warm and passionate person like Tom?  "No, of course not.  But I don't think I'll be attending any Secret Foot Society meetings for a while!"

Tom nodded understandingly.  He sighed, his smile turning into a slight frown as he again glanced at his crotch.  "I guess I should go clean up," he said.

"Yeah, and I guess I should be calling my mom..."

"Oh no!"  Tom exclaimed emotionally.  "It''s not time for you to go yet!" he insisted.  "You're hurt and you need to rest and...and there's so much stuff we need to talk about!  Please..." he pleaded with those big brown puppy dog eyes.

It was nearly four.  I had originally figured on calling my mom around now, but I guessed it could wait a little bit.  I was dying to know if Jesse was back from Big Bear yet.  Unfortunately, my cell phone was in the pocket of my jacket, which was hanging in the foyer downstairs.

"Well, just for a little bit..." I offered.

Tom got to his feet, smiling.  He nodded in agreement and went to dig some stuff out of his dresser.

I swung my feet onto the floor, being careful not to put too much pressure on my wound, and started reaching for my socks.

"Wait!" Tom cried, as if I was about to pick up a live grenade.

I looked up at him curiously.

"I...uh...It's just should leave your socks off for a while, so that your foot can heal better..." he explained awkwardly.

Yeah, right...Still, he probably had a point, although I didn't think there was going to be a whole lot of healing going on in the next hour or so.  I figured later tonight, I'd soak it in the bathtub with some of my mom's bath salts.  Of course, I wasn't relishing the idea of telling her what had happened...

"I won't touch you anymore--unless you say it's okay...I promise," he assured me.

I shrugged and scooted back up on the bed again.

"Your so sweet, Perry!" he exclaimed emotionally.  He fished a pair of clean briefs out of a drawer and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Tom came out a few minutes later, his shirt completely unbuttoned, the tails hanging loosely over his tight white briefs.  I was somewhat startled to see him without pants on for the first time.   He had thin, but nicely shaped legs that were the same light mocha color as his feet.  He didn't look self-conscious, and apparently wasn't going to put on another pair of pants right away.  I tried not to stare.

"Thirsty?" he asked, stooping to open his little dorm fridge, his tight briefs-covered bottom poking out from below the tails of his shirt.

"Uh, sure...just some bottled water would be fine."

Tom got out two bottles of Sparkletts and padded over and handed me one.  He pulled up the chair that I had sat in earlier to pose for the drawing, and he sat in it the same way I had, facing the back with his legs straddling the seat.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

I took a long swig of cold water, realizing that I was extremely thirsty.  It probably was caused as much by the spicy enchiladas we had for lunch as by the afternoon's unexpectedly exciting events.  I nodded.

He looked me over carefully, his gaze fixing on my injured foot.  "Do you want a bandage or something?"

"Nah...maybe just a rabies shot," I teased.

Tom blushed.  "Don't, Perry.  I feel really bad about that.  I can't believe you didn't go running out of the house!"

"Limping out of the house, you mean!"

Tom laughed in spite of his guilty feelings.  "God, Perry...what an incredible person you are...So gracious, so forgiving...How could I help but be in love with you..."   Realizing what he had inadvertently said, Tom's face froze into a look of wide eyed shock.

I imagined I must have had a similar look on my face.  I just stared at him, the smile on my face slowly dissolving as I felt a wave of panic and disorientation wash through my mind.  "Wh...what" I asked in a fearful whisper.

Tom's expression turned first to one of fear, and then to anger, his  cheeks turning a bright glowing crimson.  And I could tell that the anger was entirely directed at himself.  He brought his hands up and completely covered his face.  "Shit..." I heard him mutter as he shook his head despondently.

I immediately started to convince myself that what Tom had said was just a slip of the tongue, a figure of speech, a simple matter of hyperbole.  If what he had said was true, the implications were too much for my feeble brain to grasp, and I instinctively knew nothing good could come of it.

I saw Tom force an awkward smile.  "I'm sorry," he said, shaking his head embarrassedly.  "That just slipped out...totally wrong...I didn't mean that..." he started babbling.

The only thing his weak apologies and feeble denials did were to make me worry even more that what he had said was indeed the way he felt.  Tom in love with me?  Shit!  This was bad--as bad as it could get!  Still, Jesse and I had discussed that crazy word half a dozen times.  What did it really mean?  Surely, in Tom's case, it was no more than a rather intense and somewhat misguided case of physical infatuation.  Why Tom found me appealing in that way was totally beyond my comprehension, but I could no longer deny the clear evidence of his true feelings

"Shit...Look at the time!" Tom said, looking at his wristwatch.  "You wanna call your mom now?" he asked.  He reached down and scooped up my shoes and socks, getting ready to hand them to me, apparently anxious to push me out the door.

My head was swimming in chaos.  I was scared by what Tom had said, afraid that something terrible was going to happen.  But now he was giving me a chance to just walk away.  No explanation, no big emotional scene, no 'Sorry, Tom, but I just don't feel that way...'

"Put those down," I said quietly, trying to keep my voice from quivering.

Tom flinched in such an intense way it was just as if I had slapped him in the face.  It was a look of realization, the look that told me that he had let his real and true secret finally slip out, totally unplanned and unmitigated, and now he was going to have to face the consequences.  Slowly, still staring at me with that shocked look on his face, he set my shoes and socks back down on the floor.  His rigid mask of shock was starting to melt, to be replaced by a look of fear and embarrassment.  He looked like he was about to cry.

"Tell me what's going on," I stated quietly, trying to look sincerely into his eyes.  I wanted him to feel like he could tell me everything and that I would just sit here and listen.  If I left now, I'd just be worrying the whole time about what he really meant and Tom would continue to suffer in lonely silence.  I couldn't do that to him, no matter how painful the consequences of learning the full truth.

"Oh man...that was so stupid," he mumbled, bowing his head.  "I've screwed up every single time...I've given you every possible reason to reject me, write me off, tell me to get lost, get out of your life...and yet, you're still here, still willing to listen.  I bet you're even feeling sorry for me..."  His voice went up in pitch and he choked on those last words.  I could tell he was struggling mightily to fight back the tears.

I did feel terribly sorry for him, knowing that whatever feelings he had for me, I wouldn't be able to return them in a meaningful way.  "What did you mean...?" I asked again, clinging to the slim hope that perhaps he had intended to say merely that he was fond of me, something I already new to be true.

Tom sighed.  "Well, I really didn't plan on telling you this...ever," he began.  "But then I bit your foot--like a  mad dog or something-- and I thought for sure you'd be pissed.  You must think I'm totally insane after the last few times we got together.  But you just...don't..."  I could see him shudder with emotion.  He took a deep calming breath and I just sat there and listened, trying as best I could not to jump to any hasty and unpleasant  conclusions.

"Anyway, the big secret's out now...and that is the way I feel."  Tom looked up at me with moisture glistening in his big brown eyes.  He stuck his small round chin out defiantly.  "I love you, Perry!"  He sobbed and I thought he was going to break down.  But somehow, he pulled himself shakily back together.  I realized that he was much stronger on the inside than he looked on the outside.  And he was using that strength now to finally come clean.

"I guess you think it means that I just have this silly crush on you," he said, "and truthfully, that's the way it started, at the beginning of the seventh grade.  I told you all that already, how I was just blown away by the way you looked and your eyes your everything...I just thought you were gorgeous!" He managed to titter a little when he said that, and it was a welcome respite from all the angst.  "That sounds funny, but what else can I say?  You're good looking? You're handsome?  You''re fuckin' hot, Perry!  I know it pisses you off to hear that, but you are!"

I felt myself blush, but I didn't say anything.  My heart was pounding away in my chest, but I did my best to keep my composure.  I just couldn't help skipping ahead to the big question...Now what?  But Tom still had more to say, and the fact that he was able to sit there and tell me all these things without breaking down completely, impressed me tremendously.

"If it was just that--just a physical crush--I think I could deal with it private."  He looked at me to see if I understood and I nodded.

I certainly knew what it was like to have a crush on someone and have fantasies--powerful, passionate, erotic fantasies about them.  The idea of Tom having those kinds of thoughts about me made the enchiladas do a little hat dance in my stomach.

"But as I started to get to know you, it became a lot more than that.  Perry, you're such a sweet, kind, gentle and generous person--do you know that?" he asked intensely.

I shook my head.  That couldn't possibly be true.  How could someone who spent almost all their time just thinking about themselves, who was always worried about how others thought of him, always saying the wrong thing, always needing to be rescued, how could a person like that be anything like what Tom was describing?

"I think you see things in me that aren't really there," I suggested.

Tom sighed.  "I've been starting to realize lately, that people almost never see themselves the same way you see them.  I bet even Jesse thinks bad things about himself..."

"Yeah, that's true," I informed him sadly.

Tom shook his head slowly in disbelief.  "I guess we so want to see the perfection in others, huh?  Like, I wish I could be just like you, Perry--always thinking about others first, always willing to give of yourself, always treating everyone with respect and consideration.  You're even nice to those dickwads, Artie and Manny," he said distastefully.  "That's why everyone likes you.  Anyone would want to have you as a friend...And then to have all that wrapped in a beautiful package of wavy brown hair, big hazel eyes, soft cheeks, and those lips..."

Tom really did have strong feelings about me and to deny it would have been totally irrational.  But I felt no relief from knowing that.  It just made things worse.  "I think you're a very sweet person," I offered.  "You're fun to be around and easy to get along with...and you're so talented.  I just can't believe all the things I've seen today--you're a real artist!"


I guess that did it, because tears--lots of them--came pouring down those smooth mocha cheeks.  He made these high pitched whimpering sounds and his mouth was stretched into an agonizing grimace. He looked so pathetic sitting there in his open shirt and white briefs, his face glistening with rivers of salty moisture, gasping away between sobs.  I realized my own eyes were moist and a couple of tears actually spilled over onto my cheeks.  I quickly wiped them off.  One thing Tom didn't need to know was what a big cry baby I could be, shedding tears at the smallest bit of emotional provocation.

But this was sad, unbelievably, frustratingly sad.  Here I thought we'd already had  plenty of excitement for one afternoon--deliciously spicy enchiladas for lunch, a tour of Tom's amazing room and artwork, posing for that beautiful drawing of someone who looked vaguely like me, sharing and enjoying our weird little fetish--and then getting my foot nearly chewed off by one of my closest friends...Well, that was a lot of stuff to pack into one visit.  But this...I hadn't seen it coming.  Maybe I should have.  He had already confessed that he had a crush on me since the beginning of the seventh grade.  But I had convinced myself that he had gotten over it and really wanted to be with Morgan's little brother.  What had happened?

"What about Derek?" I asked yet again, this time more desperately then ever.

Tom shook his head, his face still soaked with tears.  "I don't love Derek," he revealed.  He took a minute to wipe the tears and mucous from his face and eyes with the sleeve of his plaid shirt.  "I mean, I like Derek a lot.  We get along so great.  There's no effort to it.  We just seem to like the same things and enjoy each other's company.  Of course he's cute, and I want to be able to do more with him than just play video games..."  He sniffled and wiped his nose with his hand.  "I do like boys, you know."

I nodded, glad to see that Tom had a least managed to stop the waterworks for now.

"But I don't feel...passionate about him the way I do about you.  I don't know how I can make you understand..." he pleaded helplessly.  "Maybe you have those kinds of feelings for that girl back in La Jolla," he suggested.

I shook my head and then shrugged.  "Well...not exactly...not this intense," I assured him.  I realized that the day was fast approaching when that stupid lie would have to be discarded.  The idea that I was deceiving both Jessica and Tom with it, using it to manipulate their feelings and even control them to some extent, was truly abhorrent to me.  But I couldn't say anything now, not with what Tom was going through.  But soon...

"So, you do understand how I'm feeling...?" Tom asked tentatively.

"I can see how upset you are," I said, stating the obvious.  "But I bet you already know what I'm going to say..."

"What can I do to help you, Tom?" he said, doing a good job of mimicking my voice.

I nodded sheepishly.

Tom sighed, leaning his chin on his folded arms much the same way I had when I was posing for the drawing.  "I don't know, Perry.  I'm just a dumb kid.  It was a huge shock for me to realize that I was even attracted to boys.  I mean, who thinks they're gonna turn out like that?  In church, they teach you that it's a sin...Then to discover that I have these strong kinds of feelings...I mean, do you think kids our age are supposed to have feelings like this?"

"I don't think everyone does, but maybe some..."

Tom nodded.  "I mean, it's not like I wanted this to happen.  I know you can't return any of the feelings I have, can't do any of the things I want to do.  I guess..."  I sensed that the tears were just about to start spilling again.  "I guess I'll just have to live with it somehow..."

"But Tom, I'm pretty sure that Derek likes boys too..." I pressed upon him.

Tom nodded hesitantly.  "Something to do with a letter?" he asked, sniffing and wiping his eyes.

"Well, yeah.  I guess I'll just tell you, but I don't think Derek would want you to know..."

"I understand.  I'm pretty good at keeping secrets, don't you think?" he laughed sarcastically.

"Well, he wrote a letter to Jesse saying that he wanted to...well...ur..." Boy, this was hard to say out loud!  "He said he wanted Jesse without any clothes on, and kiss him and stuff..." I stammered, feeling myself blush just at saying the words.

Tom's eyes lit up with excitement.  "Wow!  That's so cool!  Derek really wrote that?"

I nodded.

"Man...Jesse must've freaked, huh?"

"It was hard.  Jesse had to tell him that he wasn't like that, and...well, you know the rest."  Except for that crazy dream, of course!

Tom got a thoughtful look on his face.  "Even if Derek does like boys, that doesn't mean he's gonna like me in that way.  I mean, I'm no match for Jesse Taylor!"

"Everyone has something different to offer, and he might see something in you that he doesn't see in Jesse.  The truth is, Derek doesn't really know Jesse at all," I pointed out.

Tom nodded and then shrugged.  "Okay...I don't know if this'll make it any easier for me to tell him how I feel or who I really am, but I guess I'm a little more confident about approaching him now."

"That's good," I said with some sense of relief.

"But that doesn't solve our problems," Tom said a little despondently. 

Our problems?  "It doesn't?"

"I'm still gonna love you--a lot," he insisted.  "You're very different than Derek.  I mean, maybe I can work off some of this horniness I'm feeling all the time with him, but the other part--that's not just going to go away."

"But how can you stand it?" I asked worriedly.

Tom's eyes lit up.  "You do understand what it's like to be in love!" he declared excitedly.

I nodded reluctantly, and bowed my head, not wanting him to get a good look at my eyes.

"It's good to be in love, isn't it?" he asked hopefully.

I shrugged.  "I'm not sure, Tom.  It seems like it hurts a lot."

"I understand, 'cause your girl is in La Jolla and you can't see each other most of the time..."

"Yeah, somethin' like that..." I agreed readily.

"You're right--it does hurt sometimes, when I want to be with you so badly...But it's also good, Perry.  It feels good to be in love with you."

"But I can't return what you're feeling," I pointed out sullenly.

"But you love me in your own way, don't you?" he asked hopefully.

I smiled.  "Yeah, I guess I do.  But how could it be enough?"

Tom shrugged.  "It has to be.  I mean, it feels good that you're sitting with me now, talking about these...crazy things while your foot's throbbing with pain," he astutely pointed out. 

The idea of soaking my inured appendage in a warm bath was getting more and more appealing.  The pain had diminished for the most part to a dull burning/throbbing sensation, but then again, I wasn't walking on it either.

"I mean, you could get up and leave right now, and I couldn't blame you for anything, or..."

"Or what?"

"You could...hold me..." he suggested timidly.

As long as Tom thought I was straight, I had no problem being close to him.  I scooted over on the bed a little and patted the top of the covers invitingly.  Tom's cute round face lit up and he practically leapt onto the bed.  First, he just sat next to me, his bare legs dangling over the edge.  Then he scooted up closer, bringing his legs up onto the covers.  "Hold me...?" he asked again.

He leaned his curly haired head against my arm and I pulled him in closer with my embrace.  I was still sitting cross-legged and somehow, after a little while, he ended up with his head resting on my lap, the stretched front of my jeans acting like a little hammock for his head.  He smiled and sighed contentedly.  I felt him shudder occasionally, and I soothingly caressed his tight, curly black locks.  Before I knew it, he was snoring lightly.

I was relieved in a way.  At least Tom was getting a little time out from all the emotional angst and confusion.  Glancing at the ornate, mosaic crucifix on the wall over his bed, I couldn't help but wonder why God would play such a cruel trick on this boy.  He was such a good, sweet, gifted person, so full of impish energy and unmitigated joie d'vivre.  He had so much love to give, and still hadn't found anyone to really share it with.  Hopefully, things would go well with him and Derek, but as Tom pointed out, it wasn't a done deal.  I just sat there and sighed, realizing that one way or the other, I was going to end up hurting yet another friend.  I thought about Morgan.  All he had wanted was to tug on my dick a little and I had panicked, causing a huge, embarrassing mess.  He had felt horribly guilty about hitting me and had even tried to get Jesse to enact some sort of revenge by proxy.  I should have realized that a straight guy like Morgan would feel humiliated to have himself milked like that, and then not be able to return the 'favor.'

Then there was Jessica. What attracted her to me, or me to her?  The truth was, we barely knew each other.  Except for the brief time we had spent alone at Katy's party, I would have written her off as arrogant and self-involved.   Now I was starting to have real feelings for her too, and that couldn't lead to anyplace good, not now, not with Jesse consuming every fibre of my being.  There was no way I could get involved in the kind of relationship she wanted and deserved.

And what about my cousin, Derrin?   It seemed like he had changed literally overnight, from a cute little video game obsessed kid to a insatiably horny young teenager.  Somehow, those new feelings got transferred to me.  The girlfriend he had mentioned several times in the past couple of months turned out to be no more than wishful thinking on his part, an older girl who was playfully allowing Derrin to imagine that he was her 'boyfriend in waiting.'  While I was pretty sure her intentions were innocent, it bothered me that Derrin put so much stock in it.  He obviously felt proud to have snagged an older girl at his school.  I wondered if the other kids in his class saw through this simple deception and secretly laughed at my cousin behind his back.  I hoped not, but as I was beginning to learn, people could be cruel with only the least amount of incentive.

And now Tom...I thought he had done himself some good by sharing his secret with me--that he liked boys--his strange way of saying that he was gay.  It seemed that, to the extent a thirteen year old could manage such things, he had come to terms with that aspect of himself.  In that sense, he was way ahead of me.  If I were to judge only on my relationship with Jesse Taylor, then I would have to admit to being homosexual.  At the moment, I only clung to the slightest misgivings about going all the way with him.  I knew I wanted to do it, and yet I was afraid. 

But the news I had gotten today--this was serious stuff.  While I couldn't tell Tom in so many words, the fact was, I knew what he was feeling, what he was going through.  It was very much like those first few weeks after I met Jesse.  I had become obsessed with him, and it had started with a physical crush and developed from there as I got to know him better and better.  Now, I was even able to embrace some of the darker aspects of his being.  Certainly, the tough, edgy, street fighting Jesse had saved my bacon more than once and I feared that it wouldn't be for the last time either.

Yet somehow, through some power that was beyond the two of us, things had worked out for Jesse and me--at least so far.  The sad thing was, I just knew for a fact that Tom wasn't going to get the kind of relationship with me that he wanted.  Even if I wasn't with Jesse, I didn't think I could have had the kind of strong, passionate feelings for Tom that he seemed to have for me.  It was a doomed relationship and I felt terrible for being the primary cause for that.  For the first time, I gave serious consideration to the idea of leaving St. Boniface and maybe even Santa Corina. 

Could I possibly persuade my mom to move someplace else?  Perhaps Escondido, or even Oceanside?  Maybe I could, but it would take a lot of lies and half-truths to make my case, and the fact of the matter was, I needed to be as close to Jesse as I possibly could.  His absence manifested itself as a constant, dull ache in my chest and a haze of quiet desperation in my mind.  I couldn't wait to hear his voice again...

I felt Tom stir.  His big brown eyes fluttered open and he immediately smiled up at me.

"Gees, I wish I could always wake up looking at your beautiful face, Perry," he said in a dry raspy voice.

I stuck out my tongue and crossed my eyes.  Tom revealed his bright white teeth as his body shook with laughter.

"I think my leg's asleep," I warned him only half-facetiously.

Tom slowly pulled himself into a sitting position.  I took the opportunity to stretch my legs.  My wound throbbed with a dull pain as I  wiggled my feet around.  I decided it was time to try and stand up, so I slid off Tom's bed apprehensively.  Gingerly, I put some weight on my injured foot and winced as a jolt of moderate pain shot up my leg.  I sat back down.

"Oh no!" Tom moaned.  "It really hurts, huh?" he asked worriedly.

I shrugged.  "A little," I admitted.  I glanced at my watch.  It was nearly four thirty.  My mom would be wondering soon why I hadn't called.  I carefully got up again, this time putting my full weight on the floor.  Tom quickly got up and grabbed my arm, trying to help support me.

"Let's try walking a little," I said.

Tom nodded in reluctant agreement and helped me limp a few paces into the room.  I stopped and let the pain subside, and then tried a few more steps.  I was glad at least that the bite marks on the bottom of my foot were shallower than the ones on top.  Tom still clutched my arm, and we must have looked a strange pair, me limping like an old man, and he dressed  in an open shirt and briefs.

Finally I made it over to the easel where the drawing was still displayed.  I looked at it in wonderment.

"So that's how you see me?" I asked in disbelief.

"Actually, I was picturing you naked the whole time..." Tom admitted with a bashful smile.  "You even had a great boner!"

I couldn't help but smile as I shook my head at Tom's silliness.  "Well, whoever it is, it's still a great drawing.  I think anyone who saw it would be impressed," I assured him.

"And they'd see what good taste I have in boys!" he added brashly.

I felt myself starting to bristle as Tom started making me feel self-conscious about my appearance again.  Perhaps it came down to a simple matter of taste.  Still, Tom didn't seem to have any problem seeing the radiant physical beauty of Jesse Taylor.  In fact I was sure the only reason Tom wasn't head over heels in love with Jesse was simply because my sweet angel was so reluctant to share his real self with others.  Obviously, he had been burned in the past for too freely giving of himself, and had chosen to withdraw his personality rather than risk experiencing that sort of pain again.  It made my heart beat rapidly in my chest as I acknowledged what a risk Jesse had taken in revealing to me his true self--both the light and dark sides. 

I glanced at Tom, who was looking at me in a way that could only be called worshipful.  I sighed, realizing that I just needed to let Tom say the things he wanted to say.  At least, he could feel uninhibited in that way around me, and maybe that would provide him some small sense of relief.  I would no longer chastise him for the platitudes he showered on me, no matter how misguided or inaccurate--at least if we were alone.  Besides, it didn't really matter if I saw myself that way.  At least, he and Jesse, and Morgan, and Jessica, and Derrin all gave me something to shoot for, some lofty  goal of selflessness and gentility that I could strive towards for the rest of my life.

"Let go of my arm," I requested gently.

Tom reluctantly backed off, and I limped back to the bed on my own.  The more I walked, the less it seemed to hurt--either that, or I was getting used to it.  I started tugging my socks on and Tom came and sat beside me. 

"Wait!" he pleaded. 

I had my injured right foot up on my thigh and Tom lowered his head.  I stiffened, fearing the worst.

"Goodbye, Perry's Big Toe!  I'm so very, very sorry that I hurt you.  You know I love you though, right?" he asked in a sweet, sing-songy voice.

Fortunately for both of us, my toe didn't respond. 

Tom looked at me hopefully.  "May I kiss it, Perry?" he asked with childish sincerity.

I wasn't sure I wanted to go down that road again, but the look in Tom's eyes...I nodded.

Tom smiled and ever so carefully touched his lips to the front of my big toe.  There was no sucking, no wildly flagellating tongue, just a light peck on the soft pad of my toe.  I sighed with relief.  With a nod of reluctant approval from Tom, I finished tugging my socks on. 

"Isn't it funny that the person I would least want to hurt in the whole world--well, besides my mom I guess--is the one that I end up hurting?" Tom asked philosophically.  He began gently rubbing my back in an affectionate way.  It felt good and I didn't stop him.

I thought about Morgan, and how full of guilt and remorse he had been after hitting me in a moment of drunken confusion.  He considered me his best friend and had even admitted to being jealous of Jesse.  And yet, he had hurt me considerably.  Maybe the similarities between these two incidents weren't merely coincidence.  Maybe there was something to it, something about being emotionally bonded in some way, that just automatically caused you to so lower your personal defenses, that it allowed your basest animal instincts to take over, even if it was just for the blink of an eye.  Morgan, more than a little tipsy from the wine he had drunk, sexually frustrated, and having allowed me to masturbate him, instinctively lashed out at me as I frustrated his perceived need to prove that he wasn't being self indulgent or sexually perverted

Tom had strong emotional feelings for me in addition to the strong physical urges that any teenager had.  Just as I sometimes went overboard in my passionate need to satiate my sexual lust for Jesse, Tom, through his unrequited love for me,  also opened himself up to a lack of self control.   I had willingly participated in a fetish game that I knew had strong sexual connotations for him, but I hadn't been prepared for the powerful response of his hormones, so closely tied to the intense emotions he was experiencing.

Considering these two distressing encounters in the light of these new thoughts, at least gave me some sense of what had caused these events in the first place.  I would have to be more cautious in the future with Tom.  And I thought about Jesse.  Was it possible that I could inadvertently hurt him some how in my desperate need to feed my unbounded hunger for his physical form?  Just the other day, I had accidentally rammed his beautiful blond head against the side of my mom's car.  While it caused him no serious injury, it had been directly provoked by a lack of self-control fueled by my passion.  And all I had been trying to do was kiss him!

"I think these kinds of strong feelings are new to all of us," I offered.  "It's not really too surprising that they might get out of control sometimes."

Tom nodded.  "I was so getting into licking your foot that I just lost it," he admitted.  "You taste so good, Perry.  I'm afraid that if a bunch of us were stranded way up in the mountains for weeks,  waiting to be rescued, we'd probably eat you first!"  he teased.

"Well, you are a great cook!"

We laughed for a few minutes, relieving some of the tension in the air.  I glanced at my watch again.

"I guess I should call my mom..." I said.

Tom nodded reluctantly.

"My cell phone's in my jacket downstairs," I remembered.  I started pulling one of my shoes on, but Tom quickly got to his knees in front of the bed and finished the task, tying and zipping my sneakers up.  It was like having my own curly haired personal valet!  He lovingly embraced my legs through my jeans before getting to his feet.  "You are so precious to me, Perry Thompson," he whispered.

I felt a small lump in my throat and swallowed it as best I could.

"Here, you can use this phone," Tom said, gesturing to the cordless sitting on its cradle on his night stand.

I nodded my thanks and told my mom she could come and pick me up.  I reminded her of the address.

Tom had once again moved up close to me, the two of us sitting on the edge of the bed together.

"Uh, Tom, you might want to put on some pants before my mom shows up!" I reminded him.

Tom put his hand to his mouth in wide eyed embarrassment and it was such a cute moment, I did feel a little tug at my heart strings.  He went to his closet and got out a neatly ironed pair of grey cargo pants and slipped them on.  He stuffed his bare feet into a pair of comfortable looking moccasin slippers and came and sat down beside me again.

"Tom, what are we going to do?" I asked, trying not to get too emotional, but feeling a tightness in my chest because I felt so sorry for my dear friend and his hapless predicament.

Tom gave me a seriously determined look.  "I'm gonna stop acting like a whiny baby," he said resolutely.  "At least you know how I feel now, and I guess that's better than me just keeping it to myself.  Still, I know you're a little upset..."

"I'm not upset at all," I assured him.  "I really just want you to be happy," I told him earnestly.  I was tempted to put my hand affectionately on his thigh, and then my foot started throbbing dully in my tightly laced sneaker, acting as a sort of warning signal, and I quickly reconsidered.

"I know you do..." Tom said, his voice trembling slightly.  "And that's actually comforting in a way.  It sure is better than what Jesse did to Derek!"

I felt immediate anger surge to the surface, and fought to keep it under control.  "You were the one who wanted Jesse to tell Derek to get lost!" I reminded him rather harshly.

Tom flinched.  "Yeah...I know.  I think I made a mistake--and...and I don't blame Jesse.  At least he's a good person and I know he would never do anything to intentionally hurt Derek."

"Jesse wouldn't hurt anyone if he could help it," I assured him.  "I wish you wouldn't judge him like that."

Tom nodded.  "Yeah, you're right," he admitted sheepishly.   "Jesse's very cool.  But knowing that he's a blackbelt and a street fighter kinda makes me a little  uneasy, ya know?"

"Yeah.  When he first told me about that, he begged me not to tell anyone."

"He's pretty smart," Tom noted.

"Very!" I emphasized.

"You're lucky to have him as a friend," Tom said, a tinge of jealousy in his voice.

"He's your friend--and Derek's too, if that's what Derek wants."

Tom nodded with a thin smile.  "All I know is, I can't wait until next Sunday!"  he tittered, apparently thinking about  the time we would be spending at the Grand Californian.

"Let's hobble downstairs," I suggested, seeing that we were  both about to lose control of our emotions again.

Tom still helped me up even though I was fully capable of moving around under my own power.  I picked up my discarded sweatshirt along the way and slipped it back on.  I managed to limp all the way across the room, even though it was clearly aggravating my injury.  I did my best to mask my discomfort.  Tom already had enough things on his plate without worrying about my silly little problem.  He turned to me on the landing and delicately brushed a few stray locks of brown hair off my forehead.  He gave me an affectionate little smile that was so full of warmth that it made me shudder.

Maybe Tom would be able to deal with his feelings for me.  Just because I wasn't able to handle being away from Jesse, didn't mean that Tom didn't have more of a solid emotional foundation to draw from.  Maybe it was even possible for him to have true feelings of love for me, and for them to remain unrequited.  How many people of every age endured intense crushes that, for one reason or another, they were forced to keep hidden from their heart's desire? 

We got down the stairs and I gratefully sat back on the comfortable sofa in the living room.  My curly haired friend sat towards the other end.

I gave him that 'what are we going to do?' look again, but tempered it with an encouraging smile.

"I know something you can do for me...if you want," Tom said bashfully.

I waited expectantly.

"Sometimes, if we could just be together like this--just you and me alone, that would be so cool," he told me as if it were a great aspiration of his.

I nodded immediately even though I had no idea what I might be letting myself in for.

Tom slid a little closer to me on the sofa.  "Perry, why doesn't it freak you out that I like boys?" he asked with an almost child-like naivete.

"I don't know..." I admitted.  "Maybe it's because you were already my friend.  I wasn't going to stop being your friend just because you're attracted to boys."

Tom nodded with a look of satisfaction on his face.

"Can I ask you something?"

Tom nodded enthusiastically.

"Why do you always say you 'like boys?'  Don't you really mean that you're gay?" I asked curiously.

Tom giggled a little at my question.  "I always thought that if you were gay, it meant you were happy!" he explained.

"So you are gay!" I pointed out teasingly.

"For sure when I'm with you!" he said, and lovingly wrapped his arms around me.

"Well then, I guess that makes me feel pretty gay too!" I laughed.

Tom looked at me with happy astonishment, and we embraced again.  That's when the doorbell rang, and Tom quickly leaped up to get the door.

I got up carefully, determined to hide my injury from my mom as best I could.  I didn't want to have to explain to her how it had happened.

I waited while Tom greeted my mom and let her in.  Tom came running up.  "Hey Perry, do you still want your mom to see that drawing?" he asked excitedly. 

I could see how anxious he was to show off his work.  I nodded with something of a forced smile, cringing inwardly at the idea of another trip up the stairs and back.  I really was going to need to soak my foot in something when I got home.

"What a lovely home," my mom remarked, looking around the big open room with it's stone fireplace, colored glass windows, and comfortable looking Southwestern style furniture.

"Thanks, Mrs. Thompson," Tom replied courteously.

"Tom wants to show you something," I told her.  "It's upstairs.  And you really need to see his room anyway--it's incredible!"

"Did you boys have fun today?" she asked, as we made our way back upstairs.

"Yeah, Tom is a great cook.  He made carnitas enchiladas and they were awesome--a little spicy though, but really awesome," I told her.  "And he showed me some of his paintings and drawings.  They're just amazing, mom, you won't believe it!" 

Tom was in full blush mode by now as he led us back into his room.

"Why, this is simply marvellous," she said, looking the place over with wonderment and appreciation.

"Yeah, my dad fixed it up for me this summer.  I love it!" Tom proclaimed.

He let my mom take her time examining some of the drawings and paintings that were displayed around the room, finally making her way to the easel where Tom and I stood a little apprehensively.

"What is this?" she asked, seeing the anxious smiles on both our faces.

Tom gestured quickly with his hand and then stood back.

I watched my mom's reaction carefully.  First, her eyes opened wide in recognition, and then she touched her hand to her open mouth.

"My word!  Tom--did you do this?" she asked incredulously.

"It's supposed to be me!" I explained quickly.

"Of course, silly," she said dismissively.   "It's beautiful--just beautiful!"  She turned to Tom.  "I hope you're going to let me take it home..."

Tom blushed.

"He wants to show it to Sister Mary Luellen--and maybe Father Marlen!" I told her.

She nodded understandingly.  "What an amazing gift you have, Tom.  You're family must be so proud!"

"Well, they did this for me," he said, gesturing to the big room with its exposed rafters, ceiling fans, and polished wood floors.

"Maybe someday, when you're done with it..." my mom suggested cautiously.

Tom just shrugged.  I had a feeling he wasn't going to be parting with it anytime soon.

My mom didn't press the issue.  Instead, she spent a few more minutes admiring the drawing before we all headed back for the landing.

"Perry, what's wrong?" my mom asked with obvious concern.

Gulp--I was caught!  "Huh?  What?" I asked innocently.

"You're limping...Did you hurt your foot?" she asked pointedly.


"We were playing a silly game," Tom explained quickly.  "We were sliding around on the floor in our socks and Perry...well, he stubbed his toe on a piece of furniture.  Sorry, Mrs. Thompson.  It was my stupid idea..." Tom admitted humbly.

Wow!  My friends were all such good liars!  Tom, Morgan, and Jesse made me feel like a rank amateur when it came to little fibs and major deceptions.  But I had a feeling I was going to be getting better at it...

"I'll take a look at it when we get home," my mom offered.

"No, it's fine.  Gees, it's nothing!" I assured her, embarrassed by the fuss she was making.  Like I really wanted to show her the teeth marks on the top of my foot!  How'd I ever explain that?

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful, although I was filled with an inward sense of desperate anticipation, waiting for Jesse to call.  I took a long, warm bath when I got home, which my mom didn't question.  It felt good on all my weary muscles and especially my foot, but it didn't relax me much.  I dressed in a T-shirt, sweatpants, and socks, and came downstairs for turkey sandwiches and vegetable soup.  Hopefully that was the last of the turkey!

It was around seven o'clock and I was just helping my mom finish cleaning up the dishes when I heard my cell phone ringing in my room.  I almost dropped the plate I was holding before dashing out of the room and bounding up the stairs.  I was nearly out of breath as I picked the phone up and put it to my ear.

"Ahhhh-chish!"  someone sneezed a good wet one on the other end of the connection.  I heard some sniffling sounds and wondered if it was a wrong number.

"Perry?" a weak voice asked.  It sounded more like 'Berry.'

"Jesse--is that you?"

"Yeah--caught a little cold up in the mountains!" he sniffled.

He sounded terrible, all stuffed up, his normally raspy voice sounding even more coarse and dry than usual.

"" I muttered  disappointedly.  "How could that have happened?"

Jesse managed to giggle a little, despite his dry throat.  "Gees, Perry.  It's not the end of the world.  Just a little cold!  I'll live!"

It had never occurred to me before that Jesse was susceptible to the same infirmities as normal people.  He was so perfect, so smart, so beautiful...

"Perry...?" Jesse inquired after a long dose of stunned silence.

"I'm sorry...Gees, I just can't believe you're sick!" I admitted.

Jesse could hear the obvious disappointment in my voice.  "Sorry, dude…"  He lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper.  "All I could think about all weekend was coming home and hearing your voice again!  Maybe I didn't take care of myself as well as I should have..."

I felt a momentary wave of totally irrational anger surge through my body.  How could Jesse do this to me?  I had waited and waited for him to return to me--like for three long days, and now he was sick!  I sat on the edge of my bed and took a deep, cleansing breath, trying to calm myself.  What was I thinking?  How could I be angry at Jesse for being sick?  It wasn't his fault.  He certainly didn't do it to rain on my parade.  It had just happened, and that was all there was to it.

"Do you think you'll make it to school tomorrow...?" I asked with a trembling voice.

There was a long pause.  "I...I don't know, Perry.  Maybe I should just rest up for a  day--I'll get better quicker that way," he suggested.

Another deep, cleansing breath...and well, one more...

"O...Okay," I said, trying not to let all the emotions that were straining to burst out of me flood the cell phone.  "Did you have a good time...uh...before you got sick?" I asked, changing the subject.

"Well, I got carsick on the way up, had one of those stupid headaches the whole time we were up there, sat around watching the Cartoon Network for like a hundred hours with Miranda while Joe and my mom...well, while they did their stuff..."

I felt tears coming to my eyes.  My poor angel!  He'd had a more miserable time at Big Bear than I had back here in Santa Corina.

"Oh, Jesse...I'm so sorry..." I moaned.

"Hey, you're not crying over there, are you?" he whispered concernedly. 

"I'm...I'm okay," I insisted.

"Hmmm...well..." Jesse mumbled.  Ahhh-chish!

His sneezes sounded so cute that I wished I was there to wipe the snot from his nose for him!

"Gesundheit," I offered.

"Thanks..." Jesse sniffled.  "Anyway, what about you, dude?  Anything exciting happen while I was gone?"

Let's see.  There was my cousin Derrin and his Martian friends.  The mall encounter with Arnie and Mario and his knife.  The wonderfully warm chance meeting with Gene and George Rauch.  There was the trip to Arcadia where I was taken by surprise by Derrin's warm and clever display of affection... Then Jessica made me sit with her at Mass on Sunday, and  she and Katy kissed me in the hall behind the lobby.  Oh yeah, and I almost forgot...Tom bit my foot and then told me that he loved me!

"Actually, I have a lot to tell you..." I admitted.


Jesse set the phone down and blew his nose and I had to laugh a little at the ridiculous, goose-like noise being produced by my beautiful blond angel!

"Hmmm...ah...Perry, maybe you should just put it in an email, huh?" he asked between sniffles.

"Sure, I'll do that," I offered.  "I'm so glad your home, Jesse.  I missed you so much!"

"I missed you too. It seems like you're all that I think about..."

That caused the tears that had been welling at the bottoms of my big hazel eyes to finally come tumbling out in little rivulets down my cheeks.

"Ah, shit...Perry...please don't cry..." Jesse pleaded.

"I'll...I'll bring your school work to you tomorrow afternoon," I promised him between wet sobs.

"That would be cool but Perry...I don't want you to catch this, okay?  Your birthday's coming up.  The last thing you want is to be sick!"

He had a good point, but really, if Jesse wasn't going to be there, what was the point in having a birthday celebration?

"Yeah, I understand," I acknowledged reluctantly.

"Okay then..."  I heard him sigh.  "I'm like totally wasted," he admitted weakly. 

"Go to bed," I told him gently.  "And...maybe think about me..."

"I couldn't not think about you if I tried!" he assured me.  "G'night, Perry."

"Goodnight, sweet angel..."  I sniffed.

After wiping the tears from my face, I booted up the Macintosh and started typing away.

Dear Jesse...

This is the last chapter of P&J/Part IV.  Following this is a brief epilogue (see Part IV/Prologue) to be posted shortly.   Perry and Jesse's story will continue in Part V!

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