Legal Notice:

The following contains descriptions of graphic 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 2  Secrets, Basketball, and Rocketships

On Wednesday, Morgan was looking a bit uneasy at lunch.  I had noticed him talking to Artim before he came over to sit and eat with Tom, Jesse, and me.  Gene had told me he was going to be spending most of his lunch times either at football practice or in the library, trying to catch up with his school work, so I didn't even look around for him anymore.

"Hey Tom, I think Derek wanted to talk to you about something," he said, and it was the most Morgan had said to Tom since Katy's party, and he gave the smaller boy a friendly smile.

"Oh, okay!" Tom said, the excitement obvious in his big brown eyes.  He stuffed his sandwich back into its paper bag and took off.

"What was that about?" I asked.

Morgan shrugged.  I just wanted to talk to you guys alone," he said, and suddenly, I had a bad feeling.  Morgan looked across the table at Jesse, as if trying to assess something about him.

Jesse stared back at him intently.  "Do I have something stuck in my teeth?" He asked with mock concern.

Morgan laughed at the unexpected comment, but his expression quickly became thoughtful again.

"I was talking to Artie," he began.

I knew what was coming and I'm sure Jesse did as well.  I was determined to keep my mouth shut tight...

"Is it true?" he asked Jesse.

"What?" my blond friend asked, not in a stupidly naive way, but in a clarifying way.

"That you beat up the captain of the Holy Trinity varsity wrestling team?" he asked, careful to keep his voice down so no one else would overhear.

Jesse sat there chewing on his lower lip.  His head was lowered so that his long blond hair covered his face and hid his expression from me.

"It is..."  Morgan whispered with awe in his voice.  "Shit, how can..."

"Morgan?" Jesse suddenly asked, lifting his head and looking at the taller youth across the table, an unreadable expression on his perfectly sculpted face.  "Could you please not tell anyone about this?" he asked, and despite his outwardly calm demeanor, it was obvious that he was keeping powerful emotions in check...barely.  "It's one thing if Artim and Manny shoot off their mouths, but if you say something, people will believe it for sure..."

Morgan glanced at me with a puzzled expression.  I struggled valiantly to keep my mouth shut, and looked at Jesse.

"Can you at least tell me what happened?" he asked, his voice still low.

Jesse shook his head.

"But I heard that you used these amazing Kung Fu moves on him--laid him right out on the bathroom floor..."

Jesse kept silent.

"I heard that Goreski was trying to hurt Perry..." Morgan persisted.

Without a word, Jesse got up and left, leaving his half eaten lunch on the table.   I watched as he walked to the school building and went into the boy's bathroom.

After Morgan recovered from his surprise, he turned back to me.

"Perry, is any of this true?" he asked, desperately looking for confirmation of what must have sounded like a completely ridiculous rumor.   I could also tell that he wanted it to be true, however outrageous it sounded.

I gave him the smallest nod of acknowledgement that I could, and his eyes opened wide with amazement.  But his expression quickly turned to one of concern.

"Is it true that Goreski bastard tried to hurt you?" he asked with the genuine concern of a close friend.

I nodded again and felt the strongest urge to tell Morgan the whole story.  It was obvious that there was no way to stop this from spreading.  Manny and Artim thought the whole thing was the bomb, and there was no way to stop them from telling whoever would listen.  The only hope we had was that the story sounded so absurd that most people would think they were spouting nonsense.  Who would believe that shy little Jesse would be able to take on a huge high school senior?

"You don't want to talk about it, huh?" Morgan surmised.

"I...I do, Morgan.  I mean, I trust you, and I think Jesse does to...Just let me talk to him first--but please, please don't tell anyone else, okay?"  I asked, beseeching him with my voice and my eyes.  If there was ever a time I wanted my big stupid eyes to give me away, this was it.

"Perry, I'll do whatever you say," he assured me.  "And if you guys decide you don't want to tell me anything, I swear I'll drop the whole thing, okay?"

I nodded gratefully.

Then Morgan couldn't help but smile in awe.  "But if it's true..."  He just shook his head incredulously.

I excused myself and went to find Jesse.  When I got to the bathroom and found all the stalls empty, I had a pretty good idea where he had gone.  Making sure no one was looking my way,  I quietly slipped around to the back of the building.

I clambered clumsily over the chain link fence and started up the hill, looking for any sign of Jesse in the dense  brush and thick groves of California Oaks.  As I climbed the steep terrain, I hoped I remembered the spot...

When I came into the partial clearing along the side of the hill where Jesse had recently battled with some of the demons from his past, I was stunned to see him standing there, the afternoon sun reflecting on his silky blond hair, giving his whole face a golden aura that so suited my mind's image of him as a beautiful angel.  It literally took my breath away.

He didn't say anything, but quickly walked the few paces that separated us.  His hands went to my neck and before I knew it, his lips were pressing furiously against mine.  I felt his tongue trying to slip in, to get between my teeth and I quickly opened up to him.  There was a desperate passion to his kissing that I had never experienced before, and soon I was as caught up in it as he was.

Finally, we had to break off to catch our breath.  I had my arms wrapped around Jesse's slender form,  but he was passionately grabbing fistfuls of my long brown hair.

"Perry, I love you so much," he said with an intensity that shocked me even though he had spoken the words many times before.  "You're so precious to me, so precious..."  I thought he was going to cry and I could feel his body trembling.

I didn't understand the sudden desperation in Jesse's affection and it frightened me.

"I love you too," was all I could think to say in response, although it sounded so inadequate compared to Jesse's emotion laden declarations.

"If I didn't have you, Perry, I don't know what I'd do--I really don't..."

After another long embrace, we ended up sitting on the side of the hill for the rest of the lunch period, staring down at the school and the quiet neighborhood surrounding it.  We sat right next to each other, holding hands the  whole time, and occasionally turning to exchange passionate kisses.  Our emotions were running so high that I didn't even become the least bit aroused, and that was certainly a first for me.

We heard the passing bell ring, and picked ourselves up.  I started to brush the dirt off my pants when Jesse pushed my hands away.

"I'll do that," he explained as he brushed the sandy soil off my khaki Dockers.  At some point, he wasn't brushing any more and his hands were just gently  rubbing my butt through the fabric of my pants.

I turned my head inquisitively to see what he was doing.

"I'll just keep your ass--the rest of you can go," Jesse teased, an impish smile on his face.

I was glad to see that his mood had improved.  We started heading down the hill, knowing that we'd be at least a few minutes late for Mr. Walsh's riveting Geography lesson.

Jesse paused before we got to the bottom of the hill.  He took my hand in his and rubbed it tenderly.

"Tell Morgan what he wants to know," he said with quiet conviction.

 We had basketball practice that afternoon right after school.  The normal routine was for all of us to change into our uniforms in the boy's bathroom.  There were only six stalls though and twelve guys on the team.  Of course, being an eighth grader, I was always able to get a stall.  Despite everything Jesse and I had done together, I was still extremely uncomfortable getting undressed in front of anyone, even in an innocuous setting like this.  The rest of the guys would either have to wait for a stall to become available, or just change out in the middle of the long, tiled room.  This time, when I came out in my uniform with the only thing left to do was to tie my laces, I was a little stunned to see Reggie Colbert standing right in front of the stall I had been changing in.

Reggie was the tallest boy in the seventh grade, nearly the same height as Eric Adams and about an inch and a half shorter than Morgan.  He had been a scrawny sixth grade bench warmer last year, but had shot up at least four inches over the summer.  Even though he was a bit lanky, he was a stunningly good looking kid.  He had a shaggy mop of  brown hair accented by blond highlights in the front, that always looked like it had been blow dried to perfection, although I suspected that he didn't even have to do anything to get his hair to look so flawless!  His very boyish face was accented by dark brown eyebrows and cobalt blue eyes (just like Jason Tarentino's).  He also had the deepest tan of any kid at St. Boniface--and it wasn't just his face and arms either.  His narrow torso and long bony legs were equally colored a smooth golden brown.  His limbs and even his cheeks were covered with the lightest coating of nearly transparent blond hair.

The reason I was stunned was because he was standing there in nothing but his briefs and socks.  When he saw my surprised expression, he giggled self consciously.

"Hey, Perry!" he said cheerfully in a slightly squeaky, nasal voice as he scooped up his backpack and his basketball sneakers and slipped by me to finish dressing in the stall.  I wondered what the point was since he was already parading around in his underwear, but maybe he didn't like tying his shoes in front of others.  As he passed right by me, I got a whiff of musky boy scent that lingered in my nostrils, even as I stepped back outside.

As I made my way out to the court, all those disconcerting and conflicting feelings began to surge through me again.  While I had no problem whatsoever being sexually intimate with Jesse, I had pretty much put aside any lustful thoughts about other guys.  Certainly Tom, who seemed to have some kind of feelings for me, didn't arouse any physical passion in me.  Jason Tarentino had taken me by surprise, but he was at least two years older, and had a natural charm and charisma that would catch anyone's attention, not just those who had homosexual tendencies.  But I realized that I was getting hard thinking about Reggie standing there, the bright whiteness of his skimpy white underpants and socks contrasting so startlingly with his rich brown tan.  And while he didn't have that pungent and tangy smell of boy sweat that he would after a two hour basketball practice, he did have that musky aroma we all did after sitting in our stuffy classrooms in our polo shirts and Dockers all day long.  And for some reason, it struck me as

"Hey, bud--you okay?"

I was shaken out of my walking daze by Morgan's concerned voice.  I stared blankly at his long face and concerned dark green eyes, eyes that always looked like they were set just a little too close together on either side of a long curving nose.  As quickly as I had become aroused, my hardness dissipated as I was shaken from my reverie.

"I'm fine--uh--can we talk after practice?"

"Sure, dude," Morgan responded cheerfully, giving me a firm pat on the back.

For some reason, during the practice, I kept stealing glances at Reggie.  Like me, he had thick wavy hair that was probably a bit too long, and like me, he wore a headband to keep the hair and sweat out of his eyes.  Once he caught me staring and just gave me a shy little smile of bright white teeth as he wiped off some sweat that had beaded on his turned up nose.

I started imagining what it would be like to feel that smooth brown skin of his and what it would be like to pull off those white and black Nikes and those damp, sweaty socks and get a whiff of those long and slender feet.  Why was I suddenly so turned on by this kid that until now, had barely registered on my radar screen?  I already had the most beautiful boy in the world in love with me, and Reggie didn't even come close in that department.  Yet I couldn't deny the way he stirred up my hormones, and he did keep smiling at me in that awkward boyish way and...

"Oof!" I staggered backwards as a basketball bounced right off my head.  I barely managed to recover my footing, narrowly avoiding falling flat on my ass on the hard asphalt.  I dazedly looked around to see where the unexpected projectile had originated.

Artim was standing across the court from me, his eyes wide with surprise.

"Shit, Perry--I'm sorry," he called, immediately garnering a chilling glare from Coach Riegert.  Swearing on the court was a potentially  punishable offense.  This was a Catholic school after all.

I waved him off.  "I'm okay.  Just spaced out for a second," I explained.

Fortunately, the throbbing pain in my head kept me from lapsing back into hormone overload for the rest of the practice, but it disturbed me for any number of reasons.  But this wasn't the time to ponder those things.  I first had some uncomfortable business to take care of with Morgan.

I usually caught the shuttle bus that stopped at the school a little before five and left me a couple of blocks from home, but Morgan said he'd call his mom to pick us up after we were done with our little talk.

We sat in the bleachers next to the basketball court.  Eric Adams came by to say hi and wish us all luck for tomorrow's home game against the St. Matthew's Saints, a team from San Juanito.  We saw Artim go skateboarding off with Manny, who had shown up a few minutes before the end of practice, having changed into his baggy jeans and fatigue jacket.  He even had an ear ring on.  I saw the coach glare after them disapprovingly.

It was getting dark, and the coach warned us that he'd be shutting off the tall court lights in a couple of minutes.

"No problem, coach," Morgan assured him.

He thanked us for a great practice and wished us luck for tomorrow night's game.  So far, we were undefeated, and if we won tomorrow's game, we'd clinch a playoff berth in the Central San Diego County Catholic Basketball Conference Junior League (say that three times in a row as fast as you can!).

"I checked it out with Jesse, and he said it'd be okay to tell you this stuff," I prefaced.  "The only thing is, please don't tell anyone else what I'm going to tell you," I pleaded nervously.  I knew Morgan was anxious to hear the truth, the whole story, and I was determined to give it to him--at least about the blackbelt stuff.

"If anyone brings it up, I'll just say that I don't know any more about it than they do--cool?" he asked.  He patted my shoulder in an encouraging way.

Morgan's word was as good as gold to me so I nodded. I first told him about the incident at the mall with Julio and his buddies.  It never failed to stir up strong emotions in me, and I purposely left out the most important part--the part where Jesse and I hugged.  That had truly been the watershed moment for me, when I knew that we were bound for a closer and deeper relationship, and it was something I would cherish in my heart forever.

"The funny thing was, my mom didn't even have a clue!"  I said, finding that it wasn't as difficult to share this with Morgan as I had feared it might be.  It was a thrilling, heroic story, and I was enormously proud of Jesse.  "She just asked how we liked the movie!" I laughed.

"Shit, I'm sorry I missed that!" he said, shaking his head in amazement.  He actually had wanted to go with us that evening, but had begged off because of an early Saturday morning swim meet.

Then I told him about running into Julio and his friend, Gus, at Kennedy High, but left out the part about the cage fight.  It still scared me just thinking about that.

"I've seen second degree blackbelts at Derek's school," Morgan said.  "They're incredible.  They can break boards and bricks and do flips and spin in the air and use weapons--how could Jesse be that good when he's like just thirteen?" Morgan asked incredulously.

I shrugged and then told him what Jesse had told me, that Gus had been holding back.  I had serious doubts about that, but I realized that I wasn't going to get anymore about it from Jesse.

"Why would he do that?" Morgan asked.

"Well...uh...I guess he was just messing with us," I explained clumsily.   "I mean, I don't know much about any of this martial arts stuff, but I think Jesse is more what you'd call a street fighter.  He says he doesn't like competitions and maybe he's not into all that board breaking and shit like that," I speculated.

"Things must've been really rough for him back in Illinois," Morgan speculated sympathetically.

"I think so too," I said, trying not to let myself get too emotional.  Jesse's past frightened me.  It had taken a sweet, pure hearted angel of a boy and turned him into a tough and cynical street warrior, always on his guard, wary of strangers, and much wiser from his brutal experiences than any thirteen year old should have to be.

Being the middle of November, it was already getting dark as we sat there on the bleachers, still in our basketball uniforms.  Even with my hooded jacket and sweatpants on, I was starting to shiver from the cold.  I suggested Morgan call his mom, and I would finish up the story before she arrived.

It was hard to describe to him what had happened in the church hall bathroom that morning of the rummage sale.  Not only was I embarrassed to tell him what Goreski wanted of me, but I was ashamed at my inability to deal with the situation on my own.

"I was such a wuss, just whimpering like a baby," I told him disconcertedly.   "I keep going over it in my head and asking myself why I didn't do something," I  said, trying to convey my sense of frustration and self-disappointment.

"Perry, you're kidding me, right?" Morgan said, putting a caring hand on my shoulder.  "This huge brute of a guy--and believe me, I know, I've seen him wrestle--grabs you and forces you into a stall, wanting you to suck his massive dick, and you're beating yourself up about not doing anything about it?"

That seemed to sum it up pretty well, so I nodded.

"Do you know what that guy would've done to you if you'd given him any shit?" Morgan asked passionately.  He shook his head in a scolding way.  "You did the best you could under the circumstances and it's lucky you didn't get seriously hurt--shit, I'd kill the guy, Perry, if he had hurt you--I swear..."  His voice had taken on a tone of angry passion as he cursed Fred Goreski.

That was a side of Morgan I hadn't seen before.  He was really getting upset and I think he meant it when he said he'd take Goreski on.

"Thanks, Morgan, that's really nice of you to say that," I said, although the intensity of his anger scared me a little.

"I'm totally serious, bud," he assured me, patting me firmly on the shoulder.

We only had a few minutes before Morgan's mom would be showing up, so we started walking slowly to the parking lot, which was still lit.  I told him everything about how Gary had rescued me from Goreski, and then how Jesse had rescued Gary from Goreski!

"That's an amazing story," Morgan said in wonderment.  "Like something out of a movie..."

"A really cheap movie!" I said, trying to lighten the moment.

"Shit, I'm so glad you weren't hurt...and Jesse--God, he must really have guts to stand up to a huge bear like Goreski."

"He's very brave," I assured him.

Morgan gave me a slightly worried look when I said that, and then nodded in agreement.  He smiled with sudden realization.

"So that's why Van Driesen was so willing to help you guys out with your little make out session, huh?" he said, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

I nodded.

"It's just mind boggling that you guys could go from some totally scary shit like that in the morning, to making out with Jessica and Clarissa a few hours later," Morgan said, as we saw the Kipner's minivan pull into the lot.  "I still can't  get over Jesse--I mean, when I saw you guys that day, I was just blown away that shy little Jesse could make such a serious impression on a walking sex machine like Clarissa--and he was so cool, just shooting the shit like he did that sort of thing every day...and now, I find out that he's some kind of amazing street fighting blackbelt..."  He once again shook his head in awed disbelief as we got into the minivan.

"I sure hope I never piss him off," he said, as we took the two captain's chairs in the middle row.  The heater was on and it felt so good on my frozen cheeks.  I couldn't tell by his tone if he was serious or not.  Why would he even think about something like that?

"Jesse's our friend, Morgan," I reminded him in the simplest terms possible.

"You okay?" I asked, sitting on my bed in my sweats and T-shirt, talking to Jesse on my cellphone.  The magical time we had spent on the hill today seemed like a dream now.

"Yeah--I sure am weird, huh?"

While the strange feelings I had about Reggie Colbert loomed large in my mind as I heard Jesse's phone ring, it all seemed to evaporate into thin air the moment I heard his deliciously raspy voice.  "Yeah, you sure are," I agreed quickly.  Actually, our little lunch time rendezvous, while too emotional to be truly sensual, had after the fact, kept me hard all through Geography and Computer Lab.

"Hey!  You were supposed to say that I'm not really weird compared to you!"  Jesse insisted teasingly.

"That's true," I agreed quickly.

"Hey!  You weren't supposed to say that's true!"

"That's true," I agreed quickly.

It took us a while to stop giggling after that.

"Did you get a chance to tell Morgan what a fool I am?" Jesse asked in a more subdued voice.

"He thinks you're great," I assured him.  "I think he wants to have sex with you now," I whispered.

"He's too tall and athletic--I go more for the short and stumpy type!"

"You are weird," I said with a silly grin on my face, hehehe.  Reggie...who?

Our game with St. Luke's was supposed to start  at four thirty.  It was already getting dark, but with all the lights on, there was no problem.  The weather was definitely getting autumnal, and I kept my warm-up jacket on whenever I wasn't on the court practicing or whatever.   My mom said she'd take off a little early and try to be there by five.  I think she really liked seeing me in action on the court.  I'd been more of a bookworm back in La Jolla, and once all the bad things starting happening with my dad, I withdrew even more from the social life at my school.

Morgan had seemed strangely distracted all day, and had been unusually quiet, almost formal with Jesse at lunch.  I didn't know if he was afraid my beautiful blond angel was going to kick his ass or what, but I had been hoping that by telling him about Jesse's heroic exploits, it might bring the two of them closer together.  Instead, there seemed to be some sort of distance between them now.

As captain of the basketball team, Morgan spent the last few minutes before the game going over plays and potential strategies with the coach.  We had beat this team last year, so we were confident, with the rockin' crew we had this year, that St. Luke's would be getting on the bus with their heads hung low.

The whole team gathered together and Coach Riegert said a little prayer.  Then we all recited the Lord's Prayer and the coach called out the starting assignments before going over to the sideline.  Before we could break up, Morgan indicated that he had something to say.

"Don't you guys dare get over confident just because we beat them last year!" he warned us.  "I swear I'll beat the crap outta anyone who doesn't give a hundred and ten percent--got it?"

That was a new strategy, and it certainly wasn't characteristic.  Morgan was usually more of the inspirational, 'Let's do it for good ol' St. Boniface,' type, so to hear him actually threatening the players to perform was somewhat disconcerting.

But Eric Adams seemed to take Morgan's aggressive approach in stride, quickly chiming in, "We're with ya, Morgan!"

"Let's kick their asses!" Artim stage whispered to the group.  The coach would never approve of that kind of language on the court, and I'm sure Morgan hadn't discussed his new motivational strategy with Riegert either.  I didn't say anything and just joined in the team chant, ending with "Goooooooooh--CRUSADERS!!"

As we broke and moved to our starting positions, I happened to glance up into the bleachers.  I was stunned to see Jesse and Tom sitting there.  Tom waved and gave me a cheerful smile when he saw me notice them.  This was the first time Jesse had ever come to one of my games.  I felt all the air leave my lungs and my knees grew suddenly weak.  My beautiful blond angel was here to cheer me on!  I glanced over at Reggie Colbert, who was busily engaged in conversation with another seventh grader.  Reggie followed professional sports with a passion and was constantly talking statistics, players, and scores with whoever would listen.  While I clearly recalled the way I had felt yesterday, looking at the gangly seventh grader now, with Jesse just a few yards away, I didn't feel anything unusual going on in my pants--hurray!  I just stood there on the edge of the court thinking that maybe this meant I wasn't homosexual after all--just Jesse-sexual!   I wasn't sure why I felt relieved about that but...It wasn't until the starting whistle blew, that I remembered that I was supposed to be playing basketball!

I felt totally energized by Jesse's presence and barely resisted the temptation to show off.  St. Luke's was actually better than I remembered them being last year, and they definitely kept us on our toes. By halftime, I only had six points to Morgan's fourteen and Eric's ten, but my defense had kept their star center from racking up too many points against us.  It was thirty four to twenty six as I went over to the bleachers to meet my mom.

She had a bottle of Evian waiting for me, and I drank it greedily.  Despite the chilly weather, I was sweating profusely from my exertions.  I smiled as I saw Jesse and Tom come scrambling down from  the top of the same bleacher section.

"You were awesome, Perry!" Tom said excitedly, offering his palm for a high five.  I gave him his slap and he turned to Jesse for one more.

"So this is what you do with that goofy orange ball you're always messing around with," Jesse said with a shy little giggle.

"It was very cool of you to come," I said, choosing my words carefully because my mom and Tom were all right there.

"I just got done with tutoring, and I thought I'd wander over and see what all the hubbub was about," Jesse explained.

"Morgan is playing very aggressively today," my mom commented.  I had noticed it too.  He'd already been fouled twice, and according to the rules, if he got called one more time, he'd be out of the game.  Still, his halftime total was impressive, and St. Luke's had made us work for every basket.

I heard the coach give a short blast on his  whistle.  He was ready to give his assessment of the first half, and his refined strategy for the second half.  I said my goodbyes and headed back to where the rest of the team was starting to huddle.

"Wait up!" I heard a raspy voice call.

I turned and it was Jesse.  The powerful court lights gave his long blond hair an almost unearthly glow, and that combined with the lights' reflection in his crystal blue eyes, reminded me uncannily of my fictional alien friend, Jerrin.

"I've really got to go," I reminded him, even though I would have loved to just take him in my arms and give him a big hug.

"I know.  I just wanted to be sure that I was...ah...not distracting you or anything--not that you haven't been playing great, but I can leave if you think that would be best."

"You're kidding, right?" I asked.

Jesse shrugged and looked at me sheepishly.

"Just don't go anywhere.  After the game, we'll get something to eat and my mom'll drop you off, 'kay?"  I suggested, using my big puppy dog eyes for all they were worth to help persuade him.

Jesse just smiled and leaned into my ear.  "Good luck, Perry--you look so hot out there, I feel like I'm going to tear a hole in my Dockers!" he whispered.

I just shook my head and hurried off to join the team huddle.

The second half seemed to be more of a struggle.  Morgan's playing was becoming more erratic and he missed as many baskets as he made.  I noticed him glancing more and more over at Derek and a big shouldered man who I was pretty sure was Mr. Kipner.  I also found Jesse's concerns to be self fulfilling as I found myself constantly glancing his way.  It was a good thing my mom was sitting in the lower bleachers right in front of Tom and Jesse, so it didn't look like I was just staring at my boyfriend all the time!

God, he was beautiful in the lights, and I loved having him here, sharing one of the true joys of my life.   It had been Morgan of course who had first persuaded me to join the basketball team last year. He had even worked with me at school and at home, refining my technique.  I was very grateful for the way he had taken me under his wing when I first showed up at St. Boniface, and I was glad that I had been able to share at least a little of what Jesse Taylor was really about with him.

I had been disappointed at lunch today when the two of them seemed suddenly uncomfortable with each other.  Of course I understood that Jesse had wanted to keep his martial arts abilities a secret, but Manny and Artim had made that impractical if not impossible.  Why Morgan had been acting so distant, and was behaving so aggressively now was something I didn't understand, but then again, if people knew all the jumbled and conflicting thoughts that flitted through my head every waking moment of the day--they'd think I was crazy!

I glanced over at Jesse one more time, marvelling at what a complex human being he was: so handsome, so intelligent, so funny, so quick and agile, and yet riddled with doubt and insecurity, even self-loathing...

I heard shouting followed by the referee's whistle blowing and was jolted from my fourth quarter reverie.  We were still ahead, 44 to 40, but the visitors seemed to be gaining on us.  Apparently  there had been another foul.

Much to my distress, I saw Morgan standing over a fallen St. Luke's player.

"That's it, Kipner--three fouls and you're OUT!" the referee shouted loudly.

"No way, no fuckin' way!" Morgan bellowed in the short man's face.  I heard the crowd murmur.  This was a small Catholic school, and that sort of language was not tolerated under any circumstances.

"He tripped--the clumsy moron tripped over his own stupid feet!" Morgan insisted, screaming at the top of his lungs.

By now, the St. Luke's player had gotten to his feet and had joined the argument, but Morgan was the only one shouting loud enough to be clearly heard.

"You're a fuckin' liar!" Morgan screamed, and actually pushed the other player quite forcefully.

By now, Coach Riegert had come onto the court.  He was obviously trying to talk Morgan into coming with him, but Morgan just shrugged the shorter man off.  I moved in a little closer along with the rest of the team.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing or hearing.  I had never seen Morgan lose his temper before.

The referee blew his whistle again, trying to keep things from getting totally out of control.  The coach, actually a couple of inches shorter than Morgan, firmly grabbed the boy's arm and pulled him off the court.  Once on the sideline, Morgan seemed to loose all his energy and he just slumped on the bench.  There was no way he was going to be allowed back in this game, and I was afraid that his outburst was going to cost him even more.

That's when I noticed a tall, husky figure approach the bench.  As he came into the light, I recognized Morgan's father.  Tagging along behind him was the elfin figure of Derek.  Morgan's dad talked to the coach for a few minutes, and we all stood around waiting to see what was going to happen.

"Whoa, Morgan's really up shit creek now," Artim said, and it was more a statement of his own shock and surprise than an accusation against the team captain.

I saw Morgan shaking his head weakly as his dad spoke to him.  The coach blew his whistle and called us over.  Of course, Morgan was out of the game, and it looked like his dad was going to take him home. Now that I was closer, I saw that Morgan's face was wet with tears.  It made me shudder to see him like that.

Eric Adams was put in charge for what little there was left of the game.  The coach's advice was obvious: maintain a strong defense and play out the clock.   But it was hard to concentrate after the frightening incident.  It felt like we had been deprived of our leader and it was more than an idle distraction for all of us.  I missed several turnarounds and came within a hairsbreadth of committing a foul myself.  The other players seemed to be in the same boat, and in a matter of ten minutes, the game was tie, 52 all.

Coach Riegert called a time out and gave us a new play, one we had only practiced a couple of times before.  We all kept glancing over at the bench, but Morgan and his dad were nowhere to be seen.  Coach urged us to focus on the game, but we could see that he was as shaken as the rest of us.

We played furiously for the last few minutes, managing to only score once, but also keeping St. Luke's from scoring.  With only five seconds remaining, St. Luke's tied us again, but I was on it, leaping towards the basket to scoop it away before anyone else knew what was happening.  I dribbled furiously down the court looking for Eric, who I was supposed to pass it to according to the coach's plan.  But much to my horror, Eric stumbled, seeming to just trip over his own feet.  He tumbled  roughly onto the pavement.  No one else from our team was even in position, so I had to go for it.  I was more than twenty feet from the basket as I stopped dribbling, aimed, and desperately launched the ball into the air.

Despite my headband, there was so much sweat in my eyes, I couldn't even tell if I had made the basket or not.  I heard the ball thud against the backboard and hit the rim.  The referee's whistle blew loud and long, signalling the end of the game.  Then I heard Eric's voice loud and clear as he yelled, "YES!"  and--dare I say it--the crowd roared!  We won, 56 to 54.  I wiped the sweat from my eyes and looked into the bright court lights, searching for Jesse.  I felt a thrill of pride threaten to overwhelm me as I saw my beautiful blond angel leap to his feet, his arms raised triumphantly in the air.  And strangely enough, just below him, my mom, still in her office clothes, was doing the exact same thing!

Soon, guys were patting me on the back and looking for high fives.  But it all seemed so unreal to me, Morgan kicked out of the game for completely losing his cool, Jesse watching me play for the first time ever, and even Eric Adams falling over himself just before I was going to pass him the ball.  In fact, I already heard some of the guys on our team mumbling that Morgan had been fouled unfairly--that the St. Luke's kid had done the same thing as Eric-- just tripped over his own feet.  It was too late now and the damage had been done.

"That was awesome, Perry!" Reggie said with a wide grin on his perspiration coated face.  He certainly had a nice smile...

The coach came and shook my hand and patted me on the back.  I asked him about Morgan.

"I don't know what got into him tonight," he said, as puzzled as the rest of us.  "There was obviously more to it than just a bad call," he said, indicating that he also felt that Morgan had been in the right. "But I'm afraid he's gonna have to sit out the next game..." I heard several other team mates groan at this disappointing news.  "If he just hadn't lost his cool like that..." Coach Riegert said, shaking his head sadly.  I was disappointed that Morgan wasn't here to see my winning basket.  I think he would've been proud, having spent so much of his own time over the past year helping me to hone my skills.

Tom and Jesse came up, all smiles, and I couldn't help but enjoy the brief moment of triumph and celebration.

"I was sweating so much, I don't know how I even hit the basket," I told them.  "I think I need to get a haircut!"  My wavy, dysfunctional hair was definitely getting way too long, and even though I wore a headband, the shaggy mop caused me to perspire profusely.

Suddenly Jesse and Tom both lost their smiles.  "You're kidding, right?" Tom asked with such an intense look of concern that I felt like laughing.  The only thing that kept me in check was Jesse's equally appalled expression.

Morgan didn't show up for school the next day, which wasn't too surprising.  It seemed like the whole school was talking about it.  Even those who didn't know Morgan well, knew that he was the best all around athlete in the school and one of the nicest guys around.  He was well liked and respected by everyone at St. Boniface and Sister Mary Margaret even said a prayer for him during our morning devotions.

At lunch, people were coming up to ask me about Morgan as much as to congratulate me on my winning basket, and that was okay since making that last desperate shot go in had felt like dumb luck anyway.

The day dragged on and on, with the weather seeming to reflect the overall mood of the school as a sunny fall morning slowly turned into a cloudy and dreary autumn afternoon.  In addition to worrying about Morgan, I was also dreading a weekend without Jesse.  He would be babysitting his little sister on Saturday, and then spending Sunday at his aunt's in Oceanside.  It was late in the school day before something  was finally able to lift my spirits somewhat.

We were working with clay in art class today.  Each of us had our own little clump of the pliable reddish stuff.  As I watched Jesse sculpting an old fashioned rocketship--one of those upright, smooth, cylindrical types with fins on the bottom--it occurred to me that he was actually shaping something else...something very familiar...

And then it happened.  It started with a tense little spasm in my gut, then became a tightness in my chest, and then turned into a snicker that shot up my throat, bypassed my mouth and went right into my nose!  Everyone turned to see why I had made such a loud, ridiculous noise.  Jesse gave me an odd look before returning to his sculpture.  My face was red with embarrassment, but I just fixed my gaze on my own clay rendition of a rather rickety looking Gandalf the Wizard.

When no other strange noises were forthcoming, everyone went back to their own projects.  I started glancing at Jesse's little sculpture again and I noticed that he was shaping the nosecone, rounding it off and separating it from the rest of the cylinder with a raised ring, smoothing it and stroking it and caressing it like...

Damn--there was that noise again!  Sister Mary Luellen scowled at me from beneath her habit.

"Is there a problem, Mr. Thompson?" she asked.

Yes, I wanted to say.  Jesse Taylor is sculpting a rocketship that actually looks like a penis--in fact I think it's supposed to be a model of my penis, and he's stroking it and caressing it and turning me on in a big, big way!  But I didn't think that would go over well.  I decided to ask for a bathroom pass instead.

Once I got outside,  I rushed to the bathroom, banged the swinging door open, and headed straight for a stall. I  bolted the door, leaned against it and started laughing--laughing hysterically in fact.  It had been so unbelievably funny.  Jesse hadn't smiled, or spoken or anything.  He had just sat there with a perfectly straight face, making that damn phallic symbol out of clay and playing with it in the most sensual way possible, knowing perfectly well  that I was looking on.

"Hey Perry--are you sick?" came a familiar raspy voice accompanied by a familiar pair of brown Vans with big floppy white bows.

I had just started calming down, and now the hysterical laughter erupted from my aching gut all over again.  I could barely catch my breath.

"Do you want me to get a teacher?" he teased.  "You're not being a stupid dumb fucking moron again, are you?" he asked with exaggerated weariness.

I opened the stall and pulled him in.  My lips were clamped to his before the stall door had a chance to swing all the way closed.  Pressing him against the metal door, I clamped my lips over his, enjoying the wide-eyed look of astonishment on his face as I began sucking desperately at his mouth.  In moments, we were passionately frenching, and our hands actively rubbed up and down each other's bodies.  Soon, I could feel his hardness press against my own and I thrust my hips into his crotch, desperately wanting to make physical contact.

Jesse had to finally push me off.  His eyes were still wide and his long blond hair was a mess.

"What's going on?" he asked, the big smile on his face showing that he was not really very concerned.

"You and your stupid rocketship!" I said, giving him a playful shove.

"What?" he asked innocently.  "You don't like spaceships?"

I studied his naive expression and it finally dawned on me that it had all been perfectly innocent--or at least subconscious...I was the one who saw the phallic symbol and responded to it that way!  Still, it made me burst into loud chortles again and Jesse just stood their smiling, enjoying my silliness.

"It didn't exactly look like a spaceship to me," I explained breathlessly.  "I thought it was..."

He looked at me in a totally confused way and I finally put my hand on his crotch.   He had a serious erection happening by this time, and I squeezed it lightly through the fabric of his Dockers.

A sudden flash of understanding caused his eyes to light up in the most beautiful way.  "That's gross!" he said twisting his face into a horrible visage of disgust, "...But don't stop..."

Five minutes later, we were both back at our table, working on our sculptures.  Suddenly, I heard Jesse snicker...

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