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 5  Confrontation

The next day was one of the most difficult ever.  I didn't even want to get out of bed.  I had no appetite, and I forced myself to eat, just so my mom wouldn't think there was something wrong.  The problem was, I think she already suspected that something had happened yesterday that I hadn't told her.  Even though Morgan had been the one to tell her those stories, it felt to me like I had lied to her face.  And it wasn't like the lies I might tell to protect my relationship with Jesse.  This time, I wasn't even sure if it was right to keep these things from her.  What if Morgan did have a drinking problem?  What if he lost his temper again, maybe with Derek, or Tom, or Katy?  Could I just stand by and wait for something to happen?  How would I feel then?  There were no clear answers to any of these questions, and still I didn't say anything.  I had to hope that Jesse would know what to do...

In homeroom, Morgan looked pale and sullen.  I saw a few of the guys from the team approach him, and it looked like they were just trying to tell him that everything was still cool and he was still the Man, but he seemed to be pushing them away.  Usually, when we went to our other classes, Morgan would hover close to Katy.  Today he didn't, and I could tell that she was as perplexed and frustrated as anyone.  I doubted that Morgan would have told her about the pictures he had found in his brother's room.

The most disturbing thing was that Jesse didn't show up until half way through Math, and while he would always be the hottest looking guy in class--even if he was dressed in a burlap bag and had his hair gnawed off by a rampaging beaver, there was no question that he was not looking his best this morning.  It looked to me like he hadn't slept well-or at all--last night.

Before Science, Tom came up to me and spoke quietly.

"What's going on?" he asked with concern.  "Morgan looks so sad, and Jesse looks...really tired or something."

It seemed to me that there was no way I could let this business go much further.  Tom was firm in his belief that he was gay, and since he couldn't be with me, he wanted to be with Derek.  The danger in that plan now seemed perfectly clear.  Whether or not Derek was the least bit interested in Tom, or boys, or sex, or whatever, the fact was that if Morgan found out that Tom was putting the moves on his little brother, I had no doubt my naive Hispanic friend would be in serious physical danger.

"Morgan really felt bad about what happened at the game," I explained as briefly as I could.  "I think it's gonna take him awhile to get over it.  The best thing is probably to just leave him alone."

Tom nodded, and then shrugged.  "And Jesse?" he asked.

I shook my head and sighed.  "Look, Tom.  I think it's really important that you and me and Jesse get together and just have a good long talk."

He nodded, his eyes lighting up a little.  I hoped he didn't think I was coming on to him or anything, but then again, I felt sorry for this cute, sweet boy who seemed to have so much love to give, and nobody to give it to...

"I'd like that," he said.

"We'll figure something out at lunch maybe...Don't say anything to anybody, okay?"

He nodded and we took our seats.

At lunch, Morgan was nowhere in sight.  The sun had finally come out to dry things up and even though it was chilly, it felt good to be outside.  Jesse, Tom, and I sat at our normal table, but before we could get any kind of conversation going, Derek joined us.

"Hey Jesse, you don't look so good," he said, sitting next to his tutor and pulling out his sandwich.

"I guess I didn't sleep too well last night," Jesse responded in a patient but weary voice. 

Of course I knew why.  What I wanted to know was how Jesse felt about it.  Was he angry at Morgan for hitting me? Was he worried for Derek and Tom the way I was?  Jesse had warned me the first time I had revealed Tom's desire to 'out' himself to Derek, that it wouldn't turn out well.  Now I could vividly see his prediction coming to life in the most horrible way.

"We're gonna shoot hoops," Derek said, indicating some of his seventh grade friends who were already walking towards the empty court.  "Do you guys want to play?" he asked hopefully, looking at all three of us.

"Where's your brother?" I asked.

"Um...well, he wasn't feeling good.  He said he was just going to catch up on some stuff in the library," Derek explained.  It didn't sound like he knew that Morgan had discovered his secret pictures of Jesse.  I wondered what, if any explanation, Morgan had given his family about his outburst at the game on Thursday.

"Go and play," Tom suggested.  "I gotta talk to my buds," he said in a kindly, almost parental way.

Derek looked a little disappointed and he glanced once more at Jesse as he got up.  "I hope you feel better, Jesse..." he said with obvious concern.  "I'll work hard on those problems you gave me--uh...maybe we can talk later...'kay?"

Jesse nodded and offered Derek a somewhat restrained smile.  Any sign of disappointment vanished quickly from Derek's bright young face as he bounced off to join his friends on the basketball court.  We all watched him go, and there was an awkward silence at the table.  I really wanted to talk to Jesse alone, but right now,  this seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk to Tom.  We both looked at him expectantly.

"Did you guys want to talk about something?" he asked innocently.

"Tom," I said, speaking in hushed tones which were almost completely absorbed by the surrounding pine and oak trees, and the distant chatter of other kids.  "Jesse knows everything that you told me, just like we discussed, okay?"  I revealed to him for the first time.

Even though he must have suspected this before, Tom turned a little pale as he glanced nervously across the table at Jesse.

"You're secret's safe with me," Jesse assured him solemnly.

Tom just nodded, still clearly uncomfortable.  "Does he know what we did...?" he asked me hesitantly.

"You mean, what we almost did," I emphasized, trying to add a little levity to what was bound to be yet another heavy conversation.

"I feel so stupid about that..." he mumbled.

I didn't want to get into that whole business again.  I knew Tom wanted to get into my pants, and I hadn't entirely ruled out the possibility, but there were more important concerns to deal with.  It would have really helped to know what Jesse was thinking.  I wanted to warn Tom about Morgan, but I also didn't want to have to tell him what Morgan had done to me, or a year earlier, what he had done to Derek.  I looked at Jesse with pleading eyes.

"You know that Derek has some kind of crush on me," Jesse said, his comment clearly directed to Tom.

"Well, I...uh..." he stammered.  Finally, he nodded reluctantly, glancing at me to see my reaction.   I just gave him the slightest nod of solidarity.

"It's a very difficult situation for me," Jesse explained patiently.  "I'm going to have to put a stop to it somehow, but I don't want to hurt his feelings."

"But that could work out great!" Tom said, always the optimist.  "When he's all sad and stuff about you, I could step in and tell him how I feel about him--then he'll be happy again for sure!"

"No, Tom--you can't do that!" I blurted out with the grace of a nine hundred pound gorilla stomping through a bed of rare orchids.

"But...why?" he asked frustratedly.

Sometimes when I talked to Tom, it seemed like I was talking to a ten year old rather than a peer who was only three months younger than me.  How could I explain without telling him about Morgan?

"Derek isn't ready for that kind of relationship," Jesse offered.  He spoke in a matter of fact sort of way with little hint of whatever emotions he was feeling inside.

"How do you know?" Tom asked petulantly.

"I''ve...uh..." Jesse was having difficulty saying what he wanted to say, but there was a look of determination on his weary face.  "I've had some experience with kids like him, back in Illinois," he finally admitted.

It was a somewhat ambiguous statement, yet rife with unspoken implications.  Tom looked at me for clarification, but I just shrugged stupidly.

"You can't predict how Derek will react," Jesse explained.

Tom looked like he was about to cry.  His big brown eyes glistened with pooling moisture and his lower lip trembled.

"And Morgan would find out for sure!" I warned him.

"You saw what he was like the other night," Jesse pointed out.

I wasn't sure that we had handled that as delicately as we could have, but we had said what had to be said, and hadn't revealed anything indiscreet about Morgan.  Tom had seen Morgan lose his temper at the game, and he could certainly put two and two together.  But he still seemed to be struggling with it.  I felt so sorry for him.  Here was a boy who had discovered, through his feelings for me, that he was gay.  For over a year, he had kept those feelings bottled up, never finding the opportunity or the nerve to approach me.  Only after he had heard about my fictional girlfriend back in La Jolla, had he worked up the resolve to reveal his secret to me.

"Derek's my friend--you don't know him as well as I do," Tom persisted stubbornly.  I wasn't sure if he was addressing Jesse or me.

"Tom, we're trying to help you, to keep you from getting hurt," I explained gently.  I even patted him comfortingly on the shoulder.

Tom shrugged me off.  "Maybe Jesse is just trying to keep Derek for himself!" he suggested angrily

For a moment, I saw Jesse's sapphire eyes flare up.  I had this outrageous vision of Jesse reaching over and grabbing Tom by the collar and flinging him bodily over the table.  But his expression quickly changed to something more neutral.

"Do you think I'm gay?" Jesse asked in a barely audible whisper.  It was undeniably a challenge, and he locked Tom stalwartly in his steely eyed gaze.

Tom visibly cringed.  He immediately shook his head and sagged a little in his seat.

Well, here was an awkward moment...

"It's not fair," Tom said in the most pathetic voice imaginable.

While Jesse's expression remained unreadable, I felt myself getting emotional.  I thought about that Star Trek movie where Data could turn his emotion chip on and off at will.  I wondered where I could get me one of those...

"Tom, we're you're friends...and we'd do anything for you," I assured him.

He scowled at us across the table.  "If you were my friends, you'd want Derek and me to get together!" he hissed, and got up and raced for the bathroom.

Jesse and I just sat there in shocked silence.  How had this become such a big mess?

"Tom is for sure going to make a move on Derek," I predicted glumly.

"Yeah, I think you're right," Jesse sighed resignedly.

An idea suddenly occurred to me, and I leaned across the table so there was no chance of anyone else overhearing what I had to say.

"What if we gave Tom what he wanted?" I suggested.

"He wants Derek," Jesse reminded me.

"He wants me too...and I bet he'd love to do you too--who wouldn't?"

Jesse actually blushed.  He shook his head skeptically.  "You're saying we should throw Tom some sort of...orgy or something in exchange for him laying off of Derek?"

I nodded.  After what I did for Morgan on Sunday, I felt like I owed poor Tom, who had been waiting over a year to be with me.   And if we added Jesse to the pot...

"So you're saying we should let Tom jack us off or suck our dicks or what ever it is he wants to do?"  Jesse asked disbelievingly, all in a very hushed voice of course.

I nodded hesitantly, seeing that  the idea wasn't going over well.

"So I'd have to like, watch Tom do you?" he asked incredulously.

I shrugged.  "I don't know how..."

Jesse shook his head and then, much to my surprise, smiled mischievously at me.

"That would be so hot!" he giggled.

"'d so it?"  I asked hopefully.

Jesse's expression turned more serious.  "Listen, Perry.  I guess I wouldn't mind having a little fun with Tom as long as it didn't jeopardize our own relationship, but I'm telling you it ain't going to solve our problem...or his problem...or whoever's fucking problem this all is!" he finished, his voice getting a little louder as he flung his hands up in the air.

"But why?"  I asked, a little crestfallen.  "The main thing is to keep Tom and Derek from getting hurt, right?"

"Yeah it is--although remember, they both have some martial arts training.  They may not be the helpless kids that you think they are."

Jesse had a good point, but I was also sure that neither Derek nor Tom possessed the lightening fast reflexes or street fighting savvy of my beautiful blond ninja angel.  It seemed to me that a really pissed Morgan would be more than a match for either one of them...

"I don't know..." I said.

"I don't either," Jesse admitted.  "I think you're right that Tom needs to chill, but like I said, I don't think that's necessarily going to solve the problem..."

"Why?" I asked dumbly.

Jesse hesitated.  "Look, I know it's short notice, but do you think I could come by for a little while after school today?  I really need to show you something..."

Gees, did I want Jesse to come to my house after school today...?  Hmmmm...

"I'll call my mom! I said, frantically fishing my cellhone out of my backpack.

"The only thing is, either I need to be back home by five fifteen, or I have to call Mrs. Lopez and see if she'll watch Miranda until I can get back."

"I'll ask my mom if she'll drive you home," I offered.

It seemed like a plan.  Jesse wasn't able to get a hold of Mrs. Lopez, but it was still early in the afternoon.   She could be out shopping or whatever.  There'd be time to try again later.  Even though I knew we had serious things to discuss, the thought of Jesse coming over even for a couple hours made me dizzy with anticipation.

When we went to get our books for our afternoon classes, there was a piece of lavender paper stuck in the door of Jesse's locker.  Well, that wasn't unusual.  While I got a few, Jesse had a whole collection that he kept in a folder on the top shelf of his locker.  He unfolded it and quickly read through it. 

"This is addressed to both of us," he informed me as he handed it over.

It was written in a curvy female hand with hearts carefully drawn in place of the dots on all the 'i's.

Dear Jesse T. and Perry T.,

In case you're wondering who the two hottest boys at our school are, it is you two!  Jesse, you are like so hot!  Like Aaron Carter and Jesse McCartney and Taylor Hanson all rolled into one!  Your golden blond hair looks so silky,  I swear I wish I could touch it.  I really love your beautiful blue eyes.  They seem to sparkle when you look at me!

"Wow..." I muttered out loud.  "I had no idea you were so good looking..." I teased.

"Read on, dude," Jesse said.

And Perry Thompson, what can I say?  You are a super handsome boy, and your long brown hair is so wavy and perfect and yet you are not stuck up or anything.  Instead, you are so sweet, and when I look into your beautiful hazel eyes, I feel all warm and tingly inside.  Every night I dream that Perry is on one side of me, and Jesse is on the other side.  Then I can turn my head and kiss one beautiful boy, and turn my head the other way and kiss another totally hot boy.  You are both so cute and lovable and I hope you will talk to me or ask me out someday. 

"Do you know who this is from?"  I asked curiously.

"Hehe, you're blushing!" Jesse noted.

I shook my head in embarrassment.  I didn't see how anyone could put Jesse and me on the same footing.  Purely on a physical level alone, he was superior in every way: his hair, his eyes, his angelic face, his smile, his slender yet sinewy physique, his beautiful feet...

"That chick needs glasses," I observed.

"Then I guess I must need them too!" Jesse replied sweetly.

Morgan looked sullen all afternoon, and whenever he saw me looking at him, he turned his head or dropped his gaze to the floor.  I was glad to see him talking quietly with Katy after our last class of the day.  I could see by the look in her eyes that she was worried about him.

"Gosh, Perry, you'd think we hadn't been together for weeks," Jesse giggled, as we stood in the parking lot waiting for my mom to arrive.

"Weeks?" I repeated exasperatedly.  "More like months...or even years!"

Jesse shook his head in happy disbelief.

I had told my mom that we had a quick little English project to work on, just to avert her suspicions.  It was becoming really easy for me to lie to my mom when it came to Jesse.  I knew that it wasn't a good thing, but I could think of no practical alternative.  I realized that right now, I was all my mom had in the world.  Of course she had relatives and friends, but I was clearly the focus of her life, of her hopes and dreams.  If I were to reveal to her the true nature of my relationship with Jesse, it would surely tear her apart--her love for me versus her strong religious faith.  I couldn't do that to her right now.  Maybe someday, when my mom had someone really special in her life, I could finally share my secret, and either she'd be able to accept it, or she wouldn't, but at least, she'd have someone else to turn to.

Jesse was able to get a hold of Mrs. Lopez as my mom drove us home.  We would give Jesse a ride to his place when my mom came back from work (again), so that was one little crisis we had solved for the day!  Hmm, I wondered how many other 'quick little projects' we could get away with...

"Hungry?" I asked, after my mom pulled out of the driveway.

"Only for you," he said with a warm smile.  He delicately brushed my cheek where Morgan had so forcefully slapped me yesterday.  Of course, it didn't hurt any more and there wasn't even a mark.  His fingers sent a thrilling tingle through my face and down my neck.

Who could resist?  We embraced and soon found ourselves locked in a passionate kiss.  There was no doubt that this was the person I loved--my beautiful, sweet, absolutely delicious tasting, blond angel.  I felt myself getting aroused and Jesse delicately pushed us apart.

"You taste so good!" he said, licking his lips before his smile faded a little.  He reached into his backpack and pulled out his Math book.  He opened it and took out a piece of folded white paper.  It looked like another one of his 'love notes.'  I wondered what was so special about this one.  He handed it to me and I unfolded it.  It looked like it had been printed out from a computer file.

Dear Jesse,

I think you already know how I feel about you.  You are the most awesomest looking boy I have ever seen!  You have the most radical eyes and your hair and your smile just make me all weird inside!  You are so super smart, I can't believe how smart you are!  You are also a very nice and kind person, and you never yell or get angry.  Now I hear that you are an amazing street fighting ninja blackbelt.  I don't know if it's true but I think it is.  That is so totally awesome!  I hope you can teach me some of the things you learned because I am so totally interested in it. 

The reason I am writing you this letter instead of talking to you, is because these things are hard to say out loud.  You are a boy and I am a boy so this is not like talking to a girl or something.  I think about you all the time.  I know this sounds totally whacked but you are so hot and sexy to me.  When I think about you, it gives me a total boner!  Maybe it means I am a fag or a queer, which would really get my dad both upset and pissed, so I hope not.  But what else could it be?   Would I like to see what you look like without any clothes on?  Yes.  Would I like to kiss you on the lips?  Yes.  Would I like to touch you everywhere on your body?  Yes.

Please help me Jesse.  You are so smart and I'm just a really dumb kid.  What should I do?


P.S.  Do you feel the same way about me?

While my head was going for a real spin taking in what I had just read, I also had to grin at the cute little checkmarks penciled in next to each of the 'Yes's.'

"That's quite a checklist," I said with a smile.

"Did you write that, Perry?" he asked worriedly, obviously hoping that it was some kind of twisted joke.

"I wish I had..." I replied rather lamely.  I noted the initials.  "I guess it could be from Deanna Kennedy..."  I offered, referring to the largest and huskiest girl in our class, a close friend of Dana's with a surly personality that she often used to intimidate other kids.

Jesse gave me a lopsided grin and slowly shook his head.  He took the note back, folded it carefully on its crease, and stuck it back in his Math book.

"When did you get that?"  I asked seriously.

"This morning.  It was in my locker."

"From Derek?"

"It's gotta be."

"But it's a printout.  Someone else could have written it as a prank or something," I suggested.

"Awesomest?  That's pure Derek Kipner," Jesse assured me.

"That's amazing that he could write something like that, and then just casually come and sit by us at lunch."

"Yeah, I saw it in his eyes though when he sat down."  Jesse sighed.  "So you see the problem here," he explained weakly.  "Even if Tom is able to keep his hands off of Derek, there's no guarantee that Derek's going to keep his hands off of Tom--or someone else."

"Or you.  Maybe you should just have sex with him," I suggested only half facetiously.

Jesse smiled a little and shook his head.  "No, that would be bad," he stated seriously.  "If you think Tom is immature, than imagine that Derek is about twice as bad.  There's no way I could give him what he wanted.  He'd be telling his friends about it the next day, and by that evening--shit--he'd probably be in the hospital and I'd...I'd have to move again..." he ended sadly.

"You're worried about Morgan?"

"Or maybe even his dad," Jesse added. 

I nodded in agreement.  "I have a feeling that's where Morgan gets his temper from..."

"Let's go sit down," Jesse said tiredly, walking through the kitchen and into the den.

He sat on the big overstuffed sofa, looking small and childlike, his long, golden blond hair drooping onto his face, half masking his features.  In addition to looking like he hadn't slept well, his face clearly displayed his concern and worry.  I sat down right next to him so that our hips touched.  I laid his head on my shoulder and gently stroked his silky  hair.

"Oh, Jesse," I murmured.  "If we could just run away to some deserted island somewhere--just the two of us...I'd be so happy..."

Jesse lifted his head and looked at me thoughtfully.  He stroked my cheek in that way that always sent a tingle through my whole body.

"No you wouldn't," he said.

I was stunned at his denial.  "I love you, Jesse Taylor!" I said resolutely, taking his chin firmly in my hand.

"I know," Jesse said, ever so gently pulling back and resting his weary head on the top of the sofa.  "It's not that.  It's just that I know you, Perry.   You would be constantly worried about your mom and your friends.  You'd never be able to get them out of your mind, no matter what you thought about me.  You'd be screaming to get off that island after a couple of weeks of really hot sex..."

I smiled at that sweet thought and sighed heavily.  He was right of course.  "I love you..." I whispered, leaning my head against his chest.

Jesse started stroking my hair and I felt like I could fall asleep like that.

"I was so worried for you last night," he said softly, his voice filled with the emotional concern of one who was so closely joined that they could feel your pain like it was their own.

"I'm okay," I insisted.  "Morgan was really sorry..."

"That doesn't make it right," Jesse declared, clearly not wanting to hear me defend Morgan.  He sighed.  "I wanted to come over so bad, to just hold you and love you and..."

I felt something wet splash my cheek and I looked up to see tears trickling down Jesse's beautiful face.  His sapphire eyes, wet with moisture, glistened like the precious jewels they so closely resembled.

"I wish I could help him," I said.  "Of course I'm worried about Derek and Tom--you know, he hit Derek once before--about a year ago."

I felt Jesse stiffen, but he continued holding me close so that the sound of his beating heart filled my head.

"But I'm also worried for Katy.  Morgan's getting really frustrated that she won't do the things he wants, and I'm just afraid that one of these days..."

"Perry," Jesse said, sniffling a little as he looked down at me.  "You can't take on all the problems of all the people around you--you just can't."

"But I also can't ignore them," I argued.  Both of us were speaking in hushed but passionate tones, Jesse's voice choked by the powerful emotions he was feeling.

It was Jesse's turn to sigh.  "I have to do something about Derek," he said dismally.

"What if he and Tom did get together?" I asked, getting a little excited by my idea.  I lifted my head off Jesse's chest and sat back on the sofa.  "If they were real careful..."

"Perry, you and I have been very lucky so far.   I'm amazed that no one's caught on to us yet.  I mean, you'd think just the way we look at each other would be enough to give us away..."

I nodded.  Things really had worked out for us so far, but it had only been a couple of months. When you thought about it, we were only thirteen years old; we were in the eighth grade;  we had our entire high school careers ahead of us.  It seemed that the odds had to be hopelessly stacked against us being able to keep our relationship a secret for that long.  Still...

"When we're eighteen, we don't have to care any more!" I told him excitedly.  "We can be together and do whatever we want!  We can even go to Canada and get married!" 

Jesse gave me a weary smile.  It wasn't just the lack of sleep though, it was the experiences he had back in Illinois.  He knew my hopes were based on suburban naivete, and a heart that was all too willing to see the innate goodness in all people. Jesse, of course, knew better, and I was learning slowly...

"If Tom and Derek start getting involved as a couple--if they start having some sort of sexual relationship--someone's going to find out.  Even if they can somehow keep it from Morgan, someone else will find out.  It would turn out bad..."

I felt Jesse shudder and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders once again, as much for my own comfort as his.

"You know, Morgan thinks you're going to beat him up..." I told him, trying to make light of Morgan's fears.

But Jesse didn't say anything and it set off a little warning signal in my brain.  I looked at him, not as my beautiful sweet angel, but as the hardened street kid who had learned to defend himself against gangs and bullies and who, I had no doubt, would do anything or fight anyone to protect me.

"You wouldn't...right?"  I asked fearfully.

I was startled by a sudden sharp sound.  Someone was knocking at the kitchen door.

"Who...?" I asked rhetorically.

We both got up and went in the kitchen.  I could see Morgan peering in through the window.  My heart jumped into my throat.  I looked at Jesse disbelievingly.

Jesse gave me a worried look.  "Don't mention Derek's letter," he whispered, stopping to lean on the counter as I opened the door.

"Hey, Morgan..." I said with a forced smile, doubting my feeble attempt at looking casual was fooling anybody.  I could see his bike propped up in the driveway with his helmet dangling from it.  He must have rode here straight from school.

But Morgan was looking passed me.  "Sorry...I didn't know Jesse was here," he muttered sullenly.

"It's okay," I assured him, gesturing for him to come in.  "I was just telling him about...well...everything."

Morgan winced.  "Everything?" he asked, hesitantly stepping inside.

We all stood there uncomfortably, everyone still dressed in their school clothes, Morgan with his warm-up jacket on.

"Can I get you anything--a Coke or something?" I added quickly.

"Actually, that Sunny D looked pretty good," Morgan said with a sheepish smile.

"Hey, Jesse," Morgan said uncomfortably.  "So Perry...uh... told you what happened yesterday?" he asked nervously as I got his drink.  I also got out a couple of Cokes for Jesse and me.

"Just about Derek's pictures...and Perry jacking you off...and you smacking him in the face..." Jesse said, his raspy voice edged with something undeniably harsh.

Morgan hung his head despondently.  It crushed me to see him like this, my great, super- athletic, self-confident friend, this kind and thoughtful guy who was always there when you needed him, now sullen and broken.  I wished I had just let him jerk me off yesterday.  I probably would've ended up enjoying it, and the matter would've been closed.  Instead, I had panicked, and Morgan, already tipsy from the half bottle of wine he had drunk earlier, simply lost it for for a few brief seconds.  Now it seemed like I was the only one here who seemed anxious to put the matter behind us...

"Look..." Morgan said, taking his hands out of his pockets and holding them palms up.  "I can't defend what I did yesterday.  It's just tearing me up inside.  Perry and I used to be best friends..." he said emotionally.

"Morgan, don't..." I began pleading.

"That's not how you treat a friend," Jesse pointed out coldly.

Morgan glared at Jesse.  "Don't you think I fuckin' know that?" he shouted.  His angry expression collapsed into despondency.  "Don't you think I know...?" he asked in a more painfully quiet voice.  I heard despair, regret, guilt, and anger all mixed into his admission.

Jesse and Morgan just seemed to stare at each other for a few long and uncomfortable moments.  The tired old cliche, 'you could cut the tension with a knife,' came immediately to mind.

I was about ready to call 9-1-1 when Jesse suddenly seemed to relax.  It was like he had retracted his claws or something.  "Yeah, I think you do..." he admitted quietly.

He turned to take the Coke from my trembling hand.  He gave me an emotional look that told me he was ready to forgive.  He took a long drink.    I couldn't help but smile as I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

"Look," Morgan said belligerently, intentionally or unintentionally not picking up on Jesse's change of mood,  "I know you can beat the shit out of me if you want to.  If you can beat up Fred Goreski, I'm no why don't we just get this over with?"  He stood a little taller and moved towards where Jesse stood.  As he got closer, Jesse set his Coke down on the counter.

"Morgan..." I began.

"Don't, Perry!" Morgan warned, his eyes fixed firmly on the smaller blond haired youth in front of him.  "You can't just let me off the hook.  It can't be that easy.  Somehow I have to pay for what I did to you..."  He gritted his teeth and stiffened.  "So come on, Jesse, show me what you got!" 

Morgan suddenly lunged for the smaller boy, and Jesse was forced to defend himself.  He quickly knocked Morgan's extended arms away in one sweeping gesture and stumbled back towards the den.

"I'm not going to do this!" Jesse told him, deliberately taking no defensive stance, letting his arms fall limply at his sides.

"You have to, Jesse!  It's gotta be this way!"  Morgan lunged again, this time grabbing Jesse firmly by the shoulders.

I stiffened, sure that Jesse was going to throw him off; but he just stood there, looking Morgan clearly in the eye.

"C'mon, Jesse!  Do something!" Morgan pleaded desperately as he shook him roughly several times. 

Jesse's blond hair flopped around a little, but he otherwise remained firmly planted. 

"DO IT!" Morgan demanded loudly, actually shoving Jesse forcefully backwards.  Jesse stumbled back into the den, into the open space between the coffee table and the bigscreen TV, and I followed cautiously.  I couldn't believe that Jesse was in any real danger from Morgan, as strong and athletic as he was, after the large brutes I had seen my blond angel bring down.  I was much more concerned for Morgan's well being.

"Morgan, leave him alone--he's not going to..."  I hesitated, as Morgan spun to face me.

For one brief instant, I saw Morgan's eyes burning with fury, his face a rigid mask of cold determination.  Then, much like at the game when he struggled defiantly as the coach practically dragged him off the court, only to collapse weakly onto the bench, he went down on his knees, right at Jesse's feet.  He began making a high pitched whimpering sound, covering his face with his hands.

"Oh...Perry...I'" he gasped in that strangely pinched voice that I had heard for the first time yesterday.

Jesse was breathing heavily and his hair was messed up, but he  seemed otherwise unharmed.  He looked at me and I could see the sympathy there.  I nodded a silent thank you to him for his incredible restraint and he gave me the slightest hint of a smile.  Slowly, he got down on one knee so that he was eye level with Morgan.

"Morgan, you know Perry looks up to you.  It hurts him to see you like this..." he said in a calm and soothing voice.

Morgan just knelt there, his hands over his face, slowly shaking his head.  I could see his body spasming with sobs and could hear him whimpering despairingly.  Jesse hesitantly reached out a hand and touched Morgan's shoulder.   "C'mon, Morgan...It's okay...We know you feel bad about it, but no one's holding it against you...We all make mistakes...It's time to move on--okay?" Jesse pleaded quietly.

Morgan moaned as if he were in physical pain, and lurched over to lean against the wall.  He folded his long legs up and brought his knees to his chest.  He used his sleeve to wipe the tears and mucous from his face.  Jesse came to sit next to him and gestured for me to do the same.  We all sat against the wall, me on one side of Morgan and Jesse on the other.

"This is not who you are," Jesse said resolutely, pulling his knees up and wrapping his arms around them.

"You're wrong, Jesse.  This is who I am!" Morgan said bitterly.

"I'm sorry, Morgan," I said, my throat tight with emotion.  "I just panicked yesterday.   It was my fault.  I was acting like a stupid wuss..."

Morgan didn't look at me, but instead, turned to Jesse.  "Tell him to knock it off, please?" he begged.   "There's no fucking way that Perry was responsible for anything that happened yesterday.  He's the best friend I ever had, and now I've lost him and..."  A huge sob wracked his lean body, and he let his head fall on his knees.  We just waited for him to cry himself out.  After about ten minutes, he seemed to calm down some, but he kept his head bowed the whole time.

"You haven't lost him," Jesse assured him.  "Perry always thinks everything's his fault--he's really kinda dense that way..."  Jesse gave me a knowing wink.

Morgan had to laugh despite himself.  This made him cough, and he took a minute to recover.  He looked first at Jesse and then at me in disbelief.

"Perry, you're totally whacked!" Jesse scolded.  Even though I thought he was right, I also knew he was just trying to lift Morgan's spirits.

I could see that Morgan was trying to calm down, trying to climb out of the emotional landslide that had overtaken him.  He was breathing heavily and his body still shook from the occasional sob that came up from his gut.  He kept wiping his eyes and sniffling so I got up and brought him a box of tissues from near the sink.

"See, no matter how bad things get,  Perry's always there with those damn tissues!" Jesse teased.

Morgan laughed and took the tissue, trying to clean his tear soaked face.  He blew his nose loudly.

"Yeah, he's like the Friend From Hell," Morgan said between sniffles, "always there for you no matter what-- even when he should be running away screaming!"

"That's so true!" Jesse agreed wholeheartedly, smiling knowingly.

Suddenly, Morgan started to laugh, and soon Jesse and I joined in, relieved and grateful that the tension had been somewhat lessened.

"'re really letting me off the hook?" he asked skeptically, still addressing Jesse and sounding like a little boy.

"It's not a matter of letting you off the hook," Jesse explained calmly.  "Perry's my friend and I care about him...a lot.  It's obvious you didn't mean to hurt him.  He wants to get past it, so if you're his friend, you'll stop torturing yourself and you'll get past it too."

Morgan ran his hand nervously through his short brown hair, glancing occasionally at me or Jesse.  I could see he was struggling with what he had done and how he felt about it.  I knew he wanted desperately to be reprimanded, but either way he looked, all he could see were people that cared about him,  and slowly, he reconciled himself to it. 

"Of course, if you ever do anything like that again, I will kick your ass--hard!" Jesse said in a way that clearly showed that he wasn't kidding around.

Morgan's eyes widened in surprise for a moment, taking in Jesse's unmitigated threat.  He nodded slowly in agreement and even managed a shaky, slightly skewed smile.

"You are very cool," he said to Jesse, pausing slightly between each word for emphasis.

I saw Jesse blush and look away.  It was really cute!

Then Morgan turned to me.  "I guess you've seen the worst side of me--at least, I don't think it can get any worse," he said in a hoarse voice.  "If, after all this, you still want to be my friend...even a little...shit...I'll take it!!

I felt a wave of powerful emotions overtake me.  Tears suddenly spilled from my eyes even though I was still smiling.  I looked away, feeling embarrassed at my loss of control.  I must have looked very girlie to Morgan and Jesse.

"You know what I do when he get's all weepy on me?" Jesse asked Morgan thoughtfully.

"What...?" the taller boy asked with genuine curiosity.

"This!"  Jesse said as he quickly swung past Morgan, knocked me to the floor, and began working furiously at my armpits and ribs.

"Ahhggg!" I cried, floundering around helplessly as Jesse mercilessly tickled my torso.

"Help me Morgan!"  Jesse urged.  "He's flopping around too much!"

"You need help?" Morgan said incredulously, and suddenly he was falling on top of Jesse, knocking the smaller boy away from me and onto the floor himself.

I knew that Jesse could have easily knocked the taller youth across the room, but instead, he tried to roll up into a self-protective ball.  "No, no, no!" he squealed.

"Perry, help me!" Morgan cried as he struggled to get at Jesse's armpits.

Recovering quickly from my own tickle barrage, I staggered over and straddled Jesse, pinning his squirming form with my legs while Morgan finally got to those armpits.  Jesse yelped and laughed and struggled helplessly.

"Not such a tough little Ninja warrior now, huh?" I asked, tickling Jesse's ribs through his polo shirt while Morgan continued to work  his pits.

"Stop...stop...please...mercy!" my blond haired friend cried between bouts of  laughter.

I loved the sound of Jesse's laughter.  It was higher pitched than his normal voice and had an undeniably child-like quality to it that was still somehow totally sensual to me.  If Morgan hadn't been there, I would have locked my lips onto his, and kissed him until we were both blue in the face.

"Think he's had enough?" Morgan asked, pausing in his armpit torture.

Enough?  I was just starting to get hard from having Jesse wiggling beneath me.  I flashed back to that day he first came to my house and he had tried to teach me some karate moves.  We had ended up on the floor almost just like this, and I had kissed him on the forehead and been terrified at what I had done!

"I'm not sure..." I said, vigorously running my fingers up and down his rib cage a few more times.  Jesse squirmed and giggled, his face turning a rosy red.  There were even a few tears of laughter spilling from his eyes, but he didn't push me off.  His beautiful blue eyes sparkled and his white teeth flashed brilliantly as he smiled up at me.

"So now what?"  Jesse asked breathlessly.  "Are we all gonna jack each other off or what?"

The silence was deafening. 

I was used to Jesse's bizarre sense of humor and knew he was joking, but looking over at Morgan, I would have sworn that he was giving it some serious thought.  For an instant, I had the crazy idea that maybe Morgan was like me--sexually confused--but I quickly brushed it aside.  Morgan was straight all right, but even a straight guy enjoyed playing around once in a while.  Maybe we would all jack each other off at some point, but not today...

"Why don't we shoot some hoops?" I suggested, springing to my feet.

"Sounds good!" Jesse said, picking himself up and using his fingers to straighten out his thoroughly mussed up hair.

Morgan seemed momentarily disoriented, but he slowly stood up and stretched his arms in the air.  Then he looked at both of us, his eyes swollen and red, the expression on his face one of trepidation.  It was like he couldn't believe that it was over, that he was forgiven, that it was really time to move on, that it was time for the three of us to be the best of friends.

"Perry says that every once in a while, you actually manage to get the ball through the hoop," Jesse taunted playfully.

Morgan just looked at him in shock.  Then a hesitant smile spread across his face.  "I'll take you both on--the junior midget league versus the NBA All-star!" he declared, throwing down the gauntlet of challenge.

It was dark by the time my mom's car pulled into the driveway and we were still shooting hoops with the yard light on.  There seemed to be an almost inordinate amount of laughing, humor, and all around good cheer in the air, as three sweaty, breathless teenagers realized that it hadn't been such a bad day after all.

 My mom greeted us all and told us that she wanted a few minutes to freshen up before she drove Jesse home.  Amazed at how late it was, Morgan took off on his bike, looking at least a little more like his normal self then he did earlier.  He waved to us as he rode down the driveway into the deep twilight.

I stood right next to Jesse as we watched Morgan ride  down the street until he became a shadow darting between the street lights' pools of illumination.   I could smell the tangy scent of Jesse's sweat mixed with the irresistible perfume that was his alone.  I realized I was smiling.

"Everything's gonna be okay, huh?" I asked somewhat rhetorically.

I heard Jesse sigh, and turned to look at him in the harshly white, artificial light that shown down on us from the eave of the house.  The look on his face was anything but pleased.

"What...?" I asked hesitantly, instantly feeling my own happiness drain quickly into the late November evening.

Jesse slowly shook his head and sighed.  "It doesn't work like that, Perry," he said, suddenly sounding like that wise old man that had several times before materialized in the guise of this beautiful thirteen year old teenager to dispense the sage advice that only a life of hardship could offer.

"Why not?"  I asked, sensing that he was right but wanting to fight the notion with every shred of my being.  "You saw yourself how sorry he was, how happy he was when he realized we weren't holding a grudge..."

"There's something in Morgan...some dark and angry place that he's usually able to keep locked up deep down inside.  But sometimes it escapes, and when it does, he loses control..."  Jesse's voice trailed off sadly.

"Should we tell my mom about it?" I asked naively.

Jesse laughed drily and I bristled with momentary irritation.  "It's up to him and his parents for now.  Shit...if they don't see their son has a problem after what happened at the game last week, then either they don't care or they're fucked up themselves."

I couldn't believe the harsh words that were coming out of Jesse's mouth.

"But you told Morgan we were moving on!" I reminded him a little desperately.

"What could I do?  Beat him up?" he asked.

I nodded reluctantly, as the realization of what he was saying slowly sunk in.  Morgan had drunk a substantial amount of alcohol yesterday and then orchestrated an elaborate ruse to cover it up.  The effects of the wine had allowed all the things that were bothering him to come out into the open:  his worries about Derek, his own fear of his father, his frustration with girls, his strong feelings of friendship for me, and even his resentment of Jesse.

"What should we do then?" I asked helplessly.

Jesse shrugged.  "Everyone has those things inside somewhere--even you, my dear, sweet Perry," Jesse observed.

I wasn't sure I agreed with him, but then somehow an image of my dad walking out of our house in La Jolla, carrying a large suitcase while my mom sat on the sofa and cried,  flashed through my mind. 

"So he has to learn to control it," I realized.

"We all do.  At least Morgan's a serious athlete and he understands better than most people the need for self discipline and self control.  That'll help him, but obviously it isn't enough when he gets really stressed."

I felt a wave of panic course through my body, causing me to shudder.  I didn't want things to work out this way.  I cared deeply for Morgan and was truly willing to forgive and forget the crazy incident that had precipitated today's confrontation.

"Jesse, can I ask you something?" I asked hesitantly.

"Of course," he said with a tone of absolute trust in his voice.

"If you somehow had the chance to be in a room alone with Fred Goreski...what would you do?"

I sensed Jesse bristling at my pointed question.  I hoped he wouldn't be angry with me.  I heard his breathing become heavier.

"I'd kick his ass if I could, Perry--I'd kick it long and hard!" he said through gritted teeth.

There was an icy determination in his voice when he said that, and yet I had to admit, I'd been expecting a reaction something like that.  

The truth was, anyone was capable of crazy and self-destructive things under the right circumstances, even amazingly strong and good people like Jesse and Morgan.  Other, weaker people might let their inner demons overwhelm their personal defenses and come to the surface, allowing those dark and dangerous feelings to dictate their words and actions on a regular basis, but not my two remarkable friends.  They were better than that, and I hoped, when my own time of reckoning came, I'd be able to keep control of that dark and angry place inside of me, and demonstrate the same confident, courageous, and selfless attitude as they demonstrated on a daily basis.

 I was surprised but not at all displeased when Jesse carefully took my hand into his.  Maybe my mom would see us if she chose to come out of the house at that moment, but it didn't seem nearly as important right now as making physical contact with the boy who meant everything to me.

I felt that undefinable, but oh so real, energy transfer from Jesse to me.  I didn't know what it was exactly--some form of psychic phenomenon, a purely physiological response caused by our physical contact, or the pure power of love in some tangible form as yet unclassified by science.  I just knew that I felt it as surely as I felt the pavement of the concrete driveway beneath my feet. What ever had happened, what ever would happen, I knew that I had this potent source of energy to draw from, and that, as long as I had it--had my beautiful blond angel, I had nothing to fear.

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