Legal Notice:

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

Do not read this story if:

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

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

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

Part V  Truths and Lies


I was recently doing some research into the nature of the so called mid-life crisis, to see if indeed, that was the proper term to describe my current sense of global disorientation.  I happened upon this curious piece of information:  the word 'crisis' in Chinese, consists of two characters, one representing 'danger' and one representing 'opportunity;' therefore,  crisis='dangerous opportunity.'  When considering this bit of philological trivia in combination with my recent, and  surprisingly emotional linkup with Jesse (who was, ironically enough, in Tai Pei at the time), I had to wonder if the writing of these memoirs, the time, effort, dedication, and perhaps most importantly, the time not spent doing other things, was indeed presenting me with a 'dangerous opportunity.'  Feelings that I thought long since buried (but not forgotten) have risen from their shallow graves to haunt me once again.  I had convinced myself long ago that I could indeed have two true loves in my life, in this case Jesse Taylor and my  darkly beautiful, savvy, and always dedicated wife of some seventeen years, and further, that one could be pushed aside or relegated to some dank and dusty memory attic, there to simply exist in a state of suspended animation devoid of any real emotional potency.  Now I find, as I continue the long and obsessive task of transcribing my youthful misadventures, that my mind conjures up not the usual image of an eternally youthful blond god of adolescent perfection, but the image that seemed to sit across from my desk one quiet night earlier this year,  asking me for pictures of my son's rocket hockey championship game--the virtual image of a man my own age, with experiences unique and shared, whose life path veered from my own over twenty six years ago.  I find this more disturbing than comforting, and now wonder what path I have inadvertently set myself upon, and quite frankly, whether it will lead to good or ill.   Clearly, I have also revealed these revivified feelings to Mr. Taylor as well.  It is with a great deal of trepidation that I await his response (if any).

Be that as it may, I have finished compiling this latest installment of my youthful chronicles, primarily concerned with the early stages of my unlikely, but passionate relationship with Jesse Taylor.  If there was a common theme during the early part of our relationship that reared its paradoxical head more often than any other it was this: Truth and Lies--opposites, or two sides of the same coin?  Which was our friend and which our enemy?  Was one always right and one always wrong?  Or was there, as the Bible itself purports, a time for every purpose under Heaven?  Heady concepts for young teenagers struggling with the daily trials and tribulations of being in the eighth grade at the dawn of this new and perplexing  millennium.  Yet these were the issues that dogged Jesse and me as our relationship seemed to enter a new phase.   It seemed that, between the two of us and our closest  friends, we had accrued a copious ledger of lies, half truths, unspoken truths, and deceptions, the biggest one being of course, the refusal to reveal the true nature of a youthful relationship unlike anything any of us had experienced before: a profound and irresistible and obsessive love combined with an insatiable physical relationship that took us into forbidden realms of teenage ecstasy.  But during this time especially,  circumstances contrived to force many of these lies to be exposed and for the consequences of those revelations to be dealt with by all who were involved, directly or peripherally.

While there was no question that in the beginning, my astucious angel was by far the wiser in every respect than I, it seemed that slowly, and in typically adolescent fits and starts, I began to do some growing up of my own.  Not to deny that my normal state of mind continued to be one of utter confusion over everyone and everything other that my beautiful blond angel, but to realize and accept that I too could be the pillar of strength when the need was great enough.  The only other profound relationship I had at this time was the one with my mother and one which I must admit in painful hindsight, I far too often took for granted.  Perhaps it was inevitable that these two most important relationships in my life  would clash.  Was love more important than trust?  Could one even exist without the other?  Again, heady issues for someone on the brink of his fourteenth birthday.

Lest you suppose the following chronicles to be only a collection of adolescent angst--the sturm and drang of German nineteenth century philosophy transposed some two hundred years to the idyllic suburban landscape of southern California,  I remind you of Jesse's very own words:  "It's important for you to tell this story, especially the good times..." and I have tried not to forget his request.

You may wonder  how much of the following is indeed the literal truth, and what has been extrapolated or concocted by my  dulling forty five year old mind.  Most of the emails and 'locker notes' are indeed permanent and literal parts of my database, scanned in years ago as keepsakes of a wondrous and magical time in my life.  Other recollections are a combination of shadowed memory and satnet research.  If the slang, the clothes, the hair styles, and other aspects of early millennium culture are not exactly as you remember them, then understand that I have done my very best to recreate this time that meant so much more to me than Vans sneakers and Calvin Klein T-shirts.  I have changed the names of all the people--both living and dead, and many of the places, such as Santa Corina and St. Boniface, to protect those who may not be fully prepared to accept some of the truths and lies contained herein.

Oh, and one more thing, lest I be accused of failing my comitious duties as a friend.  Dear, sweet Tom, where ever you are, I kept your promise for thirty one years.  Forgive me, but surely the statute of limitations has run out by now!

I am always interested in your feedback.  Talk to me @Pt-9009-U/ (scram/dir)

Perry Thompson, October 26, 2034


Chapter 1  Tunafish Salad And Mountain Dew

Dear Jesse,

you won't believe all the stuff that happened while you were gone!  Gees, it started right away on Thursday night when Josh and Derrin slept over along with my Uncle Ron.  Well, Josh slept with Uncle Ron in the guest room and Derrin slept in my room.  Derrin told me that his parents were having problems and stuff (I won't go into all that here, but you probably figured that out already anyway).  We played video games  and then he slept on the futon (You remember the futon--hehehe!).  I woke up when I heard Derrin crying, and it was really sad, Jesse.  I felt so sorry for him!  He asked if he could sleep with me and I said okay.  Then I had this great dream where it was the first time you came to my house and we hadn't had sex yet or anything. You were showing me some karate moves and then we were down on the floor.  Remember how I got on top of you and then stole your socks?  Well, in the dream, it didn't happen like that.  We kissed and it felt so real, you wouldn't believe it!  Then you flipped me over and pulled out my dick!  It was so hot!  But then I woke up and it turned out my cousin was yanking on my tool!  Gees, did I freak out (and that hurt--lol)!  He told me he was really interested in my body and stuff and it was pretty weird, but I also knew that he was really messed up because of what was going on with his parents.  On Friday morning when I woke up, Derrin told me that he had shot his first load the night before--he was stoked!

Then we went to the mall and it was real crowded and stuff because of it being the day after Thanksgiving.  It started out okay, and I bought some CD's, but then Derrin and Josh sort of had a fight and Josh went off by himself.  Then Derrin and I went to the arcade (of course!), and we really burned on Kingcarver 2.  It was totally extreme, Jesse.  We were blazing through it.  But then guess what?  It was really freaky, but suddenly this guy was standing next to us and he looked like a creepy clown sort of.  Somehow, I just knew it was Arnie Hollister--you remember, from the rummage sale?  He was supposedly one of Goreski's crew.  Gary told us what he looked like.  Anyway, it really was him and he wanted me to go outside with him!  I was so scared, but I was mostly worried about Derrin, so I left him in the arcade (which I now think was a stupid thing to do) and went out with Arnie.  Then guess what?  Someone came up behind me and it was Mario Hernandez.  And I don't even want to tell you this, but I can't keep this a secret from you of all people.  I think Mario had a knife because he was standing right behind me and I felt something really sharp poking into my back.  You wouldn't believe how scared I was!  Still, I didn't think they would really hurt me out in the middle of all those people.  We were sort of just standing there and I was thinking of shoving Hollister out of the way, but then guess what happened? 

You'll never guess who just happened to be walking past at the right time.  It was Gene and his brother George (but Gene calls him Georgie)!  George is so cool, Jesse.  I wish you could meet him!  He's super tall (taller than Mr. Walsh!)and looks a little like Gene but a lot bigger, and he's a football player of course.  He got a scholarship to Miami University--Isn't that amazing?!  And then guess what?  It turns out he's gay!  Yeah, he basically just told us that he was.  At first, I thought that was really weird, but then it was so cool because he was just cool about it and not uptight or anything.  But he knew Mario and Arnie and he just sort of scared them away, not like with yelling and stuff, but just by teasing them a little. You should have seen it! George was so cool and funny and just freaked those two creeps out. Then we all had lunch together and George was the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet.  At the food court we saw Josh hitting on this girl from Sam Goody. He's such a smooth operator and so good looking. I wish I was like him!  I had to tell Gene some of what happened at the rummage sale (including you beating up Goreski, but he sorta already knew that from A. and M. of course!) because he was so worried about me, but I didn't tell him the part about A) Goreski wanting me to suck his dick or B) about Mario having a knife.

Then everything turned out a lot better.  I bought some really cool basketball sneaks at Footlocker.  They're white and blue and they have these coverings over the laces and their super comfortable!  I can't wait to show them to you.  Gene said I looked like a rap artist (because I was wearing my super cool Diesel jeans too!) and Derrin and I pretended like we were rappers or something, and everybody thought it was so hilarious!  Then George wanted to talk to me alone and Gene was worried because, well you can guess why, but I wasn't so I just went with him.  And it turned out he was worried about me!  He was afraid Mario and all those people would try to hurt me.  It was  so funny though.  He said that Goreski's nickname is 'Ballcrusher'!  And then he told me that he was going to talk to his friends at HT and tell them to watch out for us (you and me) when we go there next year.  He was worried that Goreski might have some friends who are still juniors now, but will be seniors next year.  So that was very cool of him, don't you think?  And then it was kind of weird because he seemed to get sad, and I thought maybe he didn't have any friends or something, but he said he did but he was just acting kind of goofy.  Anyway, we hugged right there in the parking lot!  It was like hugging a giant redwood tree, he was so huge!  lol!

When we got home, Josh came to my room and he wanted to jack off with me.  I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do.  But I knew I would be totally embarrassed to do something like that with him so I told him another time--yeah right!  Then Derrin wanted to stay over one more night even though Uncle Ron and Josh were going back to Arcadia.  So my mom said yes as long as I didn't mind, and I really didn't except that I had a basketball practice the next morning.  But Derrin said he didn't mind about that so he ended up sleeping over again.  After we went to bed he came and woke me up and told me he wanted to play a little game.

Well, here's something I didn't tell you before.  You see, he was really interested in my body and stuff, probably because he's just twelve and I'm practically fourteen, you know?  And remember he was feeling me up when I was sleeping?  Well, of course I didn't want him doing that anymore, but I didn't want to just say it like that because of him being so worried about his parents and everything.  So I told him, next time he stayed over we could mess around some.  Well, he woke me up on Friday night and said it was next time!!!  I was so shocked.  But I didn't know how to get out of it without hurting his feelings so I said okay.

It's so embarrassing to try to explain to you what it was like.  But it turns out Derrin's real smart and he knows all those words that you learn in sex ed in 6th grade and he was pointing out all my parts and I mean all my parts!  Yeah, Jesse.  I let him see me naked.  I wasn't sure it was the right thing to do, but he really wanted to play his game.  Do you think I messed up?  Then he made me lie on the futon and he started jacking me off.  I know that sounds unbelievable, but he was so cute with his Martian game and acting like a professor and it was supposed to be part of his demonstration so I didn't want to stop him.  And yes, it felt pretty good, but nothing like what you and I do--hehehe!  But then he tried to go too far, because he wanted to suck me off, but I said no, that's Jesse's job! lol!  Well, I didn't really say that, but I did tell him no, and he was pretty disappointed but then said okay and he kept jacking me off until I blew my load.  He thought it was so cool and it was kind of funny to see his reaction.  Then he tried to eat my cum but I told him he couldn't,(That's your job too--lol!).  Then we finally went to sleep and everything was okay.

On Saturday I had a basketball practice and Derrin went with us.  But I couldn't find anything out about anybody.  Tom hadn't made any progress in trying to talk to Derek, and neither had Morgan, and it sounded like Derek was still pretty upset.  Poor guy, huh?  So otherwise that was all pretty normal.  I didn't think Morgan looked real happy, but I guess you know why.  I really feel sorry for him and I wish I hadn't chickened out then nothing bad would have happened about all that stuff with him.

Then we drove to Arcadia, which is a pretty long drive and we were all so surprised to see my Aunt Karen was home.  I guess she felt bad about not coming to our house for Thanksgiving, but we had a real nice barbecue with tri-tip and corn and stuff and it was great.  Then Derrin took me to his room and wanted to play his little game again.  He didn't make me take off my clothes though!  We just pretended that I was naked-lol! But he told his Martian friends  that what was more important was what was in a person's heart than about all his plumbing and dick and stuff, and I thought that was really sweet--and I think it's true even though I really like giving you Bj's and stuff and think you're totally hot!  I was so tired that night, but I was thinking about you and what you were doing up in the mountains.  I imagined that you were sitting by a nice warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa and you were having a good time with Joe and your family.  I'm sorry it wasn't like that, but I'm really glad you're back!

Now I have to tell you about Sunday because I forgot to tell you that Tom kept pestering me on Saturday to hang with him, and finally he begged me to come to his house after church so I said yes.  Church was so weird it was like a spooky movie or something. Mr. Bainbridge shook my hand and everyone was winking at me.  Jessica asked me to help her and her mom put out all those poinsettia plants around the church.  Do you have those in Chicago?  They're like red and green and you see them around Christmas time.  Anyway, I felt pretty stupid doing that with all the kids from our class watching, like I was Jessica's slave or something.  Then it turned even worse because her mom asked me to sit with them during Mass!  I was totally shocked that my mom said yes and I was so screwed!  I had to sit right near the front with Jessica on one side and Katy on the other.  Then after Mass, I tried to get away, but Katy and Jessica took me off to the side where there's this little hallway that I don't know where it goes to, and maybe no one else does either because no one else came there, you know?  And they both wanted me to kiss them and I didn't want to do that.  I don't think God likes that kind of stuff going on at church, except maybe at a wedding.  Anyway, Katy tried to kiss me and I got scared, thinking that if Morgan found out, he might hit me again, not because he's a bad person but because he lets his feelings get too carried away sometimes I think.  Anyway, Katy said Morgan wouldn't mind and she just kissed me.  And it was pretty nice, because I always thought Katy was pretty nice.  Then she left and Jessica wanted me to kiss her!  First she told me a secret about wanting to have a Christmas party with the whole class before I went to NYC for the Xmas break.  She wants me to be her date!  I was thinking that it would be fun to see who you pick as your date--no it can't be Tom--lol!  Anyway, she did kiss me, and I should tell you that I kissed her back, and I was pretty mixed up about that.  I sort of like kissing her Jesse, but if you tell me to stop, I will.

Then I went home to change and Tom and his sister picked me up.  Tom's sister is pretty cool and funny and she works at Vons.  She made lots of silly jokes and talked a lot of Spanish with Tom which I could only understand a lot of--NOT--thanks to Brother Conner's useless class-lol!  Then she left us off and went to work (at Vons).  I was surprised that there was no one else home and that made me feel a little freaky, because I knew that Tom likes boys and that he's interested in doing sex stuff with me.

Anyway, his house is really nice--you should see it.  It's old but not spooky.  Not fancy or anything, but just nice and warm and cozy.  It turns out that Tom is so talented, Jesse, it's just amazing!  He does all the housecleaning to earn money to go to the arcade.  He's a real good cook and he made carnitas enchiladas.  They were a little spicy but I still liked them a lot.  Tom kissed me a little bit but I didn't kiss him back.  Still, I got real jittery and I kind of yelled at him, which I felt really bad about right away.  It turns out he heard about that business with Goreski--yeah from M. and A. of course!  I told him not to worry about it, but he seemed pretty upset.  I was worried that it was going to be a total downer all afternoon, but then he wanted to show me his room.

It was super extra cool, Jesse.  You should see it!  It's big and long and all fixed up real nice.  Part of it is Tom's bedroom and the other part is this amazing art studio.  Tom is such a good artist, Jesse.  Just like you're a great writer, I think Tom is a great artist.  And guess what?  He wanted to do a drawing of me! First he told me he wanted me to pose naked and then he said he was just kidding, but I wasn't so sure about that.  He's so horny though!  He got a huge boner just from combing my hair, and then he had to go to the bathroom for 'relief.'  Isn't that funny?  But then he told me to sit on this chair and he drew his picture.  It took a long time, but I guess I drifted off so it wasn't too bad.  Finally it was done.

Now I don't know what you'd think of this picture, Jesse.  But I thought it was real good.  It didn't exactly look like me of course, because it was art and not exactly realistic, but it was very good in it's own way.  He says he's going to show it to Sister M. L. and maybe even to Father Marlen.  I think Father M.'s a little scary though, don't you?  It's like, he seems to know what everyone's thinking!  I hope that's not true, because I don't want him to know about us.  He might get mad and say that God doesn't like boys kissing boys and stuff like that, but if he said that, I would tell him that he's wrong, because I do feel like God wants us to be together Jesse, honest!

Anyway, I have to finish my story about Tom.  After we looked at the drawing for a while, we started talking about his feelings again.  I didn't understand why he was still interested in me when he seemed to like Derek a lot.  He said he did like Derek a lot and he wants to have sex with him, but he still has feelings for me.  I felt a little sad about that so I asked him what I could do to help.  And guess what he said?  You'll be surprised because it's not what you think.  He wanted to see my feet!  Isn't that weird?  It turns out he has a thing for feet and because I was feeling sad for him, I decided to tell him that I'm into feet too!  It was so embarrassing to have to tell that to someone (I know I told you but that's different because we share everything and have milkshakes together--lol!).  So we both ended up taking off our shoes and socks and Tom had this idea where we sat on the floor facing each other and pressed our feet together.  I know that sounds really weird, but at first I thought it was kind of cool and it's something I'd like to do with you if you don't think it's too gross.  But anyway, Tom got too worked up again, and he started licking and sucking my feet.  In fact, he started sucking my right foot all the way into his mouth!  It was so weird looking, like when a snake swallows a mouse or something!  Then he bit me!  Shit, it hurt, Jesse.  But somehow, I didn't panic and pull my foot out of his mouth, because then he would have torn the skin for sure.  But I made him stop and he was so embarrassed and worried of course. I told him it was okay even though it hurt a lot.  I had to rest on his bed for a little while and Tom was just freaking out about what he did.  I told him it was okay and tried to make some lame jokes, but then he accidently said something that really shocked me.  Are you ready for this, Jesse?  Tom said he LOVES me!  Yeah, that's the word he used, just like when we say that to each other because we have such strong feelings about each other.   Well, at first, I wasn't sure if Tom really meant that, but it turns out he did. I felt so sad because I know that I don't love him, not the way I love you.  I just don't.  I guess he knew that already and that's why he had planned on keeping that a secret.  Poor Tom!  I hope things will work out between him and Derek.  We need to help them somehow, Jesse.  Now it's more important than ever!

Well that's about it, except that all I could think of the whole time you were away was about you calling me on Sunday night (that's now!) and me getting to hear your sweet voice again.  So I'm really sorry that I acted like a total moron when it turned out you had a cold.  I didn't mean that it was your fault or anything, just that I was so looking forward to hearing from you again.  And of course, I thought I would see you tomorrow, so that's going to be majorly hard to deal with.  But I will (deal with it that is), because I'm trying not to be so wussy anymore.  So get better soon, and I'll see you after school!

>From The Person Who For Sure Loves You The Most In The World,


                  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had been looking forward to nothing since Thursday night except coming to school on Monday, knowing that my beautiful blond angel would be there to dazzle me once again with his flawless beauty, insightful wisdom,  and sharp wit.  I couldn't wait to see him once again flash that bashful little smile that I knew was just for me.  But he had a cold, and my only consolation was that my mom agreed to stop by Jesse's apartment after school so I could drop off whatever homework might materialize during the course of the day.  Jesse and I had exchanged locker combos earlier in the year, but this would be the first time I actually had to use it.

Now I had to walk into class, filled with concern regarding all the people that were dear to me.  First, there was Morgan, who had hopefully been able to deal with Derek sometime over the Thanksgiving vacation.  Had they talked?  Had Derek admitted his predilection for boys and his hapless crush on Jesse?  If so, had Morgan handled it in the tolerant, understanding way that we had discussed, or had he lost his temper and lashed out in the violent fashion that I now knew him fully capable of?  I also worried about Derek and his reaction to Jesse's spurning of his advances.  While it had only been a crazy dream (thankfully with a lot of sex in it), I couldn't help but wonder what Derek's ultimate response would be.  He had clearly been distraught the day before Thanksgiving, overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, shame, and disappointment.  But since then, I wondered if his feelings had turned dark and vengeful, or if was he prepared to deal with the situation maturely?  I certainly had my doubts.

And then there was Jessica...It was clear as I walked trepidatiously into class, that word had spread about the little scenario she had orchestrated at church on Sunday, by getting me to sit with her family while her closest friends looked on.  Several of the girls tittered at me shyly.  Kyle gave me that stupid wink of his.  Dana and her pal, Deanna, gave me what looked like a pair of disdainful sneers.  Katy looked at me with some sort of expression of satisfaction, although, what she was getting out of my relationship with her best friend I had no clue.  And there was Jessica herself, looking as pretty as always, her long, velvety brown hair becoming almost dark blonde in the bright morning sunlight streaming in through the classroom windows.  As she caught my eye, she gave me a knowing smile and a nod, as if there was some secret understanding between us, although again--no clue!

Finally, I had to face Tom Espinoza.  Not only was my foot still sore from where he had sunk his teeth into it yesterday, but I was still reeling from his revelation that he had truly strong feelings for me that went beyond any sort of mere physical crush, although that was still there as well.  The ability of my artistically gifted Hispanic friend to not only express his love for me in no uncertain terms, and his willingness to not only live with his own powerful feelings, but also my clear inability to return those feelings, impressed me greatly.   I myself had handled Jesse's absence poorly.  Even when he was at my house, and we weren't able to be together the way I longed to be, I could only pine and mope.  I was ashamed at my own self-involved weakness.

I could see Tom cringe a little as I wasn't able to fully disguise the slight limp that characterized my gait that morning.  I had worn my black Sketchers, the most comfortable and well worn of all my footwear, but every time the top of the shoe pressed into the top of my foot, there was a little lance of pain that shot up my calf, dissipating somewhere around my knee.  Fortunately, basketball practice had been moved from Wednesday to Thursday this week, because the coach had some scheduling conflict, buying me a little extra recovery time.

As always, Sister Mary Margaret began leading us through our morning devotions, clinging tightly to her rosary beads  as she took us through our prayers.  Normally, when she asked if there were any special prayer requests, the room went dead silent, but I nervously cleared my throat.

"Yes, Perry?" the petite, middle aged nun asked with a benevolent smile.

"Well, I know...I just wanted to say that...Well, Jesse got sick up at Big Bear over the weekend, and that's why he's not here today and...uh..."  I stammered, wishing I had never opened my mouth.  A year ago, the idea of praying for someone--even a close friend--especially about something as trivial as a cold, wouldn't even have entered my mind.  Now it suddenly seemed a very real and very urgent concern.  "Maybe I...we...could..."

But Sister Mary Margaret nodded understandingly.  "Class, let's say one Our Father and one Hail Mary for Jesse Taylor's rapid recovery."

I dutifully recited the prayers along with the rest of the class, adding as much meaning as I could to every word and phrase.

Lunch was a tense affair.  Tom kept looking at me fearfully, but didn't know what to say.  Morgan looked frustrated and I'm sure if we had some privacy, he'd have some things to say about Derek's situation.  For his part, Derek  ate with the other seventh grade boys, only occasionally glancing our way when he thought no one was looking. 

Gene stopped by on his way out to the practice field, where he'd eat his lunch while the coach went over plays and strategies for the upcoming football playoffs.  He patted me firmly on the back in his usual friendly manner.

"Hey, Per, everything okay?" he asked, his sincere concern for my wellbeing barely disguised in his casual inquiry.

"I'm fine, Gene--really," I told him with a reassuring smile.  I stopped short of mentioning our little encounter at the mall on Friday, since I didn't want to have to get into a long explanation of the day's complicated events with Morgan and Tom.

Gene seemed to understand and just nodded his satisfaction at my response.  'See ya guys later," he offered as he headed out.

"So...looking forward to your birthday trip..." Morgan said uncomfortably trying to start a casual conversation.

"Yeah, it'll be awesome!" Tom chimed in quickly, instantly getting excited for oh so many reasons.

"I heard they have a couple of really great pools at the Grand Californian," Morgan remarked.  "You guys bringing your suits?"

Was he kidding?  I was afraid to even take my shirt off in front of either of these guys!  I just shrugged noncommittally, focusing instead on my tuna salad sandwich.

Of course, I had just taken an extra large bite and had sauce leaking out of the side of my mouth when Jessica and Katy came sauntering up.  Katy immediately went to stand behind Morgan, who was carelessly licking mustard off his fingers.

"Care to go for a little stroll?" she asked playfully.

Morgan shrugged nonchalantly, but quickly crumpled up his brown lunch bag and hooked it skillfully into the nearest trash container.  "Three points--the crowd goes wild!" he teased, even making breathy crowd noises to enhance the effect.

I was stunned to see him grip Katy's hand as they sauntered off towards the wooded area near the parking lot.  Any affectionate contact between students was strictly forbidden by the school rule book.  I furtively glanced around, noting that the only adult around the eating area was Miss Zimmerman.  She wasn't even a real member of the faculty, just a student teacher finishing up her education degree with some field experience.  She was on the basketball court, fully engaged in a frantic game with a mixed group of boys and girls, mostly sixth and seventh graders.  Her blonde hair bobbed wildly and her whistle flapped around on her generous bosom as she dribbled, dodged a few boys, and shot with youthful gusto...Two points--the crowd goes wild!

I noticed Derek and Reggie join the group on the court.  It annoyed me that my dick twitched a little when I saw Reggie fling back his large mop of thick, blond highlighted hair, the bright white teeth of his enthusiastic smile contrasting so sharply with his deep brown tan.

Jessica just stood there waiting for me to swallow my sandwich.  I felt like I had so much food in my mouth,  I'd never be able to swallow it.  I finally washed it all down with a huge gulp of Mountain Dew.  I was about to wipe my mouth with my bare arm, and then, realizing Jessica's eyes were on me, picked up a napkin and did it the right way.

I looked up at her and she gave me a friendly, but slightly impatient look, nodding her head vaguely in the direction that Katy and Morgan had gone.  Gees, now what--lunch time make out sessions?  As much as I acknowledged having some feelings for this pretty fourteen year old classmate, I was beginning to wonder how far this was going to go.  After yesterday's little show, everyone in school would consider us an item.   Queen Jessica had chosen her consort--and for some bizarre reason, it was me!

Without saying a word, I slowly got up and carefully disposed of my lunch trash.  Jessica smiled coyly, looking almost boyish in her white polo shirt and khaki Dockers.  But there was plenty of femininity on display as well; even though she was Jesse's height, her waist was as slender as Derek's; her long brown hair was tied back with some colorful scrunchies, and the front of her shirt showed more than a hint of the small round breasts beneath.

"Do you mind, Tom?" Jessica asked politely.

He had a pained look on his face.  I think he minded a lot, and I felt sorry for him.  "I was gonna go shoot hoops with Derek anyway," he explained a bit sullenly.

"See ya later, 'kay?" I said apologetically, giving him a little wave.  I started heading off in the general direction Morgan and Katy had gone, and deliberately didn't take Jessica's hand out of deference to Tom's feelings.

"Did you hurt your foot?" she asked, obviously noticing my slight limp.

"Uh...just stubbed my toe yesterday," I said with a careless shrug.  I didn't know what to do with my hands, so I stuffed them in the front pockets of my Dockers.

"We can go sit somewhere and I'll rub it for you," she offered.

Man, Jessica touching my feet?  That would be bad...well, good actually, but in a bad way...or...I didn't know what I was thinking.  Jessica had me so confused.

"It's okay.  It's nothing," I assured her.

She laughed.  "It's funny how you always look so confused when I'm around," she remarked. 

We stopped next to a tall pine tree, out of earshot but not out of sight of the rest of the middle schoolers.

"Lot's of things confuse me," I admitted with a little shrug.

"Maybe it's because you don't know what you want," she suggested.

"What do you mean?" I asked cautiously.

"Well, I always know what I want, and then I just come up with a little plan to get it.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  If it doesn't, then I keep coming up with a new plan until I get what I want."  She shrugged her slender shoulders, all the while a contented smile on her delicate face.

"I guess you're right..." I said, "I mean, about not knowing what I want."  I paused, but she was waiting for me to say more.  "Last year, things seemed simpler..."  I said wistfully.

Jessica nodded.  "That's because we're changing, Perry.  We're changing from little kids into young adults.  We want different things now.  I used to have to have every new Barbie thing that came out--right away, even if my parents had to order it right from Mattel to get it!  Now, Barbie seems so....fifth grade--but I'm still used to getting my way," she added, pointedly looking me right in the eye.

The part about her being demanding and used to getting her way didn't surprise me.  Jessica exuded confidence.  It was the part about changing from a kid to an adult that had me confused and concerned.  I thought about everything that had happened in the three months since the beginning of eighth grade.  If what she said was true, and  we were indeed in the process of turning into adults, did that mean all we'd be interested in for now on was sex?

"What are you thinking about?" Jessica inquired gently.

"Silly things...stupid things," I assured her.

She sighed.  "I wish you'd share some of those silly things with me," she said, letting her frustration show.  "I'd really like to know what goes on in that handsome head of yours."

I blushed at her remark about my appearance.  It was hard not to be flattered by someone of Jessica's beauty and popularity.

"I don't feel handsome," I admitted, as my stomach started to do odd little flips.

"Maybe that's part of what makes you so gosh darn cute," she said with a giggle.

I found myself staring intently at the pine needles at my feet, afraid to look Jessica in the eye.

"I guess one of the things I'm confused about, is why you'd be interested in someone like me," I revealed.

There was a rather long pause, and I actually considered the possibility that I had put Jessica on the spot, and she really had no compelling reasons.  Maybe she just thought I was an easy 'target,' soft and pliable, someone she could order around and who would carry her shopping bags at the mall...

"That was so brave of you to help out with the Poinsettias yesterday," she remarked.

"Brave?" I asked, having to look up despite my unease.

"I knew you didn't really want to do it.  Didn't want to have to go up in front of all those people that know you, and do something silly like move potted plants around..."

"It's okay...I didn't mind..."  Actually, I did mind, but it wasn't as horrible as I had thought.  Besides, it was as much for the church as it was for Jessica.

"That's one of the things I like about you," she said, as if I had confirmed her point.  "You didn't let any of those stupid macho feelings about not looking cool or whatever get in your way, and you also didn't let your own bashfulness stop you from lending a hand.  It shows how sweet you are."

Sweet?  Well, Jesse did say that I tasted good...

"Why did you want me to sit with your family?" I asked, my own curiosity getting the better of me.

"I told you, that was my mom's idea.  She's a lot like me--or I'm a lot like her, I guess.  She knows I like you, so she was just helping out in her own way--making you feel like part of the family, and maybe letting all the other girls in church know that you were already taken!"

"You have...feelings for me?" I asked apprehensively, thinking about Tom's revelation yesterday.  I felt the tuna salad churning around in my twisting gut, and my heart rate increasing dramatically.   I suddenly felt uncomfortably warm, despite the fact that it was a pleasantly balmy December day.

"Of course I do.  How could you not know that?" she asked almost scornfully.  "I already told you at Katy's party that I wanted to be with you."

I leaned against the rough bark of the tree, suddenly not feeling too good.

"Are you okay?" Jessica asked with sudden concern.

I nodded uncertainly. 

"Are you telling me you didn't know that I have feelings for you, Perry Thompson?" she asked with disbelief.

I shrugged.  I didn't know what I thought anymore.  Katy's party had served to break the ice between us.  It had given me the chance to see that the arrogant, demanding prima donna I had observed at school, the one that the other girls always seemed to flock around--even Katy--could indeed be a warm and caring human being when she wanted to be.  Our brief encounter in the basement of the church social hall had shown me that I was at least somewhat physically attracted to her.

"That day, at the rummage sale, are you telling me that you didn't feel anything...?" she asked worriedly.

I shook my head.  "I did...feel something," I admitted.  I covered my mouth as a belch full of the potent combination of tuna salad and Mountain Dew erupted in my throat.  "'Scuse me," I muttered embarrassedly.

"Then what's the problem?" she asked, a slight hint of annoyance entering her voice.   "Is it La Jolla Toya?"

"Who?" I asked, snickering at the silly sounding name despite my growing distress.

Jessica giggled a little as well.  "That's what Katy and I call your girlfriend from your hometown--La Jolla Toya!"

Oh man, this fictitious girlfriend thing was getting way out of hand.  It was so wrong to manipulate my friends like this.  It made my stomach tighten up even more.

" fact..." I stammered, "I don't think it's going to work out between us anymore!"

"What?" Jessica's light brown eyes lit up with a look of cautious surprise.

"I think she wants to move on..." I offered, trying to make up a story as quickly as I could.  Yeah, that was a good plan, make up a new lie to get out of the old one!

"You talked to her?" Jessica asked hesitantly.

I nodded.  "We talked over the weekend...on the phone," I added, the whole time thinking that if Jesse were here today, I wouldn't be standing here now, making up stupid lies and feeling like I was going to...

"I'm sorry," Jessica offered quietly.


"I mean, I'm sorry things aren't going to work out between you.  At the party, you seemed committed to making it work."

I nodded and shrugged.  "It's hard when you don't see each other every day.  Besides, I'm nothing special.  I'm sure there's lots of other guys she'd rather be with..."

"But you are me!" Jessica said emotionally, and suddenly launched herself at me.

I tried to back up, but I was literally against a tree!  I felt my gorge rising...

Jessica stopped abruptly, probably seeing the strange look on my face.   And suddenly...

Jessica let out a high pitched scream as I puked up my lunch right on her white polo shirt!  Luckily, there wasn't much, and most of it fell between our feet.  We just stared at each other in stunned horror. There was a disgusting blotch of brownish, whitish, greenish, chunky goo right on her cleavage.

"Oh no...!"  I gasped.  In a mindless panic, I pulled off my own  polo shirt and offered it to her.

"Here, you can wear mine!" I said breathlessly.

She quickly stumbled backwards out of my reach.  "What're you doing?" she cried.

"I was just giving you my...something to wear," I offered shakily.

Jessica just shook her head.  "'s okay, Perry, really.  I have a spare shirt in my locker and..."  Suddenly, she was just staring at me, mouth agape.

At first, I didn't get it.  Had I wet my pants or something?  Then I realized I was standing there naked from the waist up, in the schoolyard at St. Boniface!  I suddenly pulled my arms back, trying to cover my bare chest with my loose shirt.  I felt light headed but not really nauseous, my mouth stinging with the bitter taste of stomach juices.

Jessica kept staring at me and I kept staring at the hideous gob of vomit on her blouse, which was enough to get a person sick all by itself.  I turned as I heard the rustling of pine needles, and Katy and Morgan came running over, looks of concern on both their faces.

"Oh, Jessica!" Katy cried out, seeing the horrible stain on her friend's shirt.

Morgan looked at me worriedly.  Then a weird smile slowly spread across his face.

"Are you feeling okay, Perry?" he asked.

"Huh?"  I asked in a daze.  I couldn't believe I had just thrown up on the most popular girl in our class!

I watched as Katy put her arm around Jessica's shoulders and the two walked towards the locker area.  Jessica turned to glance back at me in a reassuring way, even throwing me a little air kiss, but I just stared after her dumbfounded.

"I think you can put your shirt back on now," Morgan suggested with a lopsided grin.

"Oh...yeah..." I replied dimly.  I slipped the polo shirt back on over my head and my long brown hair came tumbling back down in a state of total disarray.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Morgan asked with concern, stooping a little so he could look me right in the eye.

I slowly nodded.

"Did you really throw up on Jessica?" he asked in disbelief.

I nodded, running my fingers through my hair as an ersatz comb.  "I need to go to the john," I groaned weakly.

"Sure," Morgan said, walking with me.  "Did you eat something bad for lunch?"

I shrugged.  "I think so, or maybe it's just that tuna salad and Mountain Dew don't go together..."

When I reluctantly walked into Geography class, I was greeted by an assortment of wolf whistles, snickers, and girlish titters.  Jessica looked neat and clean in a light yellow shirt, and she and Katy both looked tense and uncomfortable.  Only Gene and Tom showed any outward signs of sympathy.

"When's the next show?" Deanna Kennedy shouted out in her loud, husky voice, accompanied by more whistles and girlish noises.

While Artim gave an appropriately disgusting imitation of someone puking, Manny bugged out his eyes and screamed girlishly,  and the other boys laughed their heads off.  I stood in the doorway, having felt somewhat refreshed after rinsing my mouth out and splashing cold water in my face.  Now I suddenly felt weak-kneed, as if I was about to step into a den of ravenous hyenas.

Morgan quickly walked past me and glared at the rowdy class. "What's wrong with you dicks?" he scolded them brashly.  "Gees, a kid has a little accident and everyone makes such a big deal out of it!" he pointed out angrily.

I shrunk back, not sure that I liked Morgan defending me this way.

"I mean, Christ, what girl in here doesn't have a crush on Perry?" he asked, and I felt the heat rise on my cheeks. 

"I think he's a wuss!" I heard Deanna proclaim, although she didn't get much response thankfully.

"And what guy here doesn't wish Perry was his best friend?  You guys make me sick!"

"Just don't hurl on us!" Artim called back in true smartass fashion.

Morgan was surely ready to lay into Artim when Mr. Walsh loudly cleared his throat.  His six foot four frame suddenly filled the doorway next to me.

"What is the meaning of this chaos?" he asked in a surprisingly calm voice.

The class responded with complete and sudden silence.  Morgan  walked to his seat, still scowling at the class.  Mr. Walsh suddenly put a large hand on my shoulder and patted it lightly.  "Take your seat, Mr. Thompson," he said gently.

I skulked to the back of the room and sat at the end of my row, staring at the empty seat in front of me left by Jesse's absence.  The rest of the afternoon crawled by, and I knew people were pointing and staring at me.  Since Jessica had understandably let out a little scream of dismay when I threw up on her, pretty much the whole middle school had been staring at me when I foolishly pulled off my shirt in a vain attempt to help her out.  I'd never been more embarrassed in my whole life.  I was constantly fighting back tears as the afternoon dragged on, and Tom kept looking at me with those puppy dog eyes brimming with empathetic moisture of their own.

Jessica for her part, was trying to pretend like the whole thing hadn't happened, and whenever our gazes met, she gave me a gentle and reassuring smile.  I guessed it was going to take more than a little regurgitated tuna salad and Mountain Dew to put her off, but I also knew that I seriously owed her after this screw-up.

                                             * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was so tense in the car as my mom drove me to Jesse's, I felt like I could just get out and run and get there faster.   Finally, we pulled up to the curb in front of the small apartment building, with it's half-submerged parking garage looking like the gaping maw of a  steel toothed beast.

"Don't be too long dear, and please, I don't want you to catch anything, not so close to your birthday, so keep your distance!" my mom urged as I got out of the car.

I heard the motor still running and I turned to her before closing the car door.  "You can turn the engine off if you want," I suggested nervously.  "I...uh...might be a few minutes."

She looked like she was about to protest, but then nodded with a reassuring smile.  I grabbed a couple of Jesse's text books and closed the door as my mom turned the engine off.  I found that strangely comforting for some reason.

My heart was racing as I bounded up the short flight of stairs to the deck where the apartments actually were.  One...two...three doors down.  I rang the bell with a trembling finger.  There was no response for a good thirty seconds, and I was about to press the bell again when the door slowly opened.

Instead of the frail, sickly looking boy I expected to see, there was my beautiful blond angel, looking nearly as radiant as ever.  The only sign of a cold he had was that he looked a little tired and his cute little nose was slightly redder than usual.  He was dressed simply in a plain white undershirt, grey sweatpants, and white socks, but his hair was neatly combed and his eyes sparkled with their own hidden source of illumination.

"You don't look so bad," were the first words to come out of my mouth.

Jesse's face lit up with mock affrontery.  "And just what are you selling today, young man?" he asked sarcastically.

I smiled and blushed, realizing what a stupid thing I had said. 

Jesse stepped back and I entered his apartment.  It was neat and tidy and just the way I remembered it.  I glanced reassuringly at the simple furniture, small TV, and family photos on the wall.  I noticed an acoustic guitar, which I had never seen before, propped up against the sofa.

"I...I meant that you don't look sick," I explained awkwardly, suddenly feeling nervous and self conscious in front of this most beautiful of all boys.

"Neither do you!" he responded enthusiastically with a smile that warmed me to the depths of my soul.

I started to reach for him, but he backed away.  "I think I'm over the worst of it, but let's not take any chances, okay?" he warned, and I could hear his own conflicted feelings in the tone of his raspy voice.

"But I missed you so much!" I declared, feeling the tears that had been threatening to pour out all afternoon, begin to cloud my vision.

"Same here, I promise," he said affectionately.  "I felt really messed up yesterday, but not so bad this morning.  I figured I'd just chill out today and make sure that it wasn't anything more serious than a little cold."

"It seems like I haven't seen you in such a long time!"  I told him.

"I know what you mean.  That was a long three days...Thanks for the email update, by the way.  You sure kept yourself busy while I was gone!"

I nodded, suddenly finding my mind filled with so many things I wanted to tell him, seething with so many powerful and conflicting emotions that I could think of nothing relevant to say.

"Those for me?" he asked, gesturing to the Math and Geography books I clutched absently in one hand.

As Jesse grabbed the books, he stiffened, quickly turned his head, and sneezed: "Chish!"

"Oh, poor baby!" I said, sounding just like my mom.  I was immediately reminded how desperately important physical contact with Jesse was to me.  I again reached out for him and he again took a quick step back.

"Don't tempt me, dude, or I'll have you tied to my bed faster than you can say 'Jerrin Jingleheimer Smith!'" he sniffled.

I giggled at the reference to his silly email signature.

He set the books down and grabbed a tissue from a box on the coffee table.  He blew his nose  and I felt myself getting hard!  Wow--I must really love this kid!  I couldn't help but laugh.

"What?" he asked, dropping the used tissue in a small wastebasket by the sofa.

"You even blow your nose sexy!" I giggled.

Jesse gave me an embarrassed smile and sat down on the sofa.

I sat at the other end.

"I guess your mom's waiting downstairs," he said.

I nodded.  "But I made her turn the engine off."

"What about yours?" he teased.

"I wish it was that easy!" I told him, and it was true.  This insatiable need I had for Jesse was driving me crazy.  It had only been two weeks since the last night we had spent together, but it seemed like ages.

"How was Tom today?" he asked worriedly.

I shrugged.  "He seemed okay.  We didn't really get to talk.   I was really blown away by what he told me yesterday," I admitted.

Jesse nodded sympathetically.  "I guess I wasn't too surprised.  It was pretty plain that he had strong feelings for you all along.  He probably never intended for you to know, I bet."

"Yeah, it just slipped out..."

"Along with your foot!" Jesse snickered, cutely crinkling up his little red nose.

"Yeah, even Jessica noticed I was limping a little."

"She's gonna have to do something pretty wild to beat that!" Jesse joked.

I didn't understand how Jesse could take these things so lightly.  Both Tom and Jessica had serious feelings for me, and even though I had no deep feelings for either of them, I realized that I would be crazy with jealousy if I thought anyone was trying to take Jesse from me.  I clearly remembered the fear and insecurity I felt towards Jason Tarentino during our brief encounter the night before the rummage sale.

I really didn't know what was going on in Jessica's head, but I now had a very real sense of the depth of Tom's feelings and my heart ached for him.

"I so wanted to tell Tom about you and me," I admitted.

"There are so many reasons not to," Jesse replied simply.

"But if you had just seen him, seen helpless he seemed, having all those strong feelings and stuff..."

"And you made it clear that you didn't have those kinds of feelings for him?"

"Of course!"

"Then I think you did the right thing...Tom is a lot like me," he revealed.  "He's got a lot of intense stuff boiling around inside.  I really wonder what would happen if you told him about us..."

"What do you mean?  He's such a strong person, Jesse, stronger than I could ever be.  Imagine what it must have been like for him to get up the nerve to tell me that he liked boys--especially thinking that I was completely straight!"

"You're right--that did take a lot of nerve.  But I'm afraid that he has so many powerful feelings that he desperately needs to express, that he has to reach out, to cling to somebody..."

"Like a life raft or something..."  I mused.

Jesse nodded.  "That's a good way to put it.  So imagine, Tom's drowning in all these mixed up feelings and emotions he has, and he grabs on to you--the life raft.  And then suddenly, it turns out that life raft is already occupied!"

"You and me?"  I ventured.

Jesse gave me a long and pained look.  I could sense him trying to sort through a myriad of conflicting emotions and ideas.  "I don't know what would happen..."  he finally replied, but I sensed that he did.

There was a long silence after that during which I was picturing Tom floundering in a stormy sea, desperately trying to grasp my hand...

"Tom is strong,"  Jesse stated firmly.  "I'm sure he feels a lot better now that he's shared everything with you.  It was probably a big relief!"

I nodded hesitantly.  A relief for Tom maybe...

"So otherwise, anything exciting happen at school today?" Jesse asked, obviously as anxious as I was to change the subject.

Actually, something pretty bad happened at lunch..." I began hesitantly.

Jesse's eyes widened with concern.  "Not Morgan...?" he asked hesitantly.

I shook my head.  "Jessica.  She wanted to go for a...a..little walk, I guess."

"I bet she did," Jesse noted wryly.

I shrugged.  "Anyway, we were just talking--just dumb stuff, and suddenly, I felt really sick...See, I had this tuna salad sandwich for lunch, and I guess I ate it too fast or something...and...and..."   I felt myself getting emotional again, remembering how humliated I had felt all afternoon.  "And I threw up on her shirt!"

"Oh, wow.  That's gross!"  Jesse said sympathetically.

I nodded emphatically.  "It was gross, but she said she had an extra shirt in her locker so she wasn't too freaked out.  The thing is, after I hurled, I kinda...panicked I guess, and I pulled off my own shirt and offered it to her..."

Now Jesse really had my attention.

"So anyway, Jessica, she like screamed when I hurled, ya know?   And so, when I pulled my shirt off, well, I guess everyone in the lunch area was staring right at us.  When I went to Geography, everyone was teasing me and making fun and..."  Oh no, there were tears coming out of my eyes!  Thinking about poor, sweet Tom floundering in the tumultuous ocean of his own feelings, and then remembering the harsh way the class had teased me after lunch made me want to go running out onto the porch, but instead, I just buried my face in one of the soft sofa cushions.

I felt Jesse's comforting hand on my shoulder as I shook with sob after sob.  Soon, Jesse's arms had slid around my torso from behind and I felt him lean his head against my back.  God, that felt good!

"Poor baby..." he crooned.  "Some of those kids are such jerks...I bet Artim and Manny were spurring them on..."

I nodded, my face still buried, the tears still flowing.  "And..and..Deanna..." I managed to sputter.

"Nobody likes her anyway," Jesse assured me.

Finally I had to turn in my seat and grab Jesse in my arms.  He didn't resist, but was careful to keep his face turned away from me.  I finished my sobbing in the warmest embrace I have ever known.  Just to be held like that by my beautiful blond angel was like a warm blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and a good book all rolled into one.

"I missed you so much I thought I was gonna go crazy and poor Tom drowning and today was just awful and it was so gross and everyone was laughing and I was so embarrassed and...and..."  More sobs worked there way up from my twisted gut and I just grabbed my precious angel even tighter.  "Oh Jesse, you must think I'm so stupid.  I don't know how you can even stand me!"

"Perry...Perry..." Jesse crooned comfortingly.  "I thought for sure you knew by now--I just love stupid people!"

                                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That night,  I had just settled on top of the covers to read some Stephen King when my cellphone rang.  I quickly answered, figuring it would be my beautiful angel...

"Hi, Perry.  Are you feeling better?" 

It Was Jessica!  She had never called me before.  I didn't even know she had my cell number.  I felt my whole body tense up.

"Ah...Jessica?" I stammered, instantly blushing with shame at what I had done to her at lunch.

"Oh, Perry.  I'm so sorry about what happened today.  Those kids--they're just beasts, stupid, mindless beasts.   That Deanna, she's such a big fat ox!  You know that everyone adores you and things just got out of hand is all.  It was just awful!"

"I...uh...I'm the one who's sorry," I insisted shakily.  "I've never done anything like that before.  That was so gross and disgusting..."

"Don't be silly!  It was an accident.  You have nothing to apologize for.  I was just so ashamed of the way everyone behaved when you came in.  I just wanted to scream at them that they were all acting like infants!  Thank goodness Morgan jumped in first!"

"Yeah, that was really nice of him.  Morgan's such a great guy."

"Well, he can be..." Jessica replied enigmatically.

"I was so embarrassed about...about everything..."

"I'm sorry things turned out that way, and I'm sorry our class is a bunch of immature imbeciles," she declared.  Then I heard a muffled giggle.  "But at least I got to see you without your shirt!"

I so wanted this conversation to be over.  "Uh...yeah...that was pretty stupid, huh?"

"Yes, Perry.  Seeing you naked from the waist up was a real big let down!" she stated sarcastically.

I guessed she was trying to tell me that I didn't look that bad, but considering that I had just thrown up on her, she probably hadn't really been focusing on what I looked like anyway.

"I don't work out or anything," I was quick to point out, thinking about Morgan's well toned body stretched out naked on my futon.

 "You looked just perfect to me," she declared, and then with a little more excitement in her voice, added, "I can't wait to see the rest of you."

"The...the rest of me?" I squeaked disbelievingly.

"Oh my gosh, Perry," she tittered.  "Aren't you interested in seeing what other people look like naked?" she asked boldly.

I glanced around the room, afraid that someone might have overheard Jessica's brash question.  I couldn't think of any response that wouldn't sound totally weird.  How could a girl I hardly knew be talking to me about seeing people naked?

I heard her giggle.  "Did I shock you?"  she asked.

"I think so..."

"Well, good--then we're even for the day!"   I heard her sigh.  I kept my thumb over the 'end' button, hoping she'd had enough of my incoherent babbling for one night.  "Anyway, the truth is, there aren't really that many people I want to see naked--but you're definitely at the top of my list!"

This conversation didn't sound real to me.  Hadn't I spewed regurgitated tuna salad and Mountain Dew all over the front of this prim and proper young lady's shirt in front of the whole school?  Hadn't I made a complete fool of myself in the process?  Hadn't I become the laughing stock of the entire eighth grade (at least) at St. Boniface?

"Perry?" she asked, after a long silence.  "Are you confused again?"

"Don't be angry with me..."  I winced.

"I'll admit, I was getting a little frustrated when you seemed to be ignoring me after the rummage sale, but after today...I'm feeling so good about us!"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh my gosh, Perry!  Do I have to spell it out for you?  You know how I feel about you, and now that La Jolla Toya is pretty much out of the picture, I don't see what there is to get in the way of our relationship!"


"Are you sure you're feeling okay?" Jessica asked worriedly.

"I'm just..."  I couldn't help but giggle, "...confused!"

Jessica laughed on her end of the line.  "Well, you look so cute when you're confused, I guess that's okay.  Maybe we just need to sit and have a good long talk--like to unconfuse you!"

I wanted to tell her that the more we talked, the more confused I would get, but I realized, as truthful as that was,  it would sound utterly lame.  Here was the dilemma I had been dreading for weeks now, basically being laid on my front doorstep.  Jessica wanted to pursue a serious relationship with me, but unbeknownst to her, I was already taken--in a big way!  Just not by whom she thought!  Still, I couldn't deny that I felt physically attracted to her, and Jesse didn't seem to be bothered by it--at  least that's what he said.  I decided to be honest.

"I'm not looking to get into anything serious," I cautioned her.

There was more giggling.  "Just as I suspected--you're not as confused as you'd like me to think!" 

"Oh, believe me, I am.  But..."  I hesitated before telling her how I really felt.   "I also know that I feel something special when I'm around you, Jessica, even though I do think it's kinda funny that a popular and pretty girl like you would want to waste her time on..."

"Perry Thompson!  Are you accusing me of having bad taste in boys?" she interrupted petulantly.


I was relieved to hear playful tittering on the other end of the line.  Phew!  Talking to a girl was like walking a tight rope!  I swear I was even feeling dizzy! 

"Anyway, I was hoping we could get together," she suggested.

I was grateful for the sudden change of subject.  "I already said I'd come to your party..." I reminded her gently.

"That's almost three weeks away!" she protested.

"Then what did you have in mind?" I asked, trying to keep the fear out of my voice.  I decided I was just going to tell her that my mom wasn't ready for me to start dating yet.

"I was thinking we could go for a bike ride through the park on Saturday morning," she said, sounding as if she already had this all planned out.

"Oh..." I said.  I wasn't sure the 'no dating' speech was going to apply here.

"Does that sound too serious to you?" she asked with just a hint of sarcasm.

"No, of course not," I assured her quickly. 

"Great, then I'll stop by your house around eight a.m."

"Make it nine--I want to sleep in a little," I bargained.

"Okay, lazybones," she agreed reluctantly.

"And Jessica...?  I think maybe we should cool it a little at school...I mean, we could get in big trouble..."

"I suppose so," she agreed sympathetically.

"So...uh...Anything else?" I asked cautiously.

"Just that I can't wait until Saturday!"

" too!" I said somewhat unconvincingly.

"I hope I dream about you tonight, Perry.  And I hope you'll take your shirt off for me again."

"In your dream, right?"


Thankfully, there was an email from Jesse.  Just the thing after my freaky conversation with Jessica.  As pretty as she was, I just couldn't imagine myself getting naked in front of her.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to see her naked, but maybe in a nice two piece bathing suit...Man!  Why was I having all these weird thoughts?  As far as I was concerned, there was really only one person who I wanted to see naked--needed to see naked, just as soon as possible.

Here's Another Dirty Story

Dear Perry,

started to rain tonight while I was bringing a load of laundry back to the apartment.  My mom yelled at me for tracking mud into the apartment and told me to wipe my feet.  She didn't make me take off my shoes because she knew that would turn you on and we wouldn't want that, now would we?!

Well, that's my dirty story for today.  I love you more than words can describe...

Jerrin Jingleheimer Smith esq.  (serving the tri-county area since 1942!)

I actually peeked through the blinds to see what the weather was like, and smiled when I saw that the street was as dry as it had been when I came home from school.  That guy...

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