Legal Notice:

The following 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

Chapter 10  Saturday In The Park With...

Remarkably, I managed to sleep the rest of the night like a rock.  It wasn't until I heard someone knocking at my bedroom door that I groggily came back to some form of consciousness.

"Huh?" I croaked, glancing at the alarm clock.  It was eight twenty.  I wouldn't have minded sleeping in a little longer...

"Perry, dear?" my mom asked.

"Uh...yeah...come in," I said, pushing myself into a sitting position against the headboard.  My chest was still a little sore from where Craig had kicked me.

She was carrying the cordless phone from the kitchen.  "It's your father..." she whispered, a tense but neutral expression on her face.

At least she looked a little better than she had last night.  Her hair was up with a big white towel wrapped around it, and she was still in her bathrobe.  She smelled of fragrant soap and shampoo.  She had probably been downstairs drinking coffee and reading the North County Times as she did every Saturday morning.

I gave her a pleading look but she shrugged helplessly.  

Reluctantly, I took the handset.  "Hello?" I croaked groggily.

My mom gave me something close to an encouraging smile and left, quietly closing the door behind her.

"The Birthday Boy!" my dad exclaimed cheerfully.  He had a distinctively smooth and pleasant voice, but right now, it sounded cold and grating to my weary ears.

"Mmmm..." I muttered noncommittally.

"Did you get the package I sent you?" he asked.  "I tried phoning you last night, but the recording kept saying you were out of the service area."

"Sorry," I answered in a gravelly morning voice.  I wished my mom had brought me a glass of orange juice.  My throat was rough and parched after all the shouting and excitement yesterday.  "Yeah, I got the camcorder.  It's great--really great--thanks, dad."

"Did I wake you up?" he asked.  "I guess it is a young man's prerogative to sleep in on his birthday, and since yesterday was a school day..."

"Yeah, I'm pretty beat," I admitted.

"Well, I just wanted to wish you the best birthday I could, pal.  I have to go to a deposition in a few minutes..."

That sounded like my dad, always working, always running around doing something for somebody, weekend or not.

"I see," I answered curtly.

"Perry, is something wrong?  You don't sound like yourself..."

"How would you know?" I snorted belligerently.

"What exactly do you mean by that?" Jake Thompson asked, his voice taking on a defensive tone.

"Nothing..." I sighed.  There was an awkward silence and I was about to apologize.

"Your mother sent me a copy of your school picture," my dad noted.  "You're  growing into a real Don Juan--a chip off the old block!" he laughed nervously.  "You must have the girls swooning all over you by now!"

I felt the anger beginning to well up inside of me and thought about how I had looked in Kouda's mirror.  "I got a hair cut the other day," I informed him.

"Okay, sport," he said with a bemused chuckle.  "I hope they did a good job.  You've got that gorgeous Thompson hair--it's one of our best features!"

"It's pretty short now," I replied in an equally curt voice.

My dad didn't seem to have a reply to that and there was another uncomfortable silence.  "Did your mother tell you the good news?" he asked hesitantly.

"About you and Staci getting married?"  I asked.

"Well...are you excited?" he asked, some enthusiasm returning to his voice.

I really wasn't up to getting into a long and ugly argument about why it wasn't good news.  Surely, my dad wasn't that dense.  "Uh...yeah.  I'm sure it'll be great."

"It should be the talk of the town.  New Year's Eve at the Plaza with two hundred guests!  Staci's dad is going all out.  We're gonna give Dick Clark a real run for his money...And Perry..."


"I've been giving this a lot of that and...I'd be honored to have you as my Best Man!"

That was a shocker.  I hadn't been prepared for that.  My dad had two brothers and probably more friends than half a dozen normal people.

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"Absolutely.  I discussed it with Staci and she thinks it's a great idea!"

"What about Uncle Frank and Uncle Steven?"

"They were totally cool with it!" he replied quickly.  "Perry, you're my only son--you're so special to me.  Who else  could I possibly have as my number one guy on such an important day?"

My head was spinning now.  I so didn't want to get into all my feelings about my dad's second marriage or how the news had affected my mom.  I decided the best thing was to hold my tongue so this conversation could be over with as quickly as possible.

"Can I think about it?"

There was a much long pause on the other end.  "Well...I don't think I understand, Perry..." he said, and he truly did sound taken aback by my hesitation.

"It's just that, mom and me, we really haven't been able to soak this all in yet," I admitted, trying my best not to sound antagonistic.

But my dad managed to show some perception.  "I understand, son.  I really do.  I tell you what... Think about it for a few days--but not much longer than that, okay?  While I'd hate to do it, I guess I'd have to ask someone else if you don't want to do it and time is getting short."


"But Perry, I really want it to be you.  I understand this news must have come as something of a shock to your mother, and honest to God, the last thing I want to do is cause her more pain.  But understand that people move on, Perry.  Sometimes we stubbornly wish that things could just stay the same, that we could freeze things just like a snapshot or something.  But life isn't like that, Perry.  It just isn't."

"I know..."  I assured him even though I silently wanted him to be wrong about that.  "And I'll make a decision soon, okay?"

"Sure, son..." my dad said, the hurt and disappointment clear in his voice.  "But the main thing is, you have a great birthday.  I hear you have a big Disneyland trip planned!"

"Yeah, me and a few friends, and my friend's mom."

"Remember how I took you on  Space Mountain for the first time?"

I had been so excited to go, waiting literally for years to reach the minimum height requirement.  One day when I was ten I had gotten it into my head that I had finally grown to the right height and pleaded with my dad to take me.  Well, after I begged and begged, he took off of work and drove me to Disneyland.  We rushed to Space Mountain and I lined myself up under the marker.  I was still like half an inch too short!  I was ready to burst into tears when my dad took my long, wavy hair and poofed it up.  He showed the attendant that I was now the minimum height, and the kid let us on!  We went on that crazy roller coaster about six or seven times, until I think my dad was starting to turn a little green and insisted we take a break.

"Yeah...yeah, I do," I admitted, the warmth of nostalgia creeping into my raspy morning voice.

"I'll never forget the look on your face when that pimply faced attendant let us on!  I was getting pretty nauseous by the third or fourth time, but you just wanted to keep going and going..."  

I could hear my dad starting to choke up.  I just waited for him to recover.  "So...uh...yeah.  I really have to get going to that deposition.  But I honestly do wish you a happy birthday, and whatever you may think of me, I love you with all my heart, Perry Jacob Thompson!"

"Okay...bye, dad..."  I said, and quickly hung up before I started blubbering like a baby.  It would have been so easy to just hate my dad.  He had carried on an affair for over a year with his high school sweetie before revealing it to my mom.  He had left us to move across the country with his new girlfriend.  He had relegated me to part time son, inconveniently wrenching me away from my mom and friends just when I actually had free time to spend with them, and then becoming once again nothing more than a name on a check with the occasional meaningless phone conversation in between.  But when he had been here, when he hadn't been working or helping out this friend or that one, when he hadn't been sneaking around behind my mom's back, he really had been my father, and I realized that I still loved him for that.   For a brief moment, it seemed like all those bad things hadn't happened and my dad was still the same one who had poofed up my hair to get on Space Mountain and rode and rode until he was very nearly space sick just because I couldn't get enough.

My crying jag was interrupted by a light knocking at my bedroom door.  I tried to pull myself together, struggling to swallow the phlegm that had collected at the back of my throat.  "Yeah, I'm done," I called hoarsely.

"Perry, there's someone downstairs to see you, dear.  It's...Jessica!"

Oh Shit!  I had totally forgotten!  Jessica and I were supposed to go bike riding at nine o'clock on Saturday.  Oh shit--that was today!  Shit--right now!!!  After everything I had been through yesterday, after talking to my dad, and as worried as I was about my poor angel, did I really need this aggressive teenaged huntress pursuing my wretched adolescent form on top of all that?

"I...I guess I forgot," I told my mom through the still closed door.

She came in, a puzzled and concerned look on her face.  "Are you okay, dear?" she asked seeing the obvious physical signs of my little sob session.

"Dad wants me to be Best Man at his wedding," I told her disbelievingly as I frantically tried to wipe the moisture from my eyes and face.

But my mom actually managed half a smile.  "That man..." she said with something that didn't sound anything like anger.

"I told him I'd think about it...but he sounded kinda disappointed," I informed her.

"That's not a choice he would have made lightly," my mom noted.  She sighed heavily and shook her head.  "This is something you'll have to decide on your own," she conceded.  I nodded.

"But Jessica is waiting for you downstairs," she reminded me.

It was my turn to sigh.  I couldn't even think straight.  The only person on my mind right now was Jesse.  But we'd be seeing him soon...

"Can I call Jesse first?  Invite him to the mall?"

My mom gave me an understanding smile.

"Oh, and I guess we'll have to take Miranda too..." I added quickly.

"Actually, I already spoke to their mother a little while ago.  We're all set.  But you still have time for that bike ride, and if you promised her..."

 "Sure!" I agreed, suddenly feeling a whole lot better. "Could you ask her to just give me a few minutes just get cleaned up?" I asked.

"You take your time.  I'm sure Jessica and I will think of something to talk about!" my mom said with a slightly evil glint in her eye.

That didn't sound good!

"I'm up, I'm up!" I said, pushing the covers back and swinging my feet to the floor.

I did everything short of taking another shower to get myself ready for inspection.  Even after washing my face thoroughly, I couldn't get rid of the reddish circles around my eyes from all my crying.  But it just looked like I hadn't gotten much sleep and that would be my explanation if she asked.  I imagined it would be quite cool out considering how chilly it was last night.  I put on a comfortable, grey Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt with long black sleeves underlapping it so that it looked like two shirts instead of one, a pair of black sweatpants, white crew socks, and my black Vans.  A good outfit for biking and nothing to tight or clingy.  I dug around in my desk and found the box containing the watch Aunt Debbie, my dad's younger sister, had given me for First Communion.  It was a nice but plain Seiko with nothing more than an hour, minute, and second hand and a leather wristband.  Remarkably, it was still running, and all I had to do was adjust the time.  I brushed my teeth and gargled, and actually appreciated the way my relatively short hair fell neatly into place when I ran a comb through it.  It wasn't completely flat because there were still some waves in it, but at least it didn't go off in all different directions with whorls and curls and strange little bits  all looking like they were trying to desperately escape my head at the same time!

I came downstairs, feeling both hungry and thirsty.  Jessica was waiting in the den.  She stood up when I came in.  She looked so...fresh, standing there in a tight fitting white, open necked tennis shirt, black spandex shorts, and white Nikes with just the very tops of short white socks showing above the tops of her sneakers.  Her long, light brown hair was tied back in a big flowing pony tail.  She looked lean and trim and incredibly vibrant.

"Happy birthday!" she said, running up and giving me an affectionate hug.  She smelled lightly of tropical fruit.  I lightly hugged her back.  "Do I get to give you a birthday kiss?" she whispered in my ear.

Before I could answer, my mom came in, clearing her throat to announce her presence.  I was glad to see she was carrying a tray with orange juice and a stack of buttered toast.  Jessica slowly but deliberately backed a few steps away.

"Jessica says she ate already, but I know you must be starving," she noted as she set the tray down, a half smile perpetually glued to her face.

"Do you mind?" I asked.

"Wouldn't want you passing out from hunger in the middle of our ride," Jessica noted cheerfully.

It was so strange to see someone in such a buoyant mood after everything that had gone on since yesterday afternoon.  The fear, the panic, the remorse, the shame, the guilt, it was all still weighing heavily on me and I suspected my mom must be in a similar state, although she hid it well.  While I was pretty sure my mom was incapable of outright lying, she was quite good at concealing the way she really felt from those with whom she didn't want to share her true inner state of mind.

I munched quietly on my toast and gulped down my orange juice, which tasted really weird after I had just gargled!

"Did you and your mom have a nice, quiet dinner last night?" Jessica asked politely.

I glanced nervously at my mom and she managed what I knew was a false smile of satisfaction.

"Uh...sure," I replied, figuring my mom wouldn't count this little fib against me considering the circumstances.

"You look a little tired..." Jessica noted.

Oh man, was I going to have to spew out lie after lie right in front of my own mother?

"I had to go into his room after two in the morning and turn off his TV," my mom clucked disapprovingly.

I looked at her wide eyed, but she quickly shook her head, giving me the slightest of knowing winks.  

I didn't know if it was the lingering taste of the mouthwash, or the fact that I was so worried about Jesse, but suddenly I didn't feel nearly as hungry as I had a few minutes ago.  I got up and carried the tray back in the kitchen.  Jessica and my mom followed.

"So...uh...I guess we'll be going," I told my mom.  "Just to the park, right?" I confirmed with Jessica.

She nodded and gave me an excited flash of bright and perfect white teeth.

"What time are we going to know...mall?" I asked.

"Oh, take your time," my mom said with an encouraging smile.  "We'll probably have lunch there, but otherwise there's no hurry."

"You're going to the mall today?" Jessica asked with sudden interest.

"Yeah, I have to get some...ah...things, and Jesse and his little sister are coming with us."

She suddenly seemed to lose interest.  "I see.  Well, I have riding lessons this afternoon anyway," she announced.

"Oh?" my mom asked curiously.

"Horseback riding out at  Carlton Ranch.  Katy and I have been going for a couple of years now."

I pushed the button that  activated the automatic garage door opener.  

"Do you want to take some water?" my mom asked.

"That's okay, Mrs. Thompson.  I have some...for both of us," Jessica smiled.

Now you two have a good time!" my mom said as I grabbed my jacket off the hook by the door.  I didn't know if it was just my imagination, but somehow the way she said that seemed to imply that she much preferred me spending time with Jessica instead of Jesse...

"I don't think you'll need a jacket," Jessica noted as we stepped into the bright morning sunshine.

Was she kidding?  It was cold!  I didn't know how she could tolerate being dressed only in a thin cotton shirt and Spandex shorts.  I shrugged apologetically and slipped my jacket on.

Jessica's gracefully slender, golden Schwinn leaned proudly on its kickstand near the kitchen door.  She had a small pink backpack bungee corded to the frame rack behind the seat.  I guessed that's where the water bottles were.  I went to the garage and wheeled out my Jeep Grand Cherokee Mountain Bike--metallic blue of course, last year's Christmas gift from my mom.  We both strapped on our helmets and naturally Jessica led the way down my driveway and out into the street.

Coronado Park was just east of our neighborhood and represented the northeastern border of Santa Corina.  It only took us about ten minutes of winding through the quiet suburban streets before we entered the park itself.  There was a smoothly paved path that circled the majority of the flat area of the park and another that went up into the hills a little ways before circling around and rejoining the main path again.  The park was mostly open and grassy, but there were groves of sprawling California Oak, towering pines, and a few deciduous trees whose leaves had just started turning colors around Thanksgiving, adding some brilliant splashes of red, yellow and gold to the greenery around us.  There were only a handful of joggers and bicyclists out and it was much too early for the birthday parties and picnics that would normally fill the park by early afternoon.

"Do you want to see my favorite spot?" Jessica asked.

Was I going to say no?  I nodded and she turned off onto the uphill path and navigated the undulating, but slowly rising hills with what seemed like little effort.  I had to admit that a quiet bike ride on a cool December morning was just the ticket.  The muscles in my legs enjoyed the challenge of pushing me up the dome-like hills and the chilly air filling my lungs was refreshing and invigorating.  When we got to one of the highest points of the trail, Jessica got off her bike and waited while I did the same.  We both took off our helmets and hung them over the handlebars.

"It's not too far, but you really can't ride," she noted, walking her bike through some sparse grass.  There were a few gnarled Oaks, tall and slender Eucalyptus, and some Maple trees, but it was nothing like the dense woods of Hode Ranch.  We walked for about fifteen minutes, quickly losing sight of the bike path as we went further into the system of gently rolling hills.  Looking back, I could see our community of Coronado Hills spread out beneath us, one terra cotta tiled roof after another, one large, two storied house after another in various styles from Colonial, to Mediterranean to Tuscan, placid blue pools, neatly trimmed hedges, used brick walls, palm trees, grassy lawns, and winding cul du sacs spillng off into the misty morning.

Just as I was wondering how far we were going to go, and if there might actually be mountain lions this far off the path, I heard the sound of running water.  We mounted one more in a series of gently climbing hills, and then looked down a shallow slope at a wide creek, cascading through the undulating landscape.  This had to be Corina Creek, which also passed through our housing development.  Only there, it was encased in walls of grey-white concrete as were pretty much all the streams and rivers in southern California.  But here, it just flowed naturally, filled with large and small boulders, some tall grasses, and even a few bushes.  At this time of the year, after the usual rainless summer, it was relatively sedate.  But everyone knew that in the spring, after a good rain, it could go blasting through its concrete channel at a speed and force that could easily overcome anyone unfortunate enough to fall in.  It was then the sworn duty of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue unit to retrieve the floundering victim before the stream went underground near the downtown area.

"I just love it here," Jessica declared, laying her bike in the grass and then spinning around like Julie Andrews at the start of the Sound Of Music.  I liked the way her pony tail flared out as she spun and the way the tight black Spandex showed off her slender, but distinctly feminine hips.

"It's really nice," I said, enjoying the soothing sound of the water spilling down between all the different sized rocks, pouring out of the brownish green hills that continued to slowly climb for some time into the distance.  I was thinking how nice it would be to bring Jesse up here.  

"Are you thirsty?" she asked.


Jessica untied her backpack and opened it up.  She pulled out a bottle of Sparkletts and twisted off the cap.  She took a small drink before handing me the bottle.  I was surprised she wanted me to drink from the same bottle as she had.  I mean, we hardly knew each other!

"Go ahead!" she urged, noting my hesitation.  "If you catch any girl germs, I'll pay the hospital bill!" she teased.

I really was thirsty and took two good sized gulps.  I was about to wipe my mouth with the sleeve of my jacket when Jessica stopped me.

"Let me do that!" she said, and I thought she was going to dab my mouth with one of those dainty little hankies that girls always seemed to carry around, but instead, she leaned in and licked the wet area around my lips.  "Mmmm...It tastes better that way!" she exclaimed.

I was still recovering from the shock of having Jessica's tongue swirling around my chin when she again moved in, this time zeroing in on my lips.  She tilted her head so that we achieved a solid lock and the kissing began in earnest.  It was like we were picking up right where we left off at the rummage sale!  Her lips were so soft and delicate.  Her hands began rubbing my shoulders and back but I just stood there because I was still holding the water bottle.  She began probing the inside of my mouth with her tongue, and I instinctively returned the favor.

Reluctantly she broke our lip lock so we could both catch our breath.  I felt light headed but Jessica opened her golden brown eyes wide and pressed her hands against my cheeks.  "You're a great kisser, Perry Thompson!" she declared.

I wanted to tell her I had a fantastic teacher...

 Then she gazed at me coyly. "I wonder what else you're good at?" she mused out loud.

"Not much," I admitted freely.  

"I doubt that!"

If she only knew that the sum total of my experience with girls had been with her!  But she was right about one thing--that had been a good kiss.  It was nothing like the passionate exchanges between Jesse and me, but it was certainly a far cry from Tom's dry and spongy boylips.

"Close your eyes," she said.

Now that had to be asking for trouble!  "Why?" I asked cautiously.

"So I can rip off all your clothes and have my way with you!" she replied facetiously.  "Just do it!" she demanded impatiently.

Hesitantly, I shut my eyes against the bright blue morning sky.  The sound of the stream tumbling over its rocky bed filled my ears, but I could also hear her rummaging through her backpack.

"Okay, you can open them now!"

When I did, I was staring at something Jessica was holding in front of my face.  It took my eyes a few seconds to focus and then I realized it was a silver linked chain with a small Turquoise crucifix dangling from it.

"Happy birthday, Perry!" she declared.

"Oh wow, Jessica.  You didn't have to get me anything..."  I said, admiring the simple beauty of what was obviously an authentic piece of semi-precious stone.

"It's real Turquoise.  It's's your birthstone if you didn't know!"

 "This is too much!" I said, modestly refusing the expensive gift.

"I wanted to get something that matched your beautiful hazel eyes, but really...there's nothing that captures that amazing color!  So I thought I'd go with your birthstone.  Here, let me do it," she said, undoing the clasp and reclasping it clumsily around my neck.

"Oh, can't you take off that silly jacket for a while?" she asked with slight annoyance.

I was feeling a lot warmer after our vigorous bike ride into the hills, so I unzipped my hoodie and laid it over my bike.  The bluish green pendant now dangled against the front of my long sleeved T-shirt.  I lifted it with my fingers and examined it more closely.  The turquoise had tiny dark veins running through it and was embedded in a shaped silver frame.

"Look on the back," Jessica told me.

I turned it around.  Engraved in the silver was:  P & J 4ever.


Jessica shrugged.  "Sure, why not?" she giggled.  "Don't you think we'll get married one day?  I want to finish my degree first--probably in veterinary medicine or marine biology, but then..."

"Whoa!  Hold on!" I said, backing up a little toward the creek.  "We're only in the eighth grade!  Aren't you getting ahead of yourself--ourselves?"

Jessica rolled her eyes.  "You're such a drama queen, Perry!" she noted.  (She had no idea!)  "I know it's a long time from now and that people change and all those things, but I wanted to show you what I'm feeling right now--today!"

She made a pouty face and crossed her arms.  "I suppose if you really don't like it, I can take it back..."

"It's not that--I do like it--I like it a lot," I assured her.  Perry and Jesse Forever!  Actually I did like the ring of that! Hehehe...

"I noticed you didn't have one for some reason."

"Yeah...well, I have a really nice one, but I left it in New York last summer and..."  I didn't want to tell her that I was so despondent about my parents' divorce, and having to leave all my new friends at St. Boniface and sit in a stuffy condo in some old brick building in the middle of smelly, sticky old Manhattan all summer long, that when my dad found it shortly after I landed back in California, I had told him to just hang on to it.  At the time, I didn't feel like I owed God any favors.  Of course now that He had sent me my beautiful sweet angel..."And I just lost it, I guess."

"Well, now you have a pretty nice one.  Will you wear it everyday?" she asked hopefully.

"Sure.  Thank you, Jessica."  It was clear that I owed her a little show of gratitude, so I set the water bottle down in the grass, placed my hands lightly on her hips, and leaned in for a nice, thank you kiss.  Only, Jessica didn't seem content with just another kiss.  She was getting a lot more passionate, and this time, as her lips pressed hungrily against mine, her hands roved from my shoulders, down my back, to my ass.  She even pressed her hands into my butt cheeks and that felt just a little too good!  But if I backed away, I knew I would hurt her feelings, so I let her hands wander for a while.

"Guess what?" she asked with a gleeful smile.


"I have something else for you!'

"Really?  Aw, Jessica.  That's too much.  This was a really nice birthday present but..."

"Shush.  This one cost me five bucks!  No biggie!"  She knelt and rummaged through her backpack again.  She held up the narrow, tightly braided loop for me to see.  It was dark blue with silver sparkles with some light blue writing stitched along it's length.  I turned my head slightly to read it:  Perry & Jessica.  At least it didn't say 'forever'!

"It's a friendship band," she explained.  She lifted my right arm and started slipping the slightly elastic band around my wrist.  I suddenly pulled away.

" want me to wear that?" I asked nervously.

Jessica gave me a puzzled look.  "No, I want you to toss it in the river!"

"I mean, gees, it's just that,'s really nice and all..."

"And blue!" she noted.

" favorite color...hehehe..."

"What is it, Perry?" she asked suspiciously.  "Does it have something to do with La Jolla Toya?"

"Well, not really.  I mean I don't know if I'm ever going to see her again...but isn't this a little strong?  I mean, all the kids at school will see!"

"Ooh, we wouldn't want that now, would we?" she asked sarcastically, but still with a sweet smile on her face.  "So you're saying your embarrassed to be my boyfriend?"

"B...boyfriend?" I asked, wide eyed as my heart rate started to increase substantially.

"Perry..." she said, closing the distance between us.  She brushed my cheek and I felt...something.  "What is it?  Have I been pushing you too hard?  Do you think I'm too aggressive?"


"I am aggressive--I know that.  When I want something, I do whatever it takes to get it."

"But I'm not a...a thing..."

"No, you're not.  You're a sweet, sweet boy--a little confused, but very sweet..."

I didn't know what to say, so I stared at her dumbly.

"Come" she beckoned, strolling along the bank of the creek.

We walked a little upstream until we got to a large willow tree with bright green, leafy branches that hung lazily over the running water.  She sat on the sparse grass amidst the huge protruding roots and waited for me to join her.

"Isn't this nice?" she asked, closing her eyes and breathing deeply.

I sat beside her and did the same.  The fresh smell of the grass and the tree and the open hills mixed with the light and moist scent of the travelling water blended to create a delicate, natural fragrance that seemed to sooth all my anxieties, all my worries, all my fears.  Sitting under that willow tree, listening to the water dancing over the rocks, it seemed like everything was going to turn out just great.  Tom and Derek were going to start a wonderful, sex filled relationship; Morgan was going to work out all his anger and frustrations with the help of Katy and his therapist and he was going to be supportive of his brother; Derrin's parents were going to resolve all their differences and my cousin was going to forget all about playing Martians; Gary and Theresa were going to get married and live happily everafter; Al-Jihuad and Billy were alive and well but going to jail; Goreski, Hernandez, and Hollister were going to graduate by some miracle and leave Santa Corina for the mean streets of South-central L.A.; my mom and Mrs. Taylor were going to see how important it was for Jesse and me to be together; and my dad was going to get married and give me a little brother or sister--or both!

But then there was Jessica...Where did she fit into all this?  Was it possible for me to love a boy in the deepest and most meaningful way possible, and still have room in my heart for this lovely creature sitting beside me?  Or was it even up to me?  Jessica was undoubtedly the one with the stronger personality.   She knew what she wanted, and she wanted me!  Did I have any say at all?  Short of telling her that I was madly in love with a boy from our class, what could I do to end this relationship without destroying what Jesse and I had?

"Yeah...yeah, it is," I acknowledged as I grasped her hand in mine.  She quickly put her hand over my hand and squeezed tightly, and I felt passion there and it frightened me.

"Perry, what are you afraid of?" she asked, as if reading my mind, still clutching the friendship band in one hand.

"I don't know," I admitted.  "I really don't.  It's just that you're the prettiest, most popular girl in our class--in the whole school I guess, and for me to wear this where everyone can see it just seems..."

"Oh, Perry..." she said, almost in tears.   "That's just the sweetest thing ever!  You don't want to be showing off, making everyone else jealous!  We are the two best looking people in the whole class after all.  I just love your sensitivity..." she crooned, her moist eyes gazing longingly into mine.  "Perry...?" she said after a long quiet stretch.


"Did you know that you're the boy of my dreams?"


"You are!" she said emotionally.  "You're so sweet and sensitive, kind and caring, and yet so strong and handsome--but in a quiet way--not all smug and smarmy like Kyle or Morgan...I...I...I'm just so glad we're together.  I'm so glad you like me...Thank you, Perry, thank you!"  She embraced me and we had another long kiss and tongue exchange.

It felt good sitting there with this pretty young lady, holding hands and kissing under the willow tree.  If it wasn't for my passionate feelings about Jesse, I realized that I could totally get into this.  I could fully and completely be Jessica's boyfriend.  But part of my mind always remembered that it wasn't going to be like that, and I felt guilty, both for knowing that I could never really be what Jessica wanted, and for enjoying this, especially when my sweet angel was sitting at home feeling terrible about himself.  

"Oh Perry...You're crying!" Jessica noted with concern.

Was I?  Oh shit!  I quickly wiped the tears from my eyes.  I started to get up, wanting to run away, to grab my bike and ride home without looking back.  But Jessica held on firmly.

"What is it, Perry?  Was it something I said?"

"I guess I'm just a little too sensitive!" I admitted with a sniffle.

I saw Jessica's expression of concern melt into one of compassion.  "Maybe you are," she acknowledged, "or maybe it's just that I've been coming on a little too strong.  You are sensitive and sweet and I've been pushing you too hard.  I see that now.  I'm going to back off a little, okay?  You'll see.  I won't rub it in everyone's faces--even though I want to tell the world!"

I didn't ask her what exactly she wanted to tell the world, because I think I knew, and hearing that would just make things worse for everybody.  To have Jessica admit to me that she was being too aggressive must have been a difficult confession for such a proud and determined young lady.   She really was trying, trying to be more sensitive and more considerate of others, and of me.

"It's okay..." I said quietly.  "I'll wear it," I said, offering her my wrist.

She started to slip it on and then took it back.  "Oh Perry, you're right.  This is just another way of showing off.  It''s so insensitive!"  Then she got a somewhat mischievous smile on her face.  "Take off your shoe!" she urged me.

"What?  Why?"  Did she want me to stick that friendship band in my shoe?  That wouldn't be very comfortable, and wouldn't be much fun for the friendship band either.

Impatiently, she untied my left sneaker and tugged it off my foot.  If she had gone for my right shoe, I would have pulled away.  That was the foot Tom had sunk his teeth into last Sunday.  Without asking for my permission, she began peeling down my white crew sock.

"Hey?  What's going on?" I asked nervously.

"Don't freak out--I'm not going to bite you!" she informed me as she tugged the bunched up sock off my toes, leaving my bare foot to rest on a cool, but stiff pad of grass.  "Now stretch your leg out!" she ordered.

Gees, this was embarrassing, Jessica staring at my bare foot!  The last thing I wanted was for her to discover how ticklish I was.  She'd be able to get me to do anything--absolutely anything!

She got on her knees and reached down my leg to slip the friendship band over my toes and the length of my foot (which tickled a little) until she let it snap sharply into place around my ankle.

"Ouch!" I complained.

"Now you can wear it all the time and no one has to know but you and me!"

I just nodded uncomfortably.  

"You have a lovely foot, Perry--for a boy," she noted, reaching her hand out to touch it.

I quickly bent my knee.  "No touching!" I said, trying to make it sound like a joke even though I was serious.

"Well, I'm getting there..." she said more to herself than to me.

"Getting where?"

"You know...seeing you," she said, tilting her head a little and staring at my naked foot in an affectionate way.

"I...uh...don't get it."

"Well, I've seen you with your shirt off, and now I've seen your beautiful foot, so I'm getting closer to my goal--see?"

I shook my head hesitantly.

She sighed, as if she was trying to be patient with a little kid, which is what I felt like sometimes when I was with her.  "I already told you I want to see you naked," she reminded me.

Oh man, did I ever blush!  I thought the heat coming off my face would set my eyebrows on fire!

"Oh...I thought you were joking about that..." I lied.

"No joke, Perry," she assured me, her golden brown eyes seeming to penetrate all but my innermost defenses.  "So far, I really like everything I've seen..."

 I started reaching for my balled up sock.

"Look--someone's coming!" Jessica gasped wide eyed, pointing back the way we had come.

My heart leapt into my throat as I frantically looked around.  But I didn't see anything.  Suddenly I heard Jessica giggle.  She was standing in front of me, holding my shoe and sock.

"Hey, give those back!"

"Only if you catch me first!" she teased.  With that, she was off and running.

I realized I could just sit here like an old curmudgeon and bitch and moan, but what would be the point?  It wasn't like I couldn't chase down a girl for christssake!  I picked myself up and dashed after her as she haphazardly followed the creek bed further up into the hills.  I quickly realized that I was at something of a disadvantage with one bare foot.  I had to watch carefully for all the rocks strewn about, and when I did have a clear shot, it was more like I was limping than running.  I saw Jessica slip behind a tall and narrow maple tree and I stopped short, wondering what she was up to.

"My lovely foot is getting all dirty and scrapped up!" I whined, looking for some cheap sympathy.

"Go soak it in the creek!" she replied with a giggle.

That wasn't very helpful so I dashed around the tree as she took off again.  This time she ran only a short distance to a much wider Oak.  I chased her round and round a couple times, stumbling over some of the large, protruding roots, before suddenly doubling back and catching her in my arms.  She squealed and threw my shoe and sock off in different directions, laughing hysterically the whole time.  But retrieving my footwear didn't seem very important right now.  I was much more interested in the small, but unmistakable mounds of her breasts as they rose and fell heavily with each gasping breath.

"What?" she asked knowingly, smiling despite being winded from our chase.

What did they look like underneath her shirt and sports bra?  Probably not like the huge jugs on those internet gals.  Those looked too big and distorted for my taste and they didn't seem particularly sexy to me.  I wondered what Jessica's breasts felt like.  Derrin had seemed to think it was important to squeeze a girl's boobs just as soon as possible.  The idea hadn't really occurred to me before, but now..."Ah...nothing," I mumbled embarrassedly.

She took my arms by the wrists and brazenly brought them up to her breasts.  I quickly pulled away.

"It didn't look like 'nothing,'" she noted coyly.  She put her hands on my shoulders and I thought we were going to kiss.  But instead, she asked me a question.  "Perry, do you ever think"

The way she was looking at me clearly indicated that she was looking for a thoughtful response.  Sure, I'd thought of sex, since the day Jesse Taylor walked into my life I'd thought about it a lot.  But I knew that wasn't the reply she was looking for.

"Sure...I mean...I guess..."

"Did you and La Jolla Toya...?"

My eyes opened wide in shock at her inference.  "Gees, no!  Of course not!" I gasped, taking a cautious step backward.

"Well, I think a lot about sex," she proclaimed boldly.  "I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of.  It's how we're wired."  She approached me and caressed my cheek.  "Honestly, I don't want to scare you, but like I said, I know what I want."

"And what would that be?" I asked, falling right into her trap.

She hesitated only for a moment as she stared straight into my  eyes.  "I want you to make love to me, Perry Thompson--"

I think I actually gasped, and certainly my big stupid peepers let her know what I thought about that idea.

"Not today or next week, or even next month," she added quickly.  "I can be patient...Well, not really!" she giggled breaking the serious mood that she herself had created.

"So you're saying that you want me to...?"  I couldn't even say the words as my mind was totally blown away by what Jessica was so brashly proposing.

"That's right," she said, demurely looking into my eyes.  "When it's time, I want you to be the one to take my virginity..."

I realized I was sitting slumped against the Oak tree that we had just been playfully dancing around a few minutes ago.  Jessica came and sat beside me.  

"That was pretty strong stuff, huh?" she asked sheepishly.

I could only nod.  The idea of taking a girl's virginity hadn't even occurred to me, and yet, wasn't that the ultimate end of this long song and dance all youthful couples went through?  The kissing, the cuddling, the dating, the wooing, the gift giving...It all came down to that one act, that would change a girl into a woman and a boy into a man biologically speaking.  I loved Jesse more than I valued my own life, and I was still afraid to take that final plunge (if you'll excuse the pun).  And here was Jessica, telling me that she already had us married (as soon as she finished college) and that I was to be, at some point in the not too distant future, the Chosen One, the insatiably horny, uncouth teenage boy who was going to sneak behind her parents' backs and steal their daughter's innocence.  I thought about Mr. Bainbridge shaking my hand at church last Sunday.   I tried to imagine what his reaction would be to finding out that I had deflowered his daughter in a vulgar act of animal lust.

"I mean, we would work our way up to that," she explained with just a hint of awkwardness in her light and silky voice.  

"Work up to it?"

"Well, I haven't even seen you naked yet, and you haven't seen me, so that would be nice..."

Naked with a girl?  A girl naked with me?  Nice...?!

"And of course, there'd be oral sex..."

"Jessica!"  I blurted out, shocked by her brazenness.

She rolled her eyes a little.  "Everyone knows boys like to have their...their needs attended to," she said with sudden discretion.

"You don't have to do that for me," I assured her.

"You know Morgan's been wanting Katy to give him a blow job..."

"Gees, Jessica!  Are you crazy?"  I asked disbelievingly.  "I mean, this stuff we're talking're talking about...and about Morgan and Katy and..."  I stammered aimlessly, a whole fleet of thoughts bobbing around in my head like little fishing boats without anchors in a storm.

"I'm a teenager--of course I'm crazy," she noted drily.  "And I don't see why we can't talk about these kinds of things in a normal, civilized manner," she said, apparently annoyed at my prudishness.

"My mom'd freak out if she knew what we were talking about!"

"I suppose she would,"  Jessica giggled,  "even though she probably talked about the same things when she was a fourteen year old Catholic school girl too!"

Her hand slowly glided up my bare foot from the toes to the band now tightly clinging to my ankle.  She ran her finger along it.  "I was going to say, that even though Katy isn't ready to do that for Morgan yet, I wanted you to know that I am...ready I mean."  She looked me plainly in the eye.  

I shook my head slowly.

"I want to do that for you...I...I just do," she said resolutely.

Morgan had mentioned being frustrated with Katy in that department.  It was interesting to hear things from the girls' point of view.  It took a little time for Jessica's words to really seep through my dense skull.  This pretty, brown haired young lady, always perfectly made up, perfectly dressed, perfectly mannered, the one the other girls followed around as if she was their unspoken leader, the one who all the eighth grade boys drooled over, was offering to give me a blow job at some unspecified date in the near future.

Damn it--I felt my dick twitch!  What the hell was wrong with that little bastard?  He wasn't supposed to twitch for Jessica, or Reggie Colbert, or even Jason Tarentino.  He was only supposed to do his little levitation act for the boy that I loved!

"Perry...?  Perry...?  Say something..." Jessica pleaded.

"Um...maybe we should get going," I said, glancing at the strange watch on my wrist.

"Wait!" Jessica pleaded.  "Don't just leave it that.  Tell me something!"

"You want me to be honest with you?" I asked, using my big hazel eyes to full advantage.

She nodded hesitantly.

"The truth is, we don't even know each other and you already have us married.  I think we need to take things a little slower.  We're only fourteen...What if we want to date other people?"

Ooh, that didn't come out right...

"Other people?" she scowled.  "You want to date other people?"

"I said 'what if,'" I reminded her, "and I wasn't talking about myself," I pointed out.  "You're the attractive one, the one that everyone likes, everyone looks up to.  There are lots of guys who would like to spend time with you..."

"I've thought about that," she admitted.  "I'm not saying that I'm attracted to anyone else, but you're right.  Someday, we might want to be with other people...and that's why I'm telling you today, that I want you to be the one."

"Why me?"

"Because I do know you and I do trust you.  You're not an animal.  You're kind and considerate and all those things I've told you over and over.  Believe me, it's not easy to find a boy like that, that also happens to be incredibly good looking..."  she noted, lightly stroking my cheek.  "It will be the first time for both of us, so we won't have to worry about any...complications.  And I just know that, no matter what happens in the future, I would never regret you being my first.  Does that make sense?"

I could see the answer was important to her.  "I...I don't know," I admitted.  Then, realizing how weak that made me sound, I added, "You're the prettiest girl I know, and I'm...I'm honored that you want to hang with me.  I really appreciate the fact that you're so focused and determined--the kind of person who succeeds at anything she puts her mind to.  I wish I had the ba...the...uh...same determination that you do.   But I just don't...can't think about all that big kinda stuff.  It seems like just yesterday, I was shooting hoops in my driveway dreaming about being an NBA All-star and hoping my dad would let me stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live.  Now, suddenly...Gees, it's just too much...Does that make any sense?" I asked sincerely.

Jessica stared at me for a long time and I could only guess what was going on in that sharply focused mind of hers.  

"Perry, sometimes you play the fool, acting like all confused and stuff?  But that's not the real you!"

"It isn't?" I asked with legitimate surprise.

"No.  The real you is everything I said you were: kind, caring, sweet, and generous.  But there's also another part of you, the part that's able to say, 'Hey, we're not little kids anymore, and our hormones just suddenly shifted into overdrive and they're messing with our heads in the worst possible way.  But I have a brain, and I have to think beyond that, beyond the kissing and the dating and the...the sex.  We're just at the start of something new here, new for you and me and new for everyone our age, and I'm not going to blow my options all at once, for someone I hardly know.'"

"I said all of that?" I asked in wonderment.

Jessica, who was looking all serious and thoughtful, suddenly smiled and it was like the sun coming out after a foggy, mist shrouded morning.  "Of course!  I said you did, didn't I?" she asked in a lightheartedly petulant tone.

"Yes, ma'am," I acknowledged, giving her a little salute.

"Don't you 'yes ma'am' me!"  Jessica gave me a little push on the shoulder and then I did the same to her.  And then she pushed me a little harder and I pushed her a little harder back.  The next time she reached out to give me a shove, I grabbed her arm and pulled her whole body toward me.  "Don't think that I'm a saint!" I warned her before wrapping my lips around hers.

This was the most passionate exchange yet, with tongues penetrating as far as they could go, and lips hungrily chewing on each other's faces, our hands groping blindly over each other's arms and shoulders and backs.  I felt myself getting hard as Jessica's hand started rubbing my crotch through my sweatpants...It was only the loud chattering of a couple of nearby squirrels and the need for air that finally caused me to pull away.  Seeing the glazed look in Jessica's eyes, I thought she was actually going to swoon!  But then her gaze seemed to focus on something and she pointed away from the tree.  She began to laugh and I quickly pulled myself together enough to have a look.

"Shit!" I cried, seeing one squirrel dragging my sneaker away and another standing on it's hind feet, my white crew sock dangling from it's buck toothed little mouth.  What was wrong with this town?  Even the squirrels had a foot fetish!  I sprang up and immediately charged the rodent trying to steal my shoe.  Obviously, it was a little too heavy for such a small creature, and it dropped the shoe and shot up the tree right behind us.  I scooped up my sneaker and then looked around for the other mischief maker as Jessica laughed herself silly.

Finally, I spotted the bushy tailed culprit running towards a grove of maple trees.  I took off in limping fashion, but the little  acorn broker easily outdistanced me, scrambling up the nearest trunk.  I watched as my sock disappeared into the autumnal display above my head.

"Sock thief!" I called out in mock anger, fruitlessly throwing my shoe into the lower branches and shaking my fist at the tree top as Jessica rolled on the ground, red faced and laughing hysterically.


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