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

Chapter 11  

My mom waited in the car while I went upstairs to retrieve Jesse and his sister.  It was already eleven thirty.  After returning from my bike ride, I took a long shower (my foot was really dirty!).  Then I showed my mom the crucifix Jessica had given me but not the friendship band.  Fortunately, she hadn't noticed that I had come home with one sock missing!  I tossed the odd one out and got a new pair.  It was a clear but cool December day, and I dressed in a blue Henley that fit really well along with my baggy Diesel jeans and my blue and white Reeboks basketball sneaks...and yeah, I was so PHAT!

Miranda answered the door and she looked ready to shop.  Her light blonde hair was mostly long and loose but with two tightly knit braids framing her pretty round face.  She had on a pink knit top that clung to her flat nine year old bosom, a short denim skirt, pink tights, and cute blue and white sneakers with butterfly clips on the bows.   She was clutching a shiny pink purse with Lilo and Stitch printed on the sides.

"Jesse, my boyfriend's here!  It's time to go!" she called in a really loud and shrill voice.

There was no response, and Miranda put her hands on her narrow hips.  "Jesse--you dummy, Perry's here.  We have to go!"

"Go ahead without me," I heard my sweet angel call out in a tired voice.

"That boy--I don't know what's gotten into him!" she said in a very adult-sounding tone.  She released a long sigh.  "Well, I guess I'm gonna have ta beat him up now.  You'd better wait here--it ain't gonna be pretty!"

"Wait, Miranda," I said, smiling despite my concern for my dearest friend.  "I tell you what...Why don't you go down to my mom's car, and I'll beat up Jesse and get him to come out, okay?"

"Fine--that's your job anyway!" she declared.  "Beating up stupid people!"

"Jesse's not stupid," I reminded her as gently as I could.

"Well, sometimes he's not.  But sometimes..."  She tossed up her free hand in exasperation.  Then she put on a dark pair of wraparound sun glasses and scurried out the door.  I watched until she bounded down the stairs and made it safely to my mom's car before I closed the door and went to Jesse's bedroom.   I cautiously knocked on the closed door.

"Tell Perry I'm not feeling good," he said sullenly.

"Tell him yourself..."

There was a long silence before the door slowly opened.  Jesse didn't look too well.  In fact, he didn't look that different than he had on Monday when he still had his cold.  Only this time, it was clear that he had been crying.  He was fully dressed though, in an open plaid shirt, white T-shirt, snug fitting jeans and his black Vans.  Looking  my beautiful blond angel over from head to toe, all I could think of was that it was time for an early lunch!

" look so good!" I said, the smile on my face coming entirely unbidden, despite all my worries.

Jesse sat heavily on the bed.  "Your mom hates me!" he declared.

"No she doesn't.  In fact, it was her idea to invite you to the mall."

"Seriously?"  He seemed skeptical but hopeful as well.

I nodded.  "Everything's gonna be okay now--in fact, better than okay!  Now that all that stuff's out in the open, it just feels good--like sliding a super heavy backpack off your shoulders when you get home."

"Gees, Perry.  You don't get it, do you?" he said, his eyes moist with unspilled tears.  "I told you I was no good for you, didn't I?  Look what you did last night--that was insane!  Unbelievably dangerous.  All because of me!  Gary told me some of what you guys went through, and I just couldn't believe it!"

"Yeah, it was so weird.  The guy I thought was you--the Karate Kid--turned out to be this altar boy from St. Agnus!  That was really freaky!  Did Gary tell you I ran into Goreski?  Talk about scary...!"

Jesse sprang to his feet.  "Perry!  You're not hearing me!  You could've been killed...or worse!  Gary told me about that hacker and how he took you in some back room"  He couldn't say it, and I couldn't blame him for that.  It was really embarrassing to think about!

"But Jesse, look at me!  I'm here.  I'm fine.  I mean, there was some scary stuff, and you should've seen that place blow up--it was like something out of a James Bond movie!"

But Jesse didn't seem nearly as enthused as I was about my little adventure.  In fact, he just stared at me and then collapsed to his knees.  He grabbed my legs and buried his face in my jeans.  I could feel him shaking with heavy sobs.

"Stop this," I pleaded.  "Everything's okay now!" I assured him again.  "You know, you actually helped me last night.  Did Gary tell you how I was able to fool some of Al-Jihuad's henchmen using some of the things I'd seen you do?  They really thought I was a blackbelt--the Iron Ninja!"  I stepped away from Jesse and posed in one of my killer blackbelt stances, hoping to lighten up his mood a little.  But he just stayed on the floor crying for awhile, and he looked so sad and miserable, that I felt myself starting to tear up.  Finally, I got on my knees so we were at the same eye level.  I grabbed his face and wrapped my lips around his, but he pushed me away and then quickly got back to his feet.  I slowly picked myself up.

"Don't do that..." he warned in a shaky voice.  "You can't do that, Perry.  You can't..."

"What?  I can't love you anymore? It's way too late for that!" I assured him.

"You can't..." he pleaded desperately.

"So I'm just supposed to walk away now, leave you in your misery?" I asked, feeling both angry and frustrated at Jesse's stubbornness.

"That sounds like a plan," he noted bitterly.

"C'mon, we hafta go to the mall.  I left all my stuff at the fights last night--my cellphone, my wallet, my watch..."

"Don't let this happen again..." he groaned, leaning against his small desk, and it seemed more like he was talking to himself than to me.

"What're you talking about?" I asked, slowly approaching him again.

"If something were to happen to you...because of me..."

I could see that Jesse was really losing it right in front of me, but somehow, I managed to not go down with him.  Maybe it had something to do with the weird and exhilarating morning I had spent with Jessica.  I mean, gees, the Queen Of The Eighth Grade wanted to have sex with me--how kewl was that?  Not that it was one of my top priorities or anything, but just knowing that such a pretty and popular girl wanted stupid, skinny, dazed and confused Perry Thompson to nail her was quite an ego boost.  And I realized that I had also gotten something else from that pretty package of determination.  Just as Jessica knew what she wanted out of life, so did I--at least when it came to the person I loved.

"Jesse.  You have to stop this, really," I said in a quiet but emotional voice.  "I know you're super smart, and super brave and super fuckin' amazing in every way know...I'm not just a helpless kid anymore!" I pointed out.

Jesse wiped the tears from his eyes, but he still had that wild and desperate look in his glistening crystal blue eyes.

"Last night was totally my fault,"  I went on.  "I panicked.  I jumped to conclusions--I put Gary in so much danger! And you know what?  Even though there was so much scary stuff going on: big guards with guns, the creepy middle-eastern guy, the giant bodyguard, Billy, Gus, the fighters...You know what got me through it?  Thinking that I was going to rescue you!  I mean, think about it: stupid, witless Perry Thompson thinking that he's gonna rescue street fighting ninja warrior Jesse Taylor!  I mean, isn't that whacked?!  And yet I was so into it.  I was willing to do anything to get you out of there--anything!"

"You saw Gus--from Kennedy?"  he asked with a sniffle.

"Yeah, but at first he didn't recognize me and then he did, but he was like really confused because Mr. J.--that's Mr. Al-Jihuad, had somehow tipped the wagering in my favor and--"

"Stop!"  Jesse said, putting his hands over his ears.  "God, Perry--do you hear what you're saying?  You would never have gone there if it wasn't for me," Jesse insisted.

"But I never would have made it through without you either.  It was my decision..."

"And running into Hernandez and Hollister at the mall...That was your decision too?" he asked.

"I can't help it if some big dumb high schoolers want to pick on a defenseless eighth grader for no reason," I said, shrugging my shoulders.

"But you could've been seriously hurt!" Jesse reminded me.

"I don't know about that.  I think they were just trying to scare me--which they did.  But things worked out okay.  I got to meet Gene's brother...He's so cool, Jesse.  I wish you could meet him!"

Jesse put a hand over his face and I thought he was going to start crying again, but instead, he snickered.  And then I saw that he was smiling.  He was trying really hard not to, but I could see the corners of his mouth twitch, and then form a burgeoning  grin that was like the Heavens Themselves opening up.

"What...?" I asked confusedly.  "What's so funny?"

"Nothing...It's nothing," he said, snickering some more.  He looked up at me with wet and reddened eyes.  "Gosh, Perry.  Do you have any idea how amazing you are?  I mean do you?" he asked.

" does turn out that a certain brown haired teen queen wants a certain dorky basketball player to be the one know..."

"What?" Jesse asked, definitely intrigued.

"I mean...not right now but someday...You know!" I said, feeling the heat on my cheeks that told me I was now in full blush mode.  Why had I even brought it up?

"Jessica wants you to fuck her?!" Jesse asked incredulously.

"Gees, that's not exactly the way I would've put it..."

Jesse looked at me in a very weird way, like he was happy but...crazy at the same time.  "That's so cool, Perry!  Really!"  He came over and gave me a big hug and I was glad to hug him back, but I was really confused now.  When I felt myself starting to get hard from being pressed against my hot and sexy angel, I pushed myself away.

"What's going on, Jesse?  Why are you so happy about me and Jessica for?" I asked suspiciously.

Don't you see, Perry?  This is the way it's supposed to be...You and Jessica--you're like the perfect couple!  I bet in her mind she has you guys married with 2.5 kids and living in Beverly Hills..."

"Well...she wants to finish her degree first," I noted, "either in veterinarian medicine or..."

"Oh, this is good, Perry.  This is so good!" Jesse said, sitting back down on the edge of his bed and laughing in an annoyingly weird way.

"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked, bristling with something close to anger.

"Don't you see?  This means you can forget about me!  You can lead a normal, healthy teenage life.  You got the prettiest girl in school--what a shock that is!" he noted sarcastically.   "But that's how it's supposed to be--the handsomest guy and the prettiest girl getting together to the satisfaction and envy of all--since the time of the first cave prom..."

"Stop it!" I said between gritted teeth.

But he didn't stop.  "Imagine, no more lying to your mom.  No more getting into fights.  No more messing with jerks like Goreski or Hollister, no more tears and angst..."

"Stop it!" I said, raising my voice as I felt my newly found self control starting to slip away.

"Don't you want a normal life, Perry?" he asked in a concerned but slightly detached tone.  "Tell me the truth--you don't really want to be messing around having sex with boys, do you?" he laughed drily.  "You should just leave that to us fags..."

"Stop it!!!" I screamed, and I launched myself at him, knocking him down on his bed.  I grabbed him by the collar of his open shirt and started to shake him, but he didn't fight me.  "Stop it!" I screamed right into his face.  "Stop it..." I whispered through a painfully hoarse throat.  "Just...stop..."

Then we were kissing like our lives depended on it, our chests and crotches pressed together, our fingers running through each other's hair and over our ears and cheeks like two blind people trying to memorize every feature of their partner as quickly as possible.  Oh God, the feeling of Jesse's warm tongue in my mouth was indescribable!  It was like it knew just where to go, just how to glide over my teeth and swirl around my palette and dance around my own tongue in the most arousing way possible.  His hot breath on my face was like the breath of life itself.  I loved him...I loved him so much...

"Damn you, Jesse.  God, sometimes you make me so...angry!" I breathlessly swore at him, now straddling him and pinning him with my legs.

He just stared at me.  I could feel his rib cage pressing into my thighs as he took in large gulps of air.  His long blond hair was scattered in every direction like in one of those static electricity experiments.  His face was covered in perspiration.  His crystal blue eyes were surrounded by half-rings of redness.  He was a mess...the most incredibly beautiful mess I'd ever laid my eyes on.

"Don't push me away," I begged.  "I'm truly sorry for what I did...for not trusting you and stuff...but please don't push me away..."

Jesse tentatively reached up a hand.  He brushed my cheek with the soft pads of his fingers and I felt that familiar jolt of sexual electricity shoot through my whole body.  "I told you I'd never let you go..." he reminded me in a raspy whisper.  I clearly remembered the first time he had told me that, the afternoon after the rummage sale when he had stripped me naked and then tied my hands behind my back with his blackbelt.  I shuddered with passion at the memory.  We kissed once more and I felt his hardness pressed against my own.

"I'll just dump Jessica if you want me to!"  I told him earnestly.

Jesse looked really bothered by that.  I remembered how he had so smoothly manipulated me, along with Jessica and her cousin Clarissa into making out at the rummage sale.    Jesse had wanted me to be with her and that was a source of endless confusion for me, especially since it was clear that I was developing some sort of feelings for her.

"No..."  Jesse said, his eyes wide and full of concern.  "You can't...Please, don't..."

"But I don't want to mess up what we have..."

"I know.  And you're not,"  Jesse assured me.  "It's just...well, think of Jessica as a sort of smoke screen.  Doesn't your mom look happy when you're around Jessica?"

I nodded reluctantly.  "But it's a lie!"

"Is it?"  he asked, and I knew he was seeing right into me again as if there were no barrier preventing Jesse from reading the thoughts in my head as clearly as if they were his own.

"Well...that's just it..."  I admitted, climbing off him and sitting  on the edge of his bed.  "I do feel something for her..."

"Of course.  She's totally hot--for a girl!"  he added with the slightest hint of a grin.

"But that's bad!"  I pointed out emotionally.  "I mean, it's bad that I'm mixed up about my feelings for her when all I want is to be with you, and it's bad for her because she thinks I'm hers and..."

"Hers?!"  Jesse sneered disdainfully.  "You aren't a piece of property."

"I know...and she sees that...I think.  It's just that, she knows what she wants and..."

"Look, Perry..."  Jesse said, picking himself up and sitting next to me, but keeping his hands folded tightly in his lap.  "I know it's hard for you...but I'm asking you--for us--promise you'll stay with Jessica!"

The depth of Jesse's love continued to defy me.  He wanted me to stay with Jessica so that it would protect our own relationship, and beyond that, I think he wanted me to have the experiences of what he called a 'normal' teenage boy.

"Well, I won't promise, cuz she'll probably end up getting interested in someone else and dumping me any way,"  I reasoned.  "But I'll try..."

"For us,"  Jesse whispered, caressing my cheek.

"But you don't want me to have sex with her, do you?"

"Jesse...Perry!!!!  What the heck is going on up here!"  It was Miranda, calling from the front door.  Damn, why hadn't I thought to lock it!

We just stared at each other for a long moment, his eyes and my eyes locked together in a watery crazy quilt of crystal blue and hazel fragments.  

"Just what sort of mischief are you boys up to?" Miranda demanded.

I had to smile, hearing that young and pure voice trying to sound so grown up  "We're...coming..." I croaked, trying to clear the gunk from my throat.  "Sorry it took so long, but you're brother put up a real good fight!"

"Well, that's enough stupid boy stuff.  Get your butts downstairs this instant!"

"Yes ma'am!" I called back, and I heard the front door slam shut and the thumping of Miranda's sneakers on the landing outside.

"C'mon," I said, getting up and offering Jesse a hand.

But he still had a hesitant look on his face.  "Your mom..." he said.

"You're not afraid of my mom, are you?" I asked incredulously, even though I knew she had hurt him deeply last night with her look of disapproval.

"Not afraid...just ashamed..." he admitted.

"You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You're the best friend I ever had and she knows it.  You'll see.  We'll work things out!" I said enthusiastically.

Jesse didn't seem entirely convinced, but he took my hand and got to his feet.  "Give me a minute," he said, walking to the bathroom.  He left the door open and so I enjoyed the view as he washed his face and combed his hair.  Of course he couldn't get rid of the redness around his eyes anymore than I could this morning after talking to my dad, but still...

"God, you're beautiful!" I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around him.  He gave me a quick peck on the cheek and started for the door.  "You heard Rindy--no more stupid boy stuff!" he smiled, sounding like his mood had improved somewhat.

"Oh yeah?" I asked as he put his jacket on.  "So does that mean no more milkshakes?"

"Honestly, Perry...We're growing teenagers.  We need lots of calcium for our growing boners!"

There was only a little tension as we made our way around the mall, although it was clear that my mom wanted us all to stick together.  First we had lunch at Le Petite Bistro, and Jesse was quiet at first, but slowly opened up.  We just chatted about school and sports, and let Miranda prattle on and on about all the things she was going to do at the Disneyland Resort.  Then we headed for Macy's so I could pick out a wallet.  I was tempted to get the Perry Ellis, but I settled on the much cooler looking Kenneth Cole--glossy black leather with silver trim.  Besides paying for the wallet, my mom presented me with two hundred dollars in cash.

"That's from your birthday money," she noted.

I gave twenty dollars to Miranda and she was thrilled as could be and insisted we go straight to the Disney Store.  While she and my mom went from display to display and Miranda explained why she had to have just the right thing but she wouldn't know what the right thing was until she really looked carefully at all the things, I took out my new wallet and counted out a hundred dollars.  I tried to give it to Jesse, but he refused.

"Please Jesse, I hardly have any friends, so if I can buy myself just one, then it's totally worth it--even if it's only you!"

Jesse, ignoring my lame attempt at humor,  stubbornly shook his head.  "That doesn't seem right, dude," he said uncomfortably.  "That's a lot of money, and you shouldn't just be throwing it around."

"But I'm not just throwing it around.  You're my boyfriend," I whispered in his ear.  

"Really?" he whispered back.  "Are you gonna to take me to the prom?"

"Absolutely, if you can find a nice enough dress for a hundred bucks!"  

"Love me for who I am--not for the clothes I wear--or for the mosquito repellent I splash on my arm pits,"  he droned in a sexy European accent right out of some surreal Ralph Lauren cologne commercial.  I couldn't argue with that and I reluctantly  slipped the money back in my pocket.

Then it was off to the phone store to get a replacement.  It did turn out to be a hassle free experience because of my mom's insurance    I got the identical model I had before, which looked a little like the communicators they used on Star Trek--only smaller!  They deactivated my old phone--which had probably burned up with all my other stuff in the arena--and I was able to get the same number, and all my voice mail messages popped up.  There was one from Gene, one from Gary, and one from Morgan.  I dreaded listening to the one from Gene.

"Hey, Perry, dude," Gene said in his usual calm and unassuming voice.  "Everything okay over there?  I guess your mom called here a little while ago and somehow got it in her head that we had plans or something...What's that about? to ya soon, bye."

Gary sounded uneasy but mainly just wanted to know how I was holding up.  "I got to tell Jesse a little about what happened last night, and he was pretty upset.  He was really getting down on himself, blaming himself for everything.  I hope you guys get a chance to talk..."  Well, we had certainly done that...

Morgan just wanted to remind me about Saturday night Mass and mentioned that he'd be bringing Tom along.  I really needed to talk to Jesse about how to deal with Gene.  I was already feeling a substantial amount of dread knowing that I'd have to deceive yet another friend.  I wished I could just give up lying for good!

It wasn't until we put Miranda on the Merry Go Round in the Center Court, that my mom gave us both a serious look.  We sat together on a wrought iron bench and watched Miranda, complete with her Lilo and Stitch purse and wraparound sunglasses, go round and round on her neon blue unicorn.

I noticed my mom was pulling along a small Beauty And The Beast suitcase-on-wheels.

"Going someplace?"  I dared to joke.

"Miranda wanted it for the trip tomorrow," my mom smiled.

"That must've cost more than twenty bucks!"  Jesse pointed out.

"It's okay, Jesse, really," my mom said.  "She just zoomed in on it and I couldn't resist.  She's such a vivacious young lady!"

"Thanks, Mrs. Thompson,"  Jesse said humbly.  "Thanks for everything.  You and Perry have been so good to me and my family since we came to Santa Corina...We were so lucky to meet you."

Obviously, she wanted to sit and have a serious talk with us, but Jesse's charm was powerful stuff and I could see my mom's fortitude wavering.

"You're very welcome, Jesse.  I think your mother is a remarkable woman--one of the strongest people I've ever met."

Jesse could only nod in silent agreement.

"We need to talk about last night," my mom stated quietly, her expression hardening just a tad.

We both gave her our most humble and contrite looks, but she still managed to look us both sternly in the eye.  "I told Perry that I really think you should be the one to tell your mother about these...these violent occurrences," she said.

Jesse nodded sheepishly.  I could see this was really hard for him.  The guilt and shame he felt seemed to just radiate from that beautifully angelic face.

"I'll come with you, if you want!" I told him encouragingly.

He just gave me an uncertain smile.

"Jesse, please understand that I really am fond of you, and I know that Perry...well, he might be too shy to say it, but I know that he's very, very fond of you as well.  I''ve never seen him take to anyone the way he has to you."

"Yes ma'am," he answered politely.  "I feel the same about him...and you."

"I know, and that makes this a very difficult situation.  But the fact is, the two of you got involved in some very dangerous situations.  I will grant you the incident at the mall may have been beyond your control, but the other two...To think that you boys were involved in some horrid scuffle right under my nose at the rummage sale and I never knew!" She shook her head in exasperated disbelief.  "And then to find out that you both concealed these things from Mrs. Taylor and me.  Well...that's just very hard to accept.  So there are going to have to be changes, things that will need to be coordinated with Jesse's mother of course.  Frankly, I think we're going to have to keep a lot closer eye on both of you!"

I wanted to protest, but Jesse shot me a quick warning glance.

"I understand, Mrs. Thompson," he answered humbly.  "I accept full responsibility for all those things--even last night.  Perry never would have run off like that if it wasn't for me."

"Well, there's plenty of blame to go around," my mom acknowledged, "and I think you mean what you say.  The thing is," and her face took on a look of grave concern, "how can I ever trust the two of you again?"

"But mom, kids our age are always getting into trouble and stuff," I argued.  "It's just part of being a teenager."

I saw her bristle.  "That may be the way it is on television, or in a big, Godless city like Los Angeles," she told me in no uncertain terms, "but that's not how it is in Santa Corina, and that's not how it's going to be with you, young man!"

"What are you suggesting, Mrs. Thompson?" Jesse inquired politely although I could see that he was incredibly tense.

My mom sighed.  "Like I said, I need to discuss this with Mrs. Taylor.  But I promised Perry that I would wait until after the Disneyland trip and until after you've had a chance to talk to your mom about all these things first.  But there has to be consequences for this kind of irresponsible behavior."

"I will talk to my mom," Jesse promised, "and I'll do my best to keep Perry out of trouble.  But really, I don't think you should punish Perry for things that were completely my fault."

"That's very noble of you Jesse, but the fact of the matter is, Perry deliberately concealed all this from me, and last night...that was the worst..."  She turned to me, her face contorted into that strained expression of worry and fear.  "Telling me that you were going out with Gene and even having your friend Gary pretend to be Gene's brother.  Deliberately going to such a dangerous place with illegal things going on and people with guns..."

"Stop!" Jesse said emotionally, getting to his feet.  "Stop, please!  I can't stand to think about it!" he said, and he took off.  I followed him with my eyes, seeing him turn into one of those long corridors with the bathrooms way at the end.

I glared angrily at my mom, and while I saw her waver a little, she set her jaw and looked me right back in the eye.  It was clear that she felt strongly about what she had said and she wasn't taking any of it back.  And the fact of the matter was, I really couldn't argue with her.  She was right and I was wrong.  I had no right to be angry with her, especially when she was obviously trying really hard to get us all past it.

"I'm...I'm so sorry, mom..." I admitted contritely.  "You have to believe me that I never meant to..."

"I want to go again--I want to go again!" Miranda  interrupted excitedly.  "The green rhino this time--hurry before that fat boy gets it!"

"Go and find Jesse," my mom said with a gentle smile.  "I think Miranda and I will be here for a while yet..."

I turned into the long undecorated corridor.  Doors on either side marked the back entrances for nearby stores:  The Gap, Lane Bryant, Sam Goody and so on.  The bathrooms were located nearly at the end, but as I passed an intersecting corridor, I saw Jesse, quite a ways down, just leaning against the wall.  He turned immediately as my eyes fell on him even though I didn't think my sneakers had made any more than a whisper of sound on the smoothly polished floor.

As I approached him, I saw that the expression he wore was similar to the one I saw this morning--guilt, shame, remorse, and concern.  Somehow, each aspect was intricately carved into his flawless features, now strained under a conflicting mass of emotions, feelings and motivations.

"What are you doing here?"  I asked.

"The men's room was yucky," he declared humorlessly.

"I'm so sorry my mom laid into you like that," I apologized quickly.  I started to reach for him and then remembered we were in a public place, even though no one seemed to be using this particular corridor at the moment.

"I think it would make your mom really happy if you just told her you were done with me," he said with a trembling voice.

It was clear to me that Jesse was feeling terrible because of the situation I had precipitated.  I was determined to help him through this and hopefully, make our relationship stronger because of it.

"You said you'd never let me go," I reminded him intensely.

Jesse nodded.  "That's true.  I'm weak, Perry.  I told you how selfish I am.  But you're not.  You're strong.  Stronger even than you think, and what you did last night just proves it."  

"I was really scared last night," I reminded him.  "When Gus actually locked me in the Cage, I wanted to scream but it was like one of those dreams where you want to shout but nothing comes out of your mouth, and you want to run but your legs feel like they weigh a ton..."

"You knew the kid in there with you was a blackbelt, and you knew he'd defeated several other opponents already.   Believe me, you had every right to be scared.  That doesn't diminish what you did or why you did it.  But now I'm asking you to be brave for both of us.  Let me go.  Tell me to get lost.  Tell your mom you won't be seeing me anymore.  Get on with your life..."

A couple months ago. I couldn't have imagined being angry with Jesse.  Despite his dark past and his low self esteem, I knew that he had over come many obstacles and that he was a good person at heart, one who had been tested more times than I could imagine no doubt.   But now, he was deliberately trying to push me away, to solve the dilemma we found ourselves in by simply calling it quits.

"You're kidding, right?" I asked as calmly as I could.  "I'll never let you go!" I told him determinedly.  "In fact, if it'll help to keep us together, I 'll tell my mom about...about us--I will!"

Jesse's eyes opened wide with fear.  "Please, please don't do that!" he begged, and he looked so small and humble that it made me shudder.

I was surprised to see the look of fear on his face when I said that.  I knew he was stronger than that.  I knew that he had made some kind of peace with himself in regards to his own sexuality.  He had told me that he was gay, and had said or done nothing since then to show that he had changed his mind about it.  

"I'll do whatever it takes for us to be together," I emphasized.  

"No, Perry.  You're not thinking straight," Jesse explained quickly, and I barely had time to grasp his clever play on words.  "If your mom finds out about us, what I am and what I've been doing to her son, it would be the end for sure.  I promise you, as much as it would pain her to do so, she'd send you to go live with your dad sooner than she'd let you hang out with a faggot!"

"Stop calling yourself that!" I told him angrily.  I thought about Billy and how disgusted I had felt at the way he was looking at me.   But  I had none of those feelings when I was with my sweet angel.

"Why?  That's what I am.  I'm turned on by boys.  I want to have sex with boys..."

"Which boys?" I asked him pointedly, and he could see by the determination in my big stupid eyes that I wasn't going to jump in the pool of self pity with him--not today.

He stared at me for quite a long time.  There was moisture at the bottom of his eyes but no tears fell.  For my part, the anger seemed to keep my tear ducts under control and I was glad for that.

"You..." he whispered.  "Just you..."

"Then I'm a fag too!" I told him at a normal conversational volume.  If anyone else had been in the corridor, they would have clearly overheard my words, but I really didn't care.  "Because I'm totally turned on by you; I want to have sex with you!"  I actually jabbed his shoulder with my finger and he flinched.

"What happened to you last night?" he asked with more than idle curiosity.

"What do you mean?  Didn't Gary tell you...?"

Jesse nodded dismissively.  "I didn't mean it that way.  I meant, what happened to you--inside?  You're...different.  So determined, so forceful..."

I shrugged.  "Last night made me realize how important you are to me.  I'd do anything for you Jesse, I really would."

"Yeah, I can see that...and it's not a good thing!" he rebuffed me stubbornly.

"It may or may not be a good thing, but it is the thing.  It's how I feel, plain and simple."

"I see," was all he said.  He didn't look at me but let his gaze wander aimlessly around the empty corridor.  I could hear the muffled sounds of water running through pipes and the rumbling sound of air being pumped through miles of large metal vents, but otherwise, the sounds of the mall itself were too far off to touch my ears.

"Show me what you did last night," he said, standing in the middle of the hall with his arms at his sides.


"How you fooled that bodyguard into thinking you were a blackbelt."

"Oh yeah," I said, anxious to show off my 'technique.'  "Just come at me," I urged him confidently, striking my defensive pose.

That he did without hesitation and I started to deflect his arms away in much the same manner I had with Myashi.  But Jesse was so much quicker.  He grabbed both my arms, gave me a quick shove, and while I was staggering off balance, easily swung his foot out and tripped me.  I fell ungracefully to the hard, uncarpeted floor, realizing that my hands and arms had only managed to absorb a small amount of the impact.   My throbbing ass testified to exactly which body part had borne the brunt of that landing.  He didn't chastise me or lecture me on the foolishness of what I had somehow gotten away with last night, but the lesson was clear enough.  

"Sorry," he said, and it was a heartfelt apology.  He stretched out his hand and I took it, impressed as always by the hidden strength in that slender body.  We stood there for quite a while, and I noticed with a mixture of fear and hope, that he was still clutching my hand tightly in his.

"We can do this,"  I told him determinedly.  "If we can manage to stay awake during Mr. Walsh's lectures...we can for sure get through this!"


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