The following contains mild descriptions of sexual acts between young people. It is an original work of fiction and has no basis in reality.
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The author retains Copyright © 2004 to this story. Reproducing this story for distribution without the author’s permission is a violation of that copyright.
The mood at school was definitely jubilant. Not only did we have a great basketball victory to celebrate, but it was a half day and the beginning of Christmas break! During homeroom, Sister Mary Margaret announced what we had been hearing rumors about for the past several days: there would be an extended homeroom period to be used for prayers and good wishes among students and faculty, followed by a Mass to be celebrated by Father Marlen, followed by a pep rally to acknowledge the great seasons of both the basketball and football teams. I proudly wore my gold and blue wristbands even though no one had even tied me up in the last twenty-four hours. As far as I was concerned, school was going to be the best part of the day anyway, what with me having to go to lunch with Jessica and her mom, and then spend the afternoon and evening at the Bainbridge estate.
The chances of Jesse and I getting together seemed slim to none, although I was determined to find a way. At least we had gotten together a little yesterday, even though Jesse had been distraught and animal sex wasn’t in the cards. It seemed ironic that it was Morgan who had given me my last blowjob, and while I had to admit he had some natural talent, it wasn’t an experience I was looking forward to repeating any time in the near future. I also realized that my discomfort and embarrassment paled in comparison to the battle that the captain of the basketball team had waged and continued to wage in his own mind, trying to resist the sexual feelings that threatened to overwhelm him.
But I also felt good knowing that this would be Morgan’s day. There was no question that our hard fought victory over St. Joe’s last night, 52 to 50, and the success of the basketball team this whole season rested almost entirely on his stalwart leadership and athletic skills. Last night especially, he had seemed driven by some inner fire that could only be satiated by winning, regardless of the physical and mental toll. The fact that Morgan had scored twenty-eight of our fifty-two points was a clear indicator that he was the defining factor in last night’s outcome. Despite everything we’d been through, and the likelihood that things would never again be the same between us, I still couldn’t help but feel proud to be his friend.
We spent a fairly boring hour praying for all the people going on trips big and small. Gene was flying to Miami with his folks right after the pep rally to attend an athletic banquet at U of M on Saturday where George was going to receive several trophies and awards; the Kipners were going to Lake Tahoe where they had a time share; the Bainbridges and Mulroneys would spend a week together in Vale, skiing the powdery slopes of the Rocky Mountains; Dana Dupres had already left for a family reunion in France, and several other students had vacation trips planned with destinations ranging from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island. And there was even a prayer for me, asking for the Lord’s blessing on my trip to NYC on Sunday. I stared glumly at Jesse’s bowed head as Sister, one clawed hand gripping her well worn rosary beads, led us in a flurry of Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers.
Then we all lined up like kindergartners as Sister led us across the small campus to the multi-purpose room, where Father Marlen would be saying Mass. The eighth grade had the honor (or the misfortune, depending on how you looked at it) of sitting in the first few rows of folding chairs, with the sixth and seventh grade behind us. I was glad to have Jesse on my left and Tom on my right. Morgan always sat at the end of the row since he was the tallest in our class and the entire school for that matter, and other kids would always complain that he was blocking their view, of what I was never quite sure.
Sister Mary Luellen banged away on the tinny old upright piano,
pumping out such chestnuts as “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “Hark The
Herald,” and “The First Noel.” As was my usual habit, I began to drift
off after the initial hymn singing and praying, and Father Marlen
started in with the Readings he had chosen for today. I started to feel
a little of the panic that I had been trying to fight off for the last
couple of weeks—really since our impromptu photo session,
wondering if I was going to be able to survive without Jesse for two
whole weeks. Right now, my gut was telling me that unfortunately, the
answer was no. I tried to comfort myself by picturing in my mind as
vividly as I could, our last few sexual encounters, starting with that
delirious photo shoot, where I had sat draped across the staircase in
my own living room, unabashedly dressed in nothing but black silk
boxers, even allowing my raging hardon to make a solo appearance for a
few quick snapshots. Then there was the unbridled animal sex that had
followed upstairs, where we had simply ground our naked bodies against
each other until we both blew our loads. I felt a sudden echo of those
powerful feeling surge through my body, causing a tingling sensation
that seemed to course through my whole body, but was most definitely
centered in my groin.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots,” Father Marlen intoned in his mellow, unemotional voice.
Wait...Had Father Marlen just said something about Jesse’s rod cumming forth? Gees, was it as I had always suspected: that the mellow and mysterious Father could indeed read minds?
“...But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
Did he say ‘rod in his mouth?’ I wondered giddily, starting to feel butterflies dancing around in my stomach—small, fluttering, tickling butterflies.
“...And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins...”
Did he say loins? Was he talking about Jesse’s hot and sexy loins? And Jesse’s rod? Jesse’s stiff, pulsating, precum dripping rod? I felt my throat constrict and knew what was about to happen even as I realized that I would also be powerless to stop it. A lone snicker erupted from my diaphragm, scraping harshly against my throat before shooting out my nose. Tom and Jesse quickly turned to give me an odd look, but my sweet angel already had a weird smile forming skittishly on his face.
“...And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together....”
Did Father Marlen have any idea what he was saying? Damn. I could tell him a thing or two about young ones lying together! I began to giggle, and pretty soon, a wet snicker erupted from Jesse’s throat as well. And what was that weird whimpering sound? I looked down to the end of the row to see Morgan, absolutely red faced, desperately trying to hold in whatever it was that wanted to burst out of him.
“...And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den...”
The sucking child? The hole of the asp? The cockatrice’ den?! That did it. I let loose, laughter and spit erupting simultaneously from my mouth. Jesse was cracking up beside me; Tom was desperately smothering his own mouth, trembling and shaking, and Morgan was alternately squeaking and gasping, fighting a losing battle against the outrageous images being forged by our salacious young minds.
Jessica and Katy, who were sitting right in front of me, both turned and gave us quizzical, slightly annoyed looks, and they suddenly reminded me of two stuffy old nuns staring down in judgment from beneath their wimples—and that was just about the funniest thing ever! My eyes started tearing up as I looked around, seeing Eric Adams, Harvey Kalbert, Manny and Artim starting to laugh as well. I doubted that they got the joke in quite the same way Tom, Morgan, Jesse, and I did, but it was probably a matter of simple contagion at this point.
Morgan was the first to stiffen and clamp his twitching jaw shut as Sister Mary Margaret glared down the whole row of snickering and guffawing boys. It was only as I fought down my own giggling fit that I realized Father Marlen had stopped reading. That sobered me up quick. I could feel the eyes of the whole sixth and seventh grade on the back of my head. One more unwelcome, throaty snicker burst out, and then I was done, crimson faced, and out of breath. I dabbed my teary eyes with the sleeve of my hoodie, and sniffled as discreetly as I could, trying to keep even more slimy wet stuff from leaking out of my nostrils. I glanced worriedly at Jesse, but he just gave me a warm, if slightly giddy smile. Only after I smiled back did he roll his eyes in exaggerated concern. We’re in for it now! his expression clearly communicated.
Actually, I felt worst for Morgan, because Sister Mary Margaret took up permanent residence, standing with her arms crossed at the end of our row like a prison warden. But I think even Katy and Jessica had gotten the joke by this time, because they were whispering in each other’s ear and stifling their own subdued giggles. Finally, Sister Mary Luellen announced the next Christmas hymn and everyone seemed to forget the embarrassing incident.
Father Marlen’s sermon was blessedly short. He did point out that, though it was often said that it was better to give than to receive, that as human beings, we really needed an equal amount of both. I nearly lost it again as I thought of our Disneyland hotel room tryst. ‘Everything equal!’ we had promised each other before engaging in our first honest to goodness 69. Fortunately, God felt that he had tortured me enough at this point (I still had to spend the day at Jessica’s after all), and I managed to keep my giggles to myself, although I did feel my dick swelling against the front of my Dockers as I glanced lustfully over at Jesse. He just smiled back, batting his long lashes, sweet and innocent as you please.
When the last hymn was sung, Mr. Cardoza announced that we would have an extended twenty minute snack break, after which we were to return to the multi-purpose room for a very special event. Of course, we all knew that was the much-anticipated pep rally! As the rest of the middle school began to anxiously file outside, I noticed a small group of girls, including Merissa, Jessica, Katy, and Melissa, lingering near the old upright piano. I shuddered a little as I thought of my weird dream. If Clarissa suddenly showed up in those spiked boots....
I was about to catch up to Morgan and apologize for putting him in such an awkward position (as if he hadn’t done worse to me!), when a stern, brittle voice suddenly materialized right behind me.
“And where to do you think you’re going, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Taylor?” It was Sister Mary Margaret, arms crossed, not looking at all pleased. Jesse stopped with me as the rest of the class filed out. A few of the kids snickered as they saw that I was going to be taken to task for my silly outburst, but Deanna Kennedy actually snorted a deprecatory laugh as she passed. Well, at least Dana, her normal partner in crime had already left the country so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Some of the other boys, including Kyle, Eric, and even Derek, gave me quick nods of approbation and support. Tom hesitated and glanced at me worriedly, letting people bump into him as they hurried past.
“Outside please, Mr. Espinoza,” Sister Mary Margaret commanded. When most of the kids, with the exception of the little gaggle of girls clustered around the piano, had left, she crossed her arms and glared at Jesse and me.
“I’m dying to know what you boys found so amusing about the Father’s reading today.”
Of course, I couldn’t give her the real reason, and I realized, if I even glanced over at Jesse, that I would surely burst into uncontrollable guffaws once more.
“Well? “ the Sister demanded sternly.
Just then, the chatter from the group of girls increased, and they went out through a side door. That’s when I noticed Father Marlen was still in the room, standing just a few yards away, the Bible tucked under one arm, the look on his face unreadable as usual. When he saw that I had noticed his presence, he calmly approached us.
“Sister, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind assisting out in the yard? The children seem especially anxious and excitable this morning, and for good reason I suppose.” He managed the thinnest of cordial smiles.
I saw a flash of resentment on the Sister’s grim countenance, but it was quickly replaced by a beneficent smile.
“Of course, Father.” Then she turned her attention back to Jesse and me and prepared to offer whatever threat she deemed appropriate to the occasion.
“I’ll deal with these two,” the Father interjected before she could get a word out. “It was after all, me that they interrupted.”
The Sister couldn’t argue with that, and the fact was, she had never had cause to be angry with either Jesse or me, and I think that helped to mitigate her irritation at having her business interrupted.
“As you wish, Father,” she said sweetly. She only gave us a quick, chastising look as she raised one eyebrow and straightened her habit before stepping outside.
Now only the three of us and rows of empty chairs filled room. It was suddenly unnervingly quiet.
“I won’t feign to be so naive as to not understand the basis of your raucous outburst,” he began in his smooth, mellow voice. “But clearly, it is one thing to conjure something in one’s mind—something of a perhaps humorous, albeit salacious nature—and yet another to completely lose control of one’s faculties in such an inappropriate manner. It is imperative that you remember that God has put Man above the animals. We all have free will, of course, but we also have discretion and self-control. I simply fail to understand why two of St. Boniface’s finest young men would behave so...foolishly in the revered atmosphere of Holy Mass.”
“We’re sorry, Father,” Jesse apologized quickly and sincerely. “It was just something...something that got out of hand,” he admitted helplessly.
I nodded in agreement. “I started it,” I confessed earnestly. “I’m really sorry, Father. I don’t know what got into me, or why I thought—”
“When I was about your age,” Father Marlen explained in a calm and unthreatening voice, “I also had a very close friend. There was a time when we were inseparable. We went to school together, played on the same sports teams, ate and slept at each other’s homes so frequently that we were practically honorary members of each other’s family. My friend—Charles—was the most amazing pitcher I’d ever seen.” A slight smile of nostalgia barely caused a wrinkle on the Father’s long and clean-shaven face.
“I was also no slouch in the pitching department, and it was an area in which we were unusually competitive with each other—a point of foolish hubris, I suppose,” he admitted. “This was in the days when Father Garetto ran the school at St. Agnus.”
It finally became clear to me what the basement of the social hall was: an abandoned school. I wondered vaguely why it had been abandoned and neglected, and if there was some connection between it and St. Boniface. My mom would probably know.
“Father Garetto was always a very intense and spiritual man, even when his hair was still black as a crow’s instead of the vibrant silver it is today. While he was generally respected both among the faculty and the student body, there was no love lost between him and a couple of cocky young ball players who more often than not sought to challenge his authority over us. One warm afternoon, near the end of the school year, my friend proposed an audacious challenge. Father Garretto always crossed the lawn from the school building to the rectory to eat his lunch with the other members of his order. Charles had acquired a handsome pile of fresh plum pits from his lunch that day and said that whoever could hit the Father in the back of the head would get to ask Gretchen Hambly to the End Of School Dance.” I realized that a few light blasts of air coming from the Father’s nostrils were about the closest he ever came to laughing.
“Gretchen Hambly...” he sighed nostalgically. “Now there was a fair lass if I ever saw one. Charles and I both had our eye on her, although neither one of us had the nerve up to that point to ask her out.... What, are you shocked?” he asked, seeing our surprised expressions. “I wasn’t born a Man Of The Cloth, you know!”
We could only nod silently, totally taken aback by the reclusive Father unexpectedly sharing so much about his own youth. How long ago could that have been? I had no clue how old the lanky priest was. He didn’t look a day over fifty, but I knew from my mom that he had been President and Headmaster of St. Boniface even back when she was in middle school.
“Anyway, I digress. Surely, you can anticipate how this sorry tale ends. We each grabbed a fistful of slimy, wet plum pits, hid behind a large oak, and waited for the extremely punctual Father to make his daily sojourn across the lawn. Well, Charles went first, and being the amazing pitcher that he was, nailed the poor Father on the back of the neck with his very first throw. We were both so stunned, we just stood there completely frozen for several seconds as Garetto looked back to see from whence the stinging projectile had come. As his search narrowed to the wide oak tree we were hiding behind, it somehow became urgently clear to our boyish minds that it was time to turn tail and run. While it hardly seemed so at the time, we must have looked quite the sight as we first bumped heads and then tripped over our own feet, so that we both ended up sitting in the grass with stunned expressions on our faces. The wise Father, an imposing figure in his black cassock, saw no need to give chase, but merely eyed us pointedly from across the lawn and gave us a little nod of recognition. With that, he continued on his way.”
Boy, this was getting to be a long story, and much like Derek the other day, I was beginning to wonder what the point of all this was.
“Now a typical punishment for such a blatant infraction—particularly against the headmaster of the school, would be a severe paddling of our behinds by Sister Mary Katherine. However, we were kept in suspense until nearly the end of the school day, wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. Finally we were called to the Father’s office and the class snickered as we hurried out red-faced to meet our fate. We were both surprised at the Father’s proposal for our punishments. He explained in a calm, non-malicious voice that we were to return to school on the following Saturday, forcing us to miss our scheduled game against St. Joe’s. That in itself was a punishment beyond imagining, since even then, they were our cross-town rivals. Beyond that, we were given a choice of either mowing the lawn and giving our custodian, Mr. Garanza, the morning off, or helping the good Father catalogue his extensive personal library. Well, even though it was one of those old fashioned, human-powered mowers, and the lawn was quite expansive, that seemed a much more enviable task than spending a morning cooped up in a room with the Holy Father himself. He could be most unnerving at times....” Farther Marlen smiled slightly at the memory. “We flipped a coin and I—as it were, lost.” He managed a distant chuckle deep in his throat. “I suppose you’re wondering what the point of this long and rambling sojourn down memory lane is all about, yes?” he asked, eyeing us both carefully.
Jesse and I glanced at each other and nodded cautiously.
“Well, it turned out that spending those three hours with Father Garetto, going through his vast collection of religious tomes and scholarly papers, actually piqued my interest in a way Catechism never had. I mark it as the first time I truly considered one day taking the Sacred Vows.” He gave us a smile of satisfaction and closure.
“Um...okay...” Jesse offered.
“So you see, God turned something very foolish—and even reckless—we could have easily taken out the good Father's eye, into a wonderful blessing. Because Father Garetto chose to make our punishments meaningful and productive, the seeds were planted. I started spending more time with the Father and his collection. By the time I was a senior, I would actually look forward to our weekly meetings to discuss whatever book or paper he had assigned me the week before. I’ll never forget the look of satisfaction on his face the day that I told him I wanted to attend the seminary. Yes, I’ll admit, I think there was a flash of pride there, but who could blame him? He had done God’s work in the way it is so often done, quietly, selflessly, and patiently, and it had paid off in a big way. After I was ordained, I requested immediate assignment to St. Agnus, and we served nearly fifteen years together before I moved the school to it’s present location and renamed it St. Boniface.”
“That’s a great story, Father,” I said, feeling genuinely flattered that the reclusive priest had taken so much of his own valuable time to share with us, especially after we had behaved so rudely towards him.
“Yes, but we haven’t even gotten to the juicy part yet,” Father Marlen noted with a definite twinkle in his eye. “I have decided, as a just and proper punishment for your disruption this morning, that I will put both of you to work in my studio, assisting me in the seemingly endless chore of cataloging my extensive art collection, which contains not only my own complete and incomplete works and sketches, but those of many others that have been donated to me or that I have picked up in my travels over the years, particularly in Europe.”
“Oh...” was all I could think of to say, but I managed to nod.
“Sure, we’d be glad to do that!” Jesse piped in.
“I see that both of you are genuinely contrite and looking for penance, and I can’t help but think that maybe in some small way, I might plant a seed in the way Father Garetto so cleverly had done with me.”
My first thought was to blurt out that the last thing in the world I wanted to be was a priest, but my brain sent a clear signal that I should keep my mouth shut and be thankful I wouldn’t be suspended for my childish act of blasphemy.
“Well, I think Tom Espinoza is the true artist in our class,” Jesse pointed out.
“There is no question about Mr. Espinoza’s remarkable gift,” the Father agreed readily, “and I intend to nurture and mentor that talent in any way I can. His recent sketch of young Mr. Thompson is nothing short of exquisite—a remarkably detailed, yet vibrant and textural work, far beyond the range of even many a serious art major. But need I point out that I read your short story yesterday, Mr. Taylor, and was most impressed, not only by the sophisticated nature of the concept, but by the writing style itself—extremely mature for one so young—very illuminating, very succinct, and most certainly poignant in a most uncloying manner.”
Jesse blushed and I knew he was having feelings of guilt once again. “Actually, Father, I need to make a...a confession about that....”
“Yeah...well...it’s not exactly an original idea...I kinda got it from this kid I knew back in Evanston.”
“Oh?” Father Marlen remarked, still with no hint of condemnation in his voice.
“I mean, I did change it a little, and I did write it in my own words, but really...the idea was from this kid...this really sweet kid who....”
A single tear suddenly trickled down my sweet angel’s face and the Father and I exchanged concerned glances.
“That boy Jesse’s talking about, you see, he had a very bad accident. He fell down some stairs at school—at Jesse’s old school in Evanston, and he’s still in a coma,” I explained quickly. “And Jesse’s story...project...was like a tribute to his friend.”
“I see,” and it seemed like the Father really did understand. “Jesse, you needn’t feel so guilty. Granted, you need to speak with Mrs. Rutherford—perhaps even this morning— and explain to her the true origin of your story, but I still find it remarkable in so many ways. Perhaps a dedication of some kind would be in order?” he suggested.
“We already did talk to her at lunch yesterday,” I chimed in quickly.
Jesse nodded and sniffled, dabbing his moist eyes with the sleeve of his hoodie.
“That was the right thing to do,” Father Marlen agreed.
“I...I don’t know Father...I should’ve said something before...or I should’ve—”
“That’s enough now,” the Father stated in something approximating a stern voice, clearly hoping to keep Jesse from slipping deeper into his feelings of guilt and shame. “You’ve acknowledged the source for your story and you explained yourself to Mrs. Rutherford. I believe that is the end of this particular discussion—unless you have anything further to add?”
Jesse dismally shook his head.
“I do hope you’ll be able to cheer Mr. Taylor up some,” the Father said, and the way he said it and the way he looked at me sent shockwaves right from my hair down to my toes. He knew! I felt it in every cell in my body. He knew about Jesse and me!
“Did I say something inappropriate?” Father Marlen asked with genuine-sounding puzzlement.
“Um...no...” I stammered uncertainly.
“Your friendship reminds me so much of what I had with Charles,” he noted wistfully.
“Where is Charles now?” Jesse managed to ask.
A shadow passed over the good Father’s implacable countenance and I shivered. “He passed away while I was in the seminary in San Diego. A very tragic boating accident...so young....”
Jesse and I both looked at each other, having no idea how to respond to that.
“That is many years in the past now,” Father Marlen declared calmly. “But when I see two boys like yourselves, good, clean, gifted boys, as close as you are, I can only pray that you will remain lifelong friends. Regardless of where the two of you end up someday, perhaps married with families of your own, or perhaps in different parts of the country—or even different parts of the globe altogether, you have no idea how meaningful a relationship like that can be as you go through the long pageant of life.”
Maybe I had panicked needlessly. Father Marlen hadn’t necessarily been alluding to our sexual relationship after all, at least not in the pointed way I had first thought. He was merely remarking on our close friendship, and I felt a wave of warmth and relief replace the tingling fear of discovery.
“Well, it seems I must apologize to you,” the Father said, glancing at his watch. “I never intended to keep you so long. I will let you run out and get a breath of fresh air, but I only wanted to add that, considering that the Christmas break is upon us, I will be postponing your punishment until we return in January.”
Jesse and I both smiled with relief.
“But I won’t forget,” he pointed out with a gentle grin.
“Thanks, Father,” Jesse said with a shaky smile as he dabbed the remaining tears from his crystal blue eyes.
“Yeah, thanks, Father Marlen,” I concurred. “You were really nice to us and stuff...and we really appreciate hearing about what it was like when you were a kid and...stuff.”
“Some things change much, and some things not at all,” he declared. “God bless you both, and may I see both your shining faces back here in good health and eager to learn when school resumes.” With that, the Father nodded and walked past us and through the open double doors.
Jesse and I exchanged glances of bemused wonderment and headed outside. Father Marlen had called both of us gifted. While it was clear why he would say that about Jesse, I couldn’t imagine what he thought my particular gift might be. Maybe someday I would work up the nerve to ask him, but at the moment, it didn’t seem important. All I cared about was making the boy at my side happy in any way I could.
The pep rally turned out great, a real highlight of the school year so far. After Principal Cardoza made a few opening remarks, a seventh grade girl went up front and punched the play button on a sleek silver boom box. As a pulsing rhythm began filling the air of the multi-purpose room, the side door opened and Katy, Jessica, Melissa, Merissa, and a few other girls came staggering out, robot-like. Their cheeks were all painted an exaggerated rosy red, and they all had their hair tied into funny looking pig tails, sticking out from the sides of their heads. It was the "Barbie Girl" song and the girls had the whole thing choreographed, making moves like stiff-legged dolls, moving up and down the stage in convoluted patterns, and sometimes intentionally bouncing off each other. Then, during the bridge, when Ken asks Barbie to party, out came Kyle, his hair slicked back, wearing a white letter sweater from Holy Trinity and with his cheeks also painted the same rosy red as the girls’! Everyone burst out in laughter as he joined in the robotic moves of the ‘Barbies,’ chasing first one ‘doll’ and then another. I think everyone in the room had sore throats from laughing so hard by the time they skipped off the stage. There were several large rounds of applause and I saw, possibly for the first time ever, our eternally stern librarian, Sister Mary Helen, barely able to contain her own delight as she held her hand coyly to her mouth and glanced with raised eyebrows at the other nuns in her proximity.
Mr. Cardoza thanked the girls and Kyle—who dashed out front and gave
an exaggerated curtsy to even more boisterous laughter—and then
introduced Sister Mary Luellen. She gave a nice speech about how she
had always loved football and had even joined in the rough games played
by her brothers and other boys from the old neighborhood. Then she said
how proud she was of our small team this year and how impressed the
other league coaches had been by our team’s ability to follow complex
plans, work so closely in sync, and tenaciously hang in there one
grueling game after another with only a handful of guys (mostly sixth
graders) on the bench to ease the burden. Then she introduced each team
member and they came up, one at a time, and lined up to one side of the
petite nun. After she had introduced Gene, and then finally Kyle—still
with his slicked back hair and painted cheeks, the room spontaneously
leapt to its feet to give our football team and star quarterback the
standing ovation they truly deserved for a great season. Still, I
couldn't help but think of my unexpected encounter with Kyle in the
supply room yesterday. It suddenly occurred to me that Melissa
and Kyle were fairly experienced lovers, even at their tender age, and
the idea of conducting a sexual rendezvous right next to the school
office seemed incredibly reckless and stupid, even for two eighth
graders as horny as they obviously were.
After things had calmed down a little, the ‘Barbie’ girls returned center stage without the silly hair and make-up, and gave a couple of rousing cheers, first for the football team, and then for the basketball team. While the choreography was simple and mostly consisted of gyrating hips and waving blue and gold pom-poms, the girls did manage a human pyramid at the end of their basketball cheer, with a tiny sixth grade girl grinning triumphantly from the top.
Then it was time for Coach Riegert to introduce our team, calling each of us up to appreciative applause, and when it finally came time for Morgan to come forward, I started the accolade that quickly erupted into another enthusiastic standing ovation.
“Speech, speech!” voices cried out, both from the team and the seated students.
At first, Morgan seemed too overwhelmed to even open his mouth, but
I saw him draw once again on that incredible self-discipline that had
through that grueling fourth quarter last night when the rest of the
team had been ready to collapse.
“This is just awesome!” he gushed, his cheeks glowing red but his eyes gleaming with emotion and pride. “We had an incredible team this year, and that’s really what it’s all about.” He gestured to the rest of us, lined up on either side of him. “I especially have to thank Eric Adams and Perry Thompson. They were my right hand dudes, and we just couldn’ta done it without them. You guys totally rock!” He waited for the enthusiastic applause to die down and I wondered disconcertedly if anyone else had noticed the way Jesse was beaming like a proud father-directly at me!
“I also...well...I just want to apologize if maybe I got a little carried away sometimes in my determination to win,” Morgan offered humbly, obviously referring to his outburst at the game against St. Luke’s that had resulted in him having to see a therapist in order to keep that boy’s parents from suing both the Kipners and the school. “I’m really sorry for that and...like...if I hurt anyone. Really sorry....” His voice trailed off emotionally and Coach Riegert came over and threw a comforting arm across Morgan’s shoulder.
“This young man is everything a true athlete should be,” he declared, his gruff voice uncharacteristlically choked with emotion, “not only because he so generously shares with us his God-given gifts as a player, but also because of his ability to lead by example, to inspire, to push each and every one of his teammates to the pinnacle of their own abilities. I have no doubt that Mr. Kipner will end up leading the Holy Trinity Warriors to a division title before he graduates, and we here at St. Boniface will be proud to call him one of our own!”
There was another wave of heartfelt applause and Morgan actually had to dab a couple of tears from his eyes. He went down the line and actually hugged each and every player, from the lowliest sixth grade bench warmer right up to Eric, Artim, and me. He embraced me vigorously and it was hard to imagine that this was the same guy who had forced me to kiss his feet, or who had rammed his rock-hard dick against my butt crack only a few days ago.
“This season...this was all for you, Per. Thanks, man,” he whispered emotionally, his head so close to mine that his lips tickled my ear.
After things calmed down a bit, Principal Cardoza wished us Godspeed for the upcoming playoffs, which would start the week after we returned from Christmas break. Father Marlen spoke a brief prayer, gave his blessing, and then, it was time to go home! A large cheer burst forth from seventy-some young voices, and the crowd quickly dispersed.
My mom met us in the parking lot of the Chantilly Cafe. It was the first time I had ever been there and it always looked extra snooty from the outside. But she had been here for lunch before, and said that it was much more casual at lunch than it was in the evening. She even met a couple of people from her office, which was just down the street, and Mrs. Bainbridge also recognized several friends from the St. Agnus Women’s Guild.
It seemed like Jessica felt just as awkward as I did, sitting there at a nice window table with a fine white linen cloth, both of us still dressed in our drab school clothes. Jessica especially was looking a little weary and disheveled. And who could blame her after the vigorous workout from the splendid show she and the other girls had put on for the benefit of the middle school and the athletic department.
Apprehensive about the long afternoon and evening to follow, I didn't have much of an appetite, so I ordered what I thought was a simple garden salad with marinated grilled chicken. When it arrived, I just stared at it for several astonished moments, having never seen anything quite like it before. The presentation was opulent, the enormous serving plate looking more like something you would use to display a roasted Thanksgiving Turkey, with two different colored dressings carefully drizzled in intricate geometric designs over the salad and the edges of the plate. The uniformly sliced pieces of grilled chicken breast were placed carefully in a semi-circle and bonfire type arrangement over a bed of some of the oddest vegetables I’d ever seen. When I asked Jessica what all that stuff was supposed to be, she was actually able to identify every strangely shaped leaf, twig and nut. I managed to pick out all the chicken while avoiding some of the more sinister looking greens.
It was soon time for my mom to get back to work, and I tried not to cringe too much as she hugged me right there in front of the valet parking attendant. She handed me a garment bag with my pressed and starched white oxford shirt, dark gray sports jacket and slacks, along with an overnight bag packed with my black Kenneth Cole loafers, red dress socks, and a neck tie with skiing cartoon reindeer on it. I left my backpack, with books and assignments due after the Christmas break, in the car.
“I packed you an extra pair of boxers too—in case you're in the mood,” she whispered in my ear as she handed everything over.
I gave her a look of shock and embarrassment, having no idea how to respond to that and she just smiled like it was no big deal.
“Have a wonderful time, dear,” she said out loud. “We’ll stop by with the cookies on our way out—I’m leaving work early today. And of course, We’ll pick you and your friends up at ten.” We?
“Oh, please Mrs. Thompson, make it eleven!” Jessica pleaded.
“Well, we do have Uncle Ron and his family coming over in the afternoon...but I suppose it would be okay,” my mom conceded. An odd little smile appeared on her face and she leaned in and whispered to me, “Actually, that works out great for me—I have a date!”
I knew my mouth was hanging open but I couldn’t help it. At first it freaked me out, thinking that my mom—my mother—was going on a date like a high school kid or something. But I saw her smiling nervously and I quickly gave her an encouraging smile back.
“That’s great!” I said in a quiet, but excited tone. “Mr. Vandermach?” She nodded. I thought about asking what Craig would be doing while they were on their date, but that wasn’t really any of my business.
We both grinned stupidly at each other while Jessica and Mrs. Bainbridge waited patiently over by their Jaguar. Then I just had to give my mom a hug, right in front of everybody.
“I’m so glad you’re happy!”
“I’ve always been happy, Perry. You make me happy and proud. But...well, yes, this is exciting. I feel like a school girl again.”
“I’ll understand if you come by late,” I noted with a wink, and my mom actually blushed.
“Eleven p.m. on the dot!” she reiterated, trying to look stern and motherly.
We both giggled and then parted ways. Now I had another less comfortable thought. It was only 1:40. That meant I’d be spending the next nine hours and twenty minutes with Jessica! But I also realized my sweet angel would be there at six. Since the arrangement had been for my mom to drop him and Merissa off at their respective homes after the party, I would have to see if the later hour would work out for them. I knew Jesse’s mom would be exhausted from a day at her reception job, and another half shift at the Villa Di Pasta in Oceanside, but if it was a problem for either one of them to stay later, probably Mrs. Scott could pick them up. Personally, I was hoping that Jesse could stay the extra hour—wouldn’t Jessica be pleased?
We pulled up to the imposing black gate and waited
while Mrs. Bainbridge reached out the window and punched a code into a
small keypad. After the motor ground into gear and the gate slowly slid
open, Mrs. Bainbridge pulled into the long driveway but didn’t get out
“You mind your brother now,” she said with a smile on her richly tanned face. Then she turned to me. “I have so many last minute errands to run for the party tonight. I hope you don’t mind. You kids just relax for a little bit. There’ll be plenty of work for everyone later. Jessy, dear, when are the Mulroneys coming over?”
“Katy said they’d try to be here around three or so.”
“Okay, try to stay out of trouble til then,” she chided, and then winked. What was that about?
Jessica got out and waited for me to grab my luggage before leading me to the kitchen door.
“She’s leaving us alone?” I asked incredulously as Mrs. Bainbridge
playfully tooted her horn and pulled out of the driveway. The
big black gate slowly slid along its runners, finally locking into
with a rattling of metal bars, that suddenly put me in mind of one of
those reality cop shows, where the prisoner solemnly shuffles into his
cell past the waiting guards and the jail door is slammed shut.
Yeah...it sounded just like that.
Edited by Blue.
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