Someday Out Of the Blue

by LittleBuddhaTW

Special thanks to Kitty (PiscesRising) for editing!

This is a story involving teenage gay males and may include sexually explicit content, adult language, and/or violence. If this kind of material is offensive to you, you are under the age of 18, or is illegal in the area where you live, do not read any further.


I woke up the next morning feeling a little groggy, maybe an after-effect of the pills I'd taken the previous night. After spending a few minutes clearing my head of all the cobwebs and recalling the events of the past twenty-four hours, I suddenly noticed that at some point during the night, Ryan had ended up shifting around on the bed and was currently spooning up behind me, with his arm draped over my chest. I could feel his morning erection pressed up against my butt. I'd never been in a position like this and it definitely made me feel a little awkward, but at the same time, I felt safe and comfortable, other than the fact that I really had to pee.

I didn't want to wake him up, however, so I just lay there as still as possible, listening to his soft breathing. Then I heard the door open and the sound of footsteps approaching. My anxiety immediately started building up again as I realized the position we were. I felt whoever had walked into the room crawl up onto the bed, and suddenly Toby's face appeared in front of me, wearing a wry grin ... and, once again, I blushed a deep shade of crimson.

"Good morning, sleepy-head ... I see Ryan's got you in one of his famous death grips," he whispered to me, a devilish grin plastered to his face.

"Ummm ... uhhh ... I, uh ..." That was about all I could seem to articulate at the moment, feeling incredibly uncomfortable, but at least Toby's expression seemed friendly.

"It's okay, man, he always latches on to me when I get the unfortunate privilege of sharing a bed with him. He's a really heavy sleeper, so you can just wrestle yourself away from him and get up if you'd like ... that is unless you'd rather stay here and snuggle with him," he added with a wink.


"Ummm ... uhhh ... actually, I kind of have to go pee, so I think I'll get up," I managed to say.

With that, I freed myself from Ryan's grip, and he didn't even stir one bit. I walked into the bathroom to relieve myself, and when I came out into the hall, Toby was waiting for me, wearing a wife-beater and white briefs.

"Let's go downstairs and get some breakfast. My mom's working today, and Ry probably won't be up for a couple hours," he said to me.

I just nodded and smiled, following him down the stairs and into the kitchen. I sat down at the kitchen table while Toby got out a couple of bowls and brought them over to the table with a box of Cocoa Puffs and a carton of milk.

"Can I get you some coffee or anything to drink?" he asked.

I was never really a coffee drinker, and actually tried to stay away from caffeine as much as I could, because it tended to make me nervous, but as I saw Toby pouring a cup for himself, I decided that I'd have one with him.

"Sure, with cream and sugar, please," I told him.

He came back to the table, handed me a mug of coffee, and sat down across from me. He poured two bowls of cereal, and while I was only halfway finished with mine, he had already devoured his first bowl and was pouring himself a second. When we'd both finished and he had drained the rest of the milk out of his bowl, he looked up at me with a big grin and a cute milk mustache.

"So, what's your story?" he asked me.

I wasn't really sure what he meant by that, and I didn't really feel like getting into the story of my life with him, so shrugged and said, "There's really nothing much to tell ... I'm just a high school student and play piano in a pub for a part-time job."

"Yeah, that's what you said last night. But there's gotta be more to you than that, huh?"

"Not really. I mean, I guess I'm just an average kid. I'm not into sports or anything like you and your brother, and I'm sure you can tell that I'm not really very good in social situations," I replied, trying not to blush again.

"Yeah, I kinda noticed that," he giggled. Then he added, "Hey, wanna join me out back for a smoke?"

I was kind of surprised to hear this fourteen-year-old freshman kid, who was all athletic and stuff, telling me that he smoked. I told him that I didn't smoke, but I'd join him out back. He fished a pack of Benson & Hedges cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and led me through the sliding glass door, still only wearing his wife-beater and briefs. It was a warm morning, so I guess it didn't matter. It didn't really bother me either, because he was pretty nice to look at. I also discovered that underarm hair came in red too.

Again, I caught myself wondering why I was even thinking about that. Like I said, I'd never really paid attention to whether or not people were attractive, either girls or boys ... it seemed as though there were more important things to think about in my life, such as where my next meal was coming from, whether or not my mom and one of her flings would be around to beat on me, and trying to keep up my grades in school and balance all of that with work.

It was really a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky, and other than the chirping of the birds and the sound of a lawn mower in the distance, it was very quiet and peaceful. We just sat in silence at the patio table, me sipping on my coffee, and Toby smoking his cigarette. After he finished his first one, he lit up a second and looked over toward me.

"Don't tell my mom or bro that I smoke. They'd totally have a cow," he said.

"No problem," I told him. "My grandmother used to smoke all the time, and the pub where I work is always filled with smoke, so it doesn't bother me."

"So you used to live with your grandmother?" he asked me.

"Yeah, until I was nine. When she passed away, I went to live with my mom," I answered, hoping that he wouldn't ask too many more questions about my life.

"Cool," was all he said, and he went back to sitting quietly and smoking his cigarette. I went back to enjoying the peace of the quiet morning and occasionally glancing at Toby to appreciate his good looks. His reddish brown hair was disheveled from sleeping and his green eyes were sparkling in the sunlight. I'd decided that his freckles were really cute, too. After a few minutes, he caught me looking at him and gave me a big smile, revealing a pair of dimples, something I hadn't noticed before and something his brother didn't have. Being caught looking at him, I quickly turned my head away and started blushing, hoping that I could maintain my composure and not have another anxiety attack.

Just then, I heard the sliding glass door open, and Ryan stumbled out and plopped himself down in the chair next to me, holding his own mug of coffee. One look at him told me that he was definitely not a morning person, but he managed to give me a great big smile ... and ANOTHER WINK!

"Mornin' Ry, you're up early today," Toby said to his brother.

Ryan turned to me and grinned. "Yeah, my personal teddy bear decided to wake up before me, so I wasn't all warm and comfy anymore."

After that comment, I think I must've blushed the deepest shade of red imaginable. Not being used to social situations, much less this kind of "brotherly banter," I was starting to feel a tad awkward, and Ryan must have noticed.

"I was just teasin' ya, bud. I do that to anything or anyone that gets in bed with me ... I hope I didn't make you feel uncomfortable."

"No, it's okay, really ... it was actually kind of nice," I said, blushing again after I realized what I'd just said.

I noticed Toby give Ryan an indecipherable look and another of his devilish little grins. That just made me feel even more uncomfortable and self-conscious.

Then Toby jumped in and said, "Well, if he really is cuddly like a teddy bear, Ry, you'll just have to share him with me tonight."

With that, Ryan scowled at his brother, and Toby just grinned back at him. Not wanting to get involved in whatever was going on between those two, I just kept my mouth shut and pretended to ignore them. The events of the morning were really starting to freak me out. I wasn't sure if they were teasing me (as kids at school were prone to do), or what else. I just knew it made me feel uncomfortable, yet at the same time, I did like the way Ryan had held me, and the way his mom had gently rubbed my head and neck the night before.

I supposed I was really starved for affection, and despite the awkwardness of it all, part of me craved it. No one had ever been affectionate with me since my grandmother died. I didn't quite know how to process all of what was going on in my head, not to mention the strange feelings I got when I noticed how handsome Ryan and Toby were, and the ambiguous comments they'd both made that morning.

So, doing what came naturally to me when put into an extremely awkward situation, I just brushed it off and started thinking about my piano playing, and what songs I would perform next week at work. I'd been working on Joni Mitchell's "A Free Man in Paris" lately, and thought that would be a good one to add to my hour-long set list. It was more of a soft rock song than a country song, but I really liked the melody and lyrics, and I thought I sang it pretty well. It was also very upbeat and made me feel good ... sometimes country music could be too depressing (duh!).

Ryan broke me out of my reverie, suggesting we all go back inside, get dressed, and figure out what to do for the rest of the day.


After Toby lent me a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to wear -- Ryan's clothes were a bit too baggy on my smaller frame -- all three of us went to Ryan's room to hang out. They wanted to play video games, but I'd never really played before, so I was content to just lie on Ryan's bed and watch the two of them. Toby pulled a couple of beanbag chairs out of Ryan's walk-in closet, and they leaned up against them to play. It was actually quite intriguing to watch the two of them doing battle against each other, not so much from the action on the screen, but from the friendly banter and teasing between the two brothers.

At some point, their video game duel turned into an actual physical duel, with the two of them rolling around on the floor, each trying to pin the other. Toby called out for me to help him, but I just stayed put, enjoying the sight in front of me. Eventually, Ryan came out on top, literally, straddled over Toby's chest, pinning his arms above his head, with Toby screaming "Give! Give!" Ryan rolled off of him and the two lay panting next to each other on the floor. They were both beet red and sweating profusely from all of the physical exertion.

As soon as their breathing returned to normal, they looked up at me from the floor, then back to each other with mischievous grins on their faces. Before I knew it, they had pounced onto the bed and tackled me, with Ryan holding me down and Toby tickling me all over. I was screaming bloody murder for about ten minutes until I shouted that I was about to piss my pants, and they finally pulled off. The three of us just lay there together on the bed, panting, and I couldn't remember ever having had so much fun before. Come to think of it, I'd never really goofed off like that, just being able to be a kid. Unfortunately, they'd now discovered how susceptible I was to tickle torture, and I hoped they wouldn't be repeating it often.

After we'd all calmed down, we chatted idly about all kinds of things, such as school, how much of a bitch the vice-principal was, the rumors about Tracy Davies giving blow jobs to the entire football team, how Stacy Feldman had apparently been knocked up by her thirteen-year-old younger brother (and was proud of it!), which bands were cool, which movies we wanted to see, and so on. We stayed away from any "sensitive" topics (read: my life), and I found myself opening up and talking more freely than I could ever remember.

I'd never really had anyone to talk with, even about such seemingly mundane things as Tracie Davies' "extracurricular activities." It felt good, and I felt good. Laughing, talking, goofing around, teasing each other - to them, it was just another lazy Saturday afternoon, but to me, it was a whole new world, and I was eating it up.

Eventually, we decided to watch a movie, so Ryan got up and put Pulp Fiction into the DVD player. We placed some pillows against the wall, and the three of us lay down next to each other on the bed, me in between Ryan and Toby, with our legs dangling over the side. I'd never seen Pulp Fiction before ... actually, I'd never seen many movies, period. I thought it was hilarious, and I think they were more amused with my reaction to the movie than the movie itself. I could hardly stop laughing after Samuel L. Jackson's discourse on the  "Quarter Pounder/Royale with Cheese," and during the scene where John Travolta had to jam a needle into Uma Thurman's chest, I hoped that I'd never have to do that for my mother!

At some point during the movie, Toby had moved really close to me, with our sides pressed together, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed the closeness. As the movie was nearing the end, I felt Toby's hand brush up against mine and he held it there, gently rubbing his thumb across the top of my hand. I felt a shiver run through my body and had to suppress a moan that almost popped out of my throat involuntarily. Part of me wanted to hold on to his hand, or at least return the gentle massage he was giving me, but I was too scared. I was about to look over at him for some kind of reaction when Dr. McCormack's voice suddenly came booming up from downstairs.

"Boys!!! I'm home, and I brought pizza!"

Toby and I nearly jumped out of our skins, and Ryan just looked over at us and laughed. We all got up and went downstairs to greet their mom, and sat down at the table to eat. The boys talked with their mom about her day at work, and I just sort of sat there and zoned out, thinking about how much fun I'd had that day, but also thinking about what had just happened up in Ryan's room. I may be a little naive, but I'm not that naive, and I knew that there was something in the way Toby had been touching me. I still wasn't sure how I felt about it, though. It kind of freaked me out, not really because of its implications, as that's not something that I'd ever really given much thought to, but because I didn't know if or how I should react.

I liked both Ryan and Toby a lot. They both gave me something that I'd been desiring for so long ... acceptance, friendship, and affection. At the same time, though, I was scared about how much I could handle. I was only fifteen years old, and had never before experienced the kind of feelings I was having. And then there was Ryan. What was he feeling? Hell, what was Toby really feeling? What was I even feeling? This was all getting to be a bit too much for me, so I just tried to block it out of my mind and think about other things. Unfortunately, thoughts of my mother and eventually going back "home" started to creep into my mind. I wasn't looking forward to having to go back there and deal with whatever mess she was in now.

After we finished dinner, Ryan and Toby started to clean up and wash the dishes, and Dr. McCormack asked me to go to her office with her. That started to make me feel a little nervous ... actually, very nervous. All kinds of thoughts started running through my head. Was she going to try to drill me for information about my mom? Did she think there was something going on between me and Ryan or Toby? Was she about to tell me that I'd overstayed my welcome and needed to go home?

Yesterday I had been all but ready to go home. I didn't feel comfortable, but after hanging around with Ryan and Toby today, I'd felt really good, and I actually wanted to stay. I wanted to keep hanging out and talking with them. As all of these thoughts were swirling around in my head, I realized that I'd started shaking again, and getting that sick feeling in my stomach. Apparently, Dr. McCormack noticed, too.

"Connor, honey, are you feeling alright?" she asked.

"Ummm ... uhhhh .... yeah ... I'm fine," I stuttered. Who was I kidding, though? I obviously wasn't fine, but I didn't really want to tell her what was upsetting me.

She led me over to a comfortable-looking leather chair in her office and I sat down, as she proceeded to sit behind her desk and put on her glasses.

"How's your head feeling today, Connor? Any headaches? Dizziness? Is your vision blurry at all?" she asked in a very professional manner.

"No, ma'am. I feel fine." I replied.

Except for shaking like a leaf and wanting to throw up, I thought to myself.

"Well, honey, you're shaking pretty bad there, and you're white as a sheet. What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Dr. McCormack ... really ... just, uhhh ... just thinking about some stuff," I answered feebly.

"First of all, you really should just call me Maggie," she said, "and secondly, I think your anxiety might be a bit more chronic than you'd led me to believe."

"Ummm ... uhhh ...," I was at a loss for words.

She gave me a warm smile and asked, "Connor, is there anything you want to talk about? Is everything okay at home?"

Jesus, I knew this was coming! Part of me wanted to get up and bolt out of the door, but the soothing voice she was speaking to me with kept me glued to the chair. She wasn't threatening at all, and I should have relaxed, but I couldn't. There were just too many things bottled up inside that I didn't want her to see.

"Uhhh ... no, ma'am ... I mean ... uhhh ... Maggie," I mumbled. "I'm just a really nervous person, I guess."

"Well, I just want you to know that you can talk to me about anything, okay? I'm not going to judge you or say anything to anyone else, even the boys, unless I think you're in some kind of danger."

DANGER! There was that word ... there was definitely no way I could tell her about my life at home. Some things were better just left alone, and this was one thing that I wanted to deal with on my own. I'd dealt with it fine so far - save for a few trips to the emergency room - but I was still alive, and it's not like I was the only one with a fucked up life at home. Other people could deal with it, and so could I. Plus, if she found out, I could be taken away by Social Services and put into some kind of home, and I'd read plenty of horror stories about the kind of things that went on in those places. I didn't want to become a ward of the state, an orphan, or anything like that.

"There's really nothing wrong, ma'am," I told her, more confidently this time.

"Okay, but I want you to know that you're always welcome to come over here anytime you want. Ryan and Toby both seem to like you a lot. Toby's never been shy, as I'm sure you can tell, but Ryan has been. Not as shy as you, I admit, but he doesn't make friends very easily either. A lot of it probably has to do with his ADD. I think he's afraid that if people find out about it, they'll judge him because of it."

"Oh, I would never judge him. He acts just like every other kid. I would never even know if he hadn't told me," I said.

"And that in itself shows just how much he likes you and trusts you that he would come out and tell you that. I'm really happy the two of you met, although I still feel bad about the circumstances," she said, grinning at me.

I blushed ... again.

"Anyway," she continued, "I'm still a little worried about your anxiety, so I'm going to write you a prescription for two weeks' worth of Klonopin, the same medication I gave you yesterday. If you start to feel an anxiety attack coming on, take one right away. We'll see how you're doing after a couple of weeks and decide where to go from there."

"That's really nice of you, Dr. McCor ... I mean, Maggie ... but I told you that my mom can't really afford that right now. I think I can deal with it fine on my own."

Now I was starting to worry that she'd want to talk to my mother about my problems, which would probably end up getting me beaten again, and asking her why she didn't have Medicaid or whatever she had mentioned last night.

As if reading my thoughts -- damn my big blue eyes!--, she said, "Don't worry, Connor, I'll give you the medicine, and I won't tell your mom about it. It's doctor-patient privilege anyway. Not even Ryan and Toby need to know."

Suddenly I felt much more relieved, and I'm sure she could read my expression. I didn't really care if Ryan and Toby knew, though, because they'd already seen what happens to me when I have a panic attack, and I knew they didn't judge me or look down on me because of it.

"Okay, I think that's about it. Why don't you go watch some television with the boys? I'm sure they're wondering what's keeping you. Go on now, shoo!" she ordered me, with a friendly wink.


So, I walked out of her office and back to the living room where I found Ryan and Toby sitting on the couch, watching a movie on HBO and devouring a gallon of ice cream. I sat down by myself on the loveseat and started watching the movie, which turned out to be Terminator 3 (Damn, that guy looked an awful lot like the governor of California!). I was a little lost, considering I hadn't seen the first two parts, but Ryan and Toby both seemed to be really into it. After a few minutes, Ryan got up and walked over to the loveseat with the gallon of ice cream, plopped down next to me, and handed me a spoon. I looked over at him and he just smiled, so I started to dig in. It turned out to be cookie dough ice cream, and it was INCREDIBLE! YUMMY!

When the movie was over, I looked at the clock and noticed that it was eleven o'clock. Maggie had come into the living room about thirty minutes prior to give me my medicine, and I was about ready to conk out. Luckily, Ryan announced that we should be getting to bed, so we all trudged up the stairs, took turns in the bathroom, and then headed off to bed. I was actually looking forward to Ryan's "death grip" tonight as I got under the covers and he turned off the light. Before I knew it, I was out cold.

It didn't seem like I was asleep for very long when I felt something nudging me in the shoulder. At first I thought I was just dreaming and tried to ignore it, but the nudging became more persistent. Feeling a bit annoyed, I opened my eyes to see Toby's face right in front of mine, illuminated by the moonlight coming in through the window.

"Connor, will you come sleep in my bed tonight?" he asked.


"I'd like you to come sleep with me in my room tonight," he said, sounding like he was almost pleading.

I was very comfortable right where I was next to Ryan. He hadn't gotten me in his "death grip" yet, but I was sure he would eventually, and the bed was already nice and warm, and smelled like ... well, Ryan. Unfortunately, I had a problem saying 'no' to people, and at the same time, I was more than a little curious about what was going on with Toby ... or more specifically, between Toby and myself. So, I got up quietly, followed him into his room, and crawled into bed. I turned on my side to face the wall and was about to go to sleep when I felt him spoon up behind me and wrap his arm tightly around me. I felt his breath on the back of my neck, and a shudder went through my entire body.

It was that same feeling I'd gotten when our hands brushed together earlier in the day, when we were on Ryan's bed watching the movie. It felt really nice, almost electrical, but confusing at the same time. He hadn't spoken to me since the afternoon (except for asking me to get into bed with him ... maybe that was telling me something, but like I said, I tend to be a bit naive), and I was just hoping he'd tell me what was going on ... but he didn't. He just held me, and it felt good, like our two bodies just melted into each other.

Just as I was about to fall back asleep, he whispered in my ear, "Your turn to hold me now."

He turned around, and not wanting to hurt his feelings or anything, I turned around as well and spooned up beside him, suddenly realizing that I was a bit "aroused" as my crotch pressed against his butt. Unfortunately, I hadn't been paying enough attention when he was spooned up beside me to recall if he had been aroused as well, although the thought that he probably was was quite exciting for some reason. Trying to ignore my embarrassment for the moment, I wrapped my arm around him and tried to go back to sleep. Before I could, though, I felt his hand take hold of mine, rubbing back and forth gently with his thumb. This time, I got a little braver and returned the gentle hand massage. I buried my face in his neck and found myself intoxicated by his smell. It wasn't the same as Ryan ... it was more "boyish."

As we continued gently rubbing each other's hands, I involuntarily pulled him even closer in to me, as a soft moan escaped from his lips. The feel of the soft skin on his neck against my face was so incredible, it took all of my self-control to will myself from kissing it. Eventually, though, I realized how tired I was, so instead of trying to analyze everything that was going on, I just decided to enjoy the comfortable feeling of snuggling with him and let myself drift off to the land of dreams, with the beautiful fourteen-year-old enigma that was Toby in my arms.


I thought I was dreaming about a swarm of angry bees buzzing around my ear and stinging me, until I realized that something really was attacking my ear. I grudgingly opened my eyes just as Toby was flicking my ear again with his finger, wearing a shit-eating grin on his face. I realized then that he was definitely a morning person ... UGH!

"Time to wake up, sleepy-head," he said, in a sing-song voice.

His smile was so captivating, the hint of both a little angel and a little devil, and I found myself wanting to kiss him again. Again, it took all of my will power to shake away that thought.

"What time is it?" I mumbled.

"About eight o'clock. I need some coffee and a smoke. You coming with me?" he asked.

"Yeah. Sure." I replied.

We crawled out of bed and took turns relieving our bladders before going downstairs to get our coffee. As we'd done the previous morning, we took our coffee out to the patio table in the backyard, and Toby lit up a cigarette. I didn't see his mom's car in the driveway, so I assumed she was off to work again. Poor woman, having to work Saturday and Sunday! It was another beautiful morning, and I realized that I'd never noticed seemingly trivial things like that before, things like the weather, sunrises and sunsets, certain smells, like flowers or freshly-mowed grass, even the sound of birds singing. They were never important enough before to warrant my attention. Now, however, they just added to my sense of happiness. As I thought about these wonderful new things, though, my trepidation about having to leave it all so soon and go back to the world I had come to fear came rushing back into my mind. All good things must come to an end.

"What's up, Connor?" Toby asked me, seemingly sensing the change in my mood.

"Nothin'. Just have a lot of stuff on my mind, that's all," I answered.

"What kind of stuff?"

Basically just two things: how miserable my pathetic life is and how much I want to kiss you, I thought.

"Just ... stuff ... like going back to school tomorrow," I lied. I still wasn't ready to let him into my most private thoughts, and even if I were ready to share the misery that is my life with someone, for some reason I figured it would be with Ryan and not Toby, although that thought made me feel a little guilty.

"Are you thinking about me ... or you and me?" he asked softly.

The look in his eyes was a mixture of hopefulness and nervousness.

Actually, that was a subject that I had wanted to discuss, but now I felt a little awkward talking about it, mostly because I didn't know exactly how I felt about the whole thing, and wasn't sure that Toby would understand. I really liked him, and I liked the feeling of being close to him, but at the same time I didn't know whether I just needed the friendship and affection, or if there was something else, another kind of feeling that I had yet to explore in my life. The hardest part was that I didn't know how to distinguish those feelings. If it was more than just a need for friendship and affection, then that would mean I was probably "gay." Yes, despite my naivety about many things, I did know what "gay" meant!

Surprisingly, that didn't bother me at all ... it's just something that I had never even thought about in any great depth - sexuality, that is. I'd never looked at girls or boys. I don't think it would bother me if I was. I was already picked on at school, whether I was gay or not, so that wasn't really a concern. And if being gay meant that I'd be able to share those feelings of closeness and affection with Toby (or Ryan?), then I wouldn't mind at all. Ironically, the only thing that worried me was the possibility that maybe I wasn't gay, and wouldn't be able to return the same level of feelings that I was beginning to assume he had started to feel towards me.

So, part of me, I suppose, was afraid that if I let things go further with Toby and later found out that I wasn't really gay, then he could end up getting hurt, and I might lose his friendship. If I got more involved with Toby, I'd eventually have to open up to him about my life, which I wasn't ready to do. There was also the complication of Ryan, who I also had "feelings" for, although, as with Toby, I didn't know what those feelings really meant. So, for the time being, I thought it better to just try to avoid the issue and take some time to think about it, although I was afraid that as soon as I was back at "home," other things (like survival) might take precedence.

I had certainly started the slow process of coming out of my shell over the past couple of days, but I was afraid that I would go right back into hiding, so to speak, once I came face to face with my "real" life again. I thought, though, that at the very least I wanted (no, needed) Toby as my friend, and Ryan.

"Is that it?" he asked again.

"Ummm ... I guess a little," I replied hesitantly.

He looked like he was thinking hard about this, gnawing on his lower lip.

I needed to say something, both to assuage his anxieties as well as to give myself some time to figure things out. And, I realized, I owed it to him to be as honest as I could be, without revealing too much. Unfortunately, conversation (especially regarding feelings and emotions) wasn't really my strong point, and I certainly wasn't the most articulate person in the world.

"Toby," I said, "I really like you ... a lot. You and Ryan have been so good to me this weekend. I'm sure you can pretty much tell that I haven't had a very easy life. I wish I could tell both of you more about that, but for now I can't. As for you and me, I honestly don't know what I'm feeling, because I haven't even really had friends before, let alone somebody who's 'more than friends.' I guess there's just a lot of things I don't understand right now, and this is kind of a lot to handle so suddenly. I've never had to think about this before. But I do really like you ... and I like hanging out with you ... and I like the way it feels when we hold each other. That's all I know for sure right now. I don't know if that makes much sense to you, but I hope it does."

"I really like you, too," he said. "I think I can understand what you're feeling. I hope someday soon you'll be able to talk to me more about you ... I'd really like to know. I may not be as sensitive as my brother, but I do care. And as far as everything else goes, I'm happy with what we have now. I like the closeness too, and I want to keep that. And we don't have to think or talk about anything more just yet."

I was a little surprised by his response. Surprised in a good way, because I could accept what he said. I was also surprised that a fourteen-year-old and a fifteen-year-old could have such a "mature" conversation. And even though I wasn't ready yet, I did want to talk to Toby more at some point and let him into my life. But for now, to protect him more so than myself, I couldn't.

"That sounds good to me, Toby," I said. "Thank you."

He gave me a big smile and a wink ... and this time I didn't even blush, I just returned his smile.


Later that afternoon, the three of us were playing basketball together in the driveway. It took about an hour for Ryan and Toby to teach me how to dribble, with a fair amount of bickering between the two as to what the best way to teach me was. Eventually I got the hang of it, and we messed around for a while, getting all hot and sweaty like teenage boys should do when they're not at school. I wish I could say that I turned out to have a natural talent for basketball, or that I had at least learned to hold my own out there, but the sad truth is that I sucked. I don't think a single one of my shots even came close to going in the net ... come to think of it, I don't think a single one even came close to the backboard!

At first, I was scared of getting the reaction that I got in P.E. class last year when I couldn't catch a baseball or football, or got hit in the head with a tennis ball. The ribbing and teasing I took from the other kids was merciless, and I thought I would just die from embarrassment. But Ryan and Toby never made a single snide remark, never teased me even one iota for my lack of coordination or absolute athletic ineptitude. Rather, they patiently tried to help me, and encouraged me when they thought I was getting the hang of it.

After we were thoroughly exhausted from playing basketball, we all went in and took showers, then plopped down on Ryan's bed again to watch a DVD. This afternoon's selection was Dead Man Walking. It was quite moving, and toward the end, I had to fight back a few tears. Unlike the day before, Toby maintained a neutral distance from me, which was good for the time being, although I admit that I kind of missed the closeness. I knew I would miss it even more when I had to go home. I had felt so good all day. I was just one of the guys, goofing off with them and occasionally even joining in the joking banter between them.

Maggie came home from work at about five o'clock and busied herself with preparing dinner. Ryan and I helped to set the table while Toby was off doing his own thing. As Maggie began putting the food on the table -- lasagna, a Caesar salad, steamed vegetables, and garlic bread -- it came to me that the next day was Monday, which would mean going back to school, and back to my old life. I felt as though I'd slipped out of my "real" life for a few days into some kind of paradise, a place where I was accepted, wasn't teased, wasn't beaten, and was loved. It was a place I wanted to remain in forever, but I knew that I couldn't.

Now that these depressing thoughts had crept their way into my mind, I knew I couldn't hide what I was feeling for much longer, so I thought it best that I get home sooner rather than later. I was pretty sure they'd let me stay another night with them, but even though I really wanted one more peaceful night's sleep wrapped up in either Ryan or Toby's arms, I didn't want to overstay my welcome, nor did I want my depressive mood to wear off on everyone else. So, once again, I resigned myself to my fate.

"Ummm ... Dr. McCor ... I mean, Maggie ... I think I'd better get going home in a little bit," I said as we were clearing away the dinner table.

"You know you're more than welcome to stay the night, hon," she said. "The boys love having you here, and Ryan could drive you all to school in the morning. If you're worried about clothes, Toby has plenty that you could borrow."

"You might even be able to find some underwear without yellow stains on the front," she added, with a wry grin.

As tempting as the offer was, I knew that I couldn't. The sooner I left, the easier it would be to accept, I figured.

"Thanks, ma'am, but my mom is gonna be wondering where I am, and I have school stuff at home and all that I need to pick up."

"Okay, then. But I want you to know that you're always welcome here. Don't make yourself a stranger, you hear?"

"Yes, ma'am." I definitely wanted to spend more time over here, but at the same time, I was afraid the more time I spent with them, the more they would learn about me. I didn't want them to have to experience my world, even if it was just experiencing it second-hand through me and dealing with my emotional turmoil.

"It looks like we're all finished up in here, so why don't you go and watch TV with the boys for a little while, and then Ryan can take you home."

I nodded in agreement and walked into the living room where Ryan and Toby were watching a football game. Ryan must have noticed the sullen look on my face, and patted the place next to him on the sofa. I glanced over at Toby, who was sitting in one of the recliners, totally engrossed in the game. So, I walked over and plopped down on the sofa next to Ryan.

"How ya doin' there, bud?" he asked.

"I'm fine. I've had a really great time this weekend, but I'm gonna need to go home in a little bit. Do you think you could give me a ride?"

His expression sort of dropped, and I could tell that he was disappointed. Part of me just wanted to hug him, but another, darker part of me wanted to tell him that maybe being friends with me would just bring a lot more disappointment and hurt to his life. I came with a lot of baggage, and I didn't want that to affect him. In my mind, their perfect little family was like a pristine section of rainforest, untouched by the horrors of the outside world.

They had a loving home, a wonderful mother, and everything they wanted, not to mention their amazingly caring and compassionate dispositions. I didn't want to pollute that with my pain, suffering, and overwhelming insecurities. Nevertheless, my own selfishness prevented me from telling him that. I desperately wanted to keep them all in my life, and I didn't want to let go. But I knew, for now, I needed to get back to my old life before I became too accustomed to this paradise.

"Are you really sure you have to go?" he asked.

He really did look sad now, and I started to feel guilty.

DAMN!!! Why did this have to be so hard?!?! Ryan, can't you just see that I'm not good enough for you? I thought to myself.

"Yeah, I'm sorry. But I need to get ready for school tomorrow, and I'm getting a little homesick too, I guess."

HA! What a lie! And a lie that I felt guilty about to no end.

"Okay, I understand. As soon as the game is over I'll drive you home, alright?"

"Sure, Ryan. Thanks." I managed a small smile for him.

For the next couple of hours we sat there in near silence, except for Toby's whoops and cheers when his team scored, and his curses and boos when the other team got the upper hand. I thought his reactions were really cute. By this point, after everything that had happened, I'd pretty much figured he was probably gay. When we were together, there was so much feeling, so much passion in his embraces. But seeing him sitting there like that, enjoying a football game, as well as watching how competitive he was playing basketball earlier, was a stark contrast to what I had imagined gay people were like. Like everyone else, I suppose I held the same stereotypes in my mind of effeminate guys who liked to talk about clothes, go shopping, and discuss interior decorating and styling hair. I definitely had some more thinking to do, especially since I had realized that I had feelings for Toby ... and also for Ryan, feelings that may even go beyond friendship. Thinking ... definitely lots and lots of thinking to do.

As Ryan got up to get his jacket and his car keys, I realized that it was time to go. I went upstairs to get my backpack, and when I came back downstairs to the foyer, Maggie and Toby were both there with us to say goodbye. I got long hugs from both of them.

When Toby hugged me, he whispered into my ear, "Thanks for everything, Connor. I'm really glad I met you. I'll look for you in school tomorrow."

I didn't say anything in reply, just squeezed him tighter and gave him a soft, quick kiss on his neck.

Maggie reminded me that I was always welcome to come over anytime I wanted, and that I could talk to her if I was having any problems. The look she gave me let me know that she was serious. Part of me just wanted to cry in her arms and tell her everything and let her make it all better, but I knew she couldn't do that. So I just nodded and headed out the door, with Ryan a few steps in front of me.

As we drove off, the fear of going back home grew stronger and stronger. Just that morning I was so happy, and now I was miserable. It was like I'd been given a slice of heaven, a little piece of the life I'd always wished I'd had, and now it was being taken away from me. Sure, I'd be able to see Ryan, Toby, and Maggie again, and I was hopeful that my relationship with them could grow. But I knew that I'd also have to continue to go through hell at home, and eventually, I was afraid, I would bring that suffering into their lives as well, and then they wouldn't want me around anymore. I was sure of that. I just had to enjoy the few moments of happiness while I could.

The car ride was mostly quiet, except for me giving a few brief directions to Ryan on how to get to the trailer park where I lived. I would have been embarrassed, but he already knew that I was poor, and there was nothing I could do about it ... and I knew he didn't care at all. That's what made him even more special to me. When we pulled up in front of my trailer, I noticed that my mom's car was there and there was a dim light on inside.

"Well, here we are," Ryan said, breaking the silence.

"Yeah," I sighed. I just stared blankly in front of me, not anxious to get out of the car and walk inside. I could just hope my mom was passed out drunk so I wouldn't have to deal with her.

"You know, Connor," Ryan said, turning to look at me, "you can come over anytime you want. We all really like you ... especially me. This may sound kinda sadistic, but a part of me is really glad I hit you with that ball on Friday, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten to meet you."

The look on his face was so sincere as he said this, and his deep green eyes looked as though they were staring directly into my soul.

God, Ryan, don't you realize what you're doing to me?

"Thanks, Ryan, for everything," was all I could say as he continued to look right into me, and that sudden urge to express my feelings with a kiss came gushing back.

The mood was suddenly broken when he changed topics.

"So, when do you work?" he asked.

"Uhhh ... I have to play on Wednesday and Friday nights this week. I usually do one show during the week and one on the weekend," I replied.


"Yeah, it's not bad. I only have to play for an hour, and I love doing it. It's like it's not even work," I said.

"So, can we ... uhhh ... like hang out a little bit at school and stuff?" he asked.

I managed a small smile. "Sure, Ryan, I'd really like that."

With that, I finally got one of those big grins of his that I loved so much.

I finally said goodbye to Ryan, but before he let me out of the car, he grabbed me in a big hug, even running his fingers tenderly through the hair on the back of my head. It felt both wonderful and painful at the same time, being in his arms at that moment. Wonderful because of how good he made me feel, and that safe, comfortable scent of Irish Spring and strawberries ... and painful because I knew that in just a few seconds, it would be gone, and I didn't know for how long.

After clinging to each other for a good five minutes, I told him I had to get going and hopped out of the car. I waved to him as he backed out of the driveway, and then turned to face the trailer ... my "home."


The first thing I noticed when I walked into the dingy, musty smelling trailer, standing in the doorway, was my mother lying unconscious on the tattered couch, buck naked and spread-eagled ... definitely not a "Kodak moment." The next thing I saw was an extremely large, bearded man on the old recliner next to the couch, his grossly distended pot belly covered in hair, and like my mother, as naked as the day he was born, penis flaccid and lying across his upper thigh.

On the floor were several empty bottles of Southern Comfort, and an almost empty bottle of pills was lying on the coffee table. I would have assumed they were dead were it not for the rhythmic motion of their chests inhaling and exhaling, and the occasional snort coming from my mother's latest "beau."

Although I was thoroughly disgusted at the sight, I was glad that they were out cold so I wouldn't have to deal with either of them, and also that Ryan hadn't asked to come inside with me. If he had seen this sight, he certainly would have rethought whether or not he wanted to get involved with someone like me. Disgusted as I may have been at the pitiful sight of my mother, the woman who had brought me into this world and was supposedly entrusted with the task of raising me, I could certainly say that I was not shocked. It was an image I had seen far too many times.

After quietly picking up the empty bottles and some other trash from the floor and depositing them in the garbage, I plodded off to the bathroom and hopped into the shower. Seeing that vision of my mother and the latest sleaze that she had picked up and probably fucked until they were both blue in the face and foaming at the mouth, made me feel incredibly dirty. So I took an extra long time standing under the hot water, hoping to let that feeling, and those images, wash away from my body.

As I stepped in front of the mirror to brush my teeth, I saw the image of a lonely, pathetic boy staring back at me. Examining the thick, curly mop of dark blond hair sitting on my head, the large blue eyes that lacked the sparkle I envied so much in Ryan's eyes, and the baby face that made me look younger than my fifteen years, I wondered what two incredible people like Ryan and Toby could possibly see in me ... not only as a potential lover (at least in Toby's case), but even as a friend.

Even though people occasionally commented that I had a "cute" face (I personally didn't think so), if they'd seen my body like I was seeing it now, they would certainly change their minds. I was incredibly thin, not even a trace of muscle, practically hairless save for a tiny amount under my armpits and a small bush above my circumcised penis, and just a smattering of peach fuzz on my legs. As for the "family jewels," I wasn't blessed in that department either. When fully erect, I measured a measly five inches. There was nothing attractive about Connor Matthews, I thought.

Completing my ablutions in the bathroom, I walked into my tiny bedroom and closed the door. After spending the weekend in Ryan's and Toby's bedrooms, it struck me hard how little I really had. There were no decorations on the wall, no fancy furniture, no television or computer, just a dirty old mattress lying on the floor, my tattered, second-hand clothes lying in several piles, and a cardboard box full of some of my favorite books.

I looked at the digital alarm clock that lay on the floor next to my bed and saw that it was already ten-thirty. Since I had to be awake at six o'clock the next morning to get ready for school, I figured I should try to get to bed. Unfortunately, I wasn't very tired, and I could sense that tonight would be one of those nights filled with restless tossing and turning. So many disparate thoughts were writhing around in my brain, thoughts of Ryan and Toby, thoughts of my wretched life, thoughts of what was going to happen during the upcoming school week ... yep, sleep was going to be a long time coming.

I suddenly remembered the prescription Maggie had given me for those pills. They relaxed me and made me sleepy, but I'd forgotten to get them from her before I came home, so that was out .......... WAIT! What about those pills that were lying on the coffee table? With that in mind, I crept back out into the living room and looked at the bottle. The label said it was "valium," and I recognized the name. These would definitely help me sleep. So I took two pills, leaving a few in the bottle, quickly downed them with some water from the tap in the kitchen, then walked back to my bedroom. After lying down on my mattress (I couldn't even call it a bed), I soon felt the relaxing effects of the valium taking hold of me, and I fell into a deep sleep.

Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved. No parts of this story may be copied, reproduced, in print or in any other format, without express written consent from the author.

This story is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

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