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.



The sound of my alarm clock on Monday morning rudely woke me from my deep slumber. After smacking the alarm with my fist a few times until it ceased its incessant squawking, it then took me a few moments to realize that I wasn't still at the McCormacks' house, and neither Ryan nor Toby was curled up beside me. It was a depressing thought. I knew that I would see them today, but figured that at least during school hours, they probably wouldn't want to be seen with someone like me ... I probably should have known better than to think that, but being told that I was a worthless, unwanted piece of shit by my mother since I was nine years old took its toll on me. I suppose nine-year-olds are sensitive that way.

I crept out into the living room, and to my relief, I found that my mother and "The Lumberjack" (the fat, hairy guy that my mom brought home with her - I had no idea what his real name was, but my nickname for him seemed to fit the bill) were still passed out. So, I plodded off to the bathroom to get washed up and ready for school, and as soon as I was dressed in a pair of old, torn jeans and a plain sweatshirt, I was out the door to await the bus.

As the bus pulled up to the stop near the school, I looked out the window, and lo and behold, a grinning Ryan was standing there waiting for me! Stepping off the bus, I couldn't help but smile seeing him there. It made my insecurities from earlier in the morning vanish almost instantaneously. He walked right over to me, slung an arm around my shoulder, and began walking with me toward the school.

"So, how're ya doin' this morning?" he asked, that infectious grin still plastered to his face.

"I'm alright. How about you, Ry?"

"I'm doin' good, but missed having you around last night," he replied, with a small pout.

I just laughed nervously and blushed. Looking over at him, I noticed that unmistakable sparkle in his eyes and nearly melted right there.

"Where's Toby at?" I asked him, trying to keep the conversation going.

"What's wrong? Missing your boyfriend already?" he chided me.

I blushed an even deeper shade of red, and started to worry what he thought about my "relationship" with his younger brother ... not that there really was one, but still ...

"He's not my boyfriend, dumbass," I replied defensively.

"I'm just teasin' ya, bud. He had to be at school early for swim practice. He's probably showering and getting ready for class right now."

"Yeah, you jock boys and your sports," I teased, eliciting a slight chuckle from him.

"Hey, I was just thinking," he said. "Since I don't think we have any classes together, you'll join me and my friends for lunch today, right?"

Uh oh ... I was going to have to meet his friends?!?! Doesn't he remember my issues regarding unfamiliar social situations?

"Ummm  ... uhhh ... I just usually eat lunch by myself ... I wouldn't want to intrude or anything ... and ... uhhh ... you know I'm not too good with meeting new people."

"That's exactly the point. You need to start learning how to meet new people, and my friends are cool, not the typical jocks. Just be yourself and they'll love ya ... trust me!"

He sounded pretty sure of himself, but I still wasn't convinced, although I promised him that I'd think about it.

As we neared the school and the bustling masses of students gathered around chatting with each other, I figured he'd remove his arm from around my shoulder ... but he didn't. We just kept walking, right into the school. I thought it would look kind of weird for him to be walking in to school with his arm around someone he'd never hung out with before (who also happened to be a guy!), but he didn't seem to care one bit. As we passed several groups of people, he exchanged friendly greetings with them, a couple of times even stopping to introduce me to them, although I was so nervous that I couldn't remember their names for the life of me. This little experience was a bit disconcerting, to say the least.

As we reached my locker, he said, "Oooh, now I know where your locker is, so I can slip you little love notes between classes."

"Well, usually all I get is hate mail, so a love note from you might be a nice change of pace," I joked with him, immediately regretting what I had just said.

He just gave me another wink and walked off down the hall, calling back over his shoulder, "See you at lunch!"

I opened my locker, gathered up the books I'd be needing for my morning classes, and headed off to my first class ... Algebra II ... UGH! Whoever thought of making teenagers sit through that class at this god-awful hour should be tarred, feathered, and shot, I thought to myself.


The morning went by pretty quickly, and I managed to avoid any of my tormenters, trying hard to stay under the radar as much as possible. Once I realized it was lunchtime, however, I began dreading having to go to the cafeteria. To me, going into the cafeteria for lunch was basically a matter of simple addition: large, crowded place with lots of teenagers + shy, timid, overly anxious Connor = panic attack. Simple enough, right? I couldn't believe I was willing to put myself through this just for Ryan ... normally I would have just picked up a sandwich and gone off to find a quiet place outside.

I walked through the lunch line, picking up the sludge they tried to pass off as food. When I made it to the cashier, I told her my name as softly as possible, hoping to avoid the snickers from the other students, so that she could check my name off the list of those students who qualified for the free lunch program (graciously paid for by the state for us poor kids! HA!). As I left the lunch line and began walking between the rows of long tables, I noticed Ryan waving toward me with a big smile (did that boy ever stop smiling?!). He was sitting at a table with a bunch of other guys (and girls), so I managed to give him a feeble half-smile and walked over to sit down.

Ryan suddenly spoke loudly over the din of the crowd, "Hey guys, this is my friend Connor; Connor, these are the guys!"

I immediately looked down and blushed as I heard the seemingly less than enthusiastic reply of greetings from Ryan's friends. I felt absolutely mortified, and a little resentful towards Ryan for putting me in a situation that he knew I would feel uncomfortable with. Couldn't he have tried introducing me into these group situations a little more slowly?!?!

He seemed to notice my discomfort and proceeded to wrap his arm around my shoulders and give me a little squeeze. It was a bit comforting, but at the same time made me feel a wee bit self-conscious ... OK, make that A LOT self-conscious. He didn't seem fazed though, and I didn't make any move to brush his arm away, and for his part, he just left it there. He then began to introduce the people who were in the closest proximity to us, and who I assumed were probably his best friends.

"Connor, this is Natalie," he said, pointing to a tall, slightly plump girl with short blond hair and stylish, red-rimmed glasses. "She's in the drama club and has probably the best voice in the whole school," he added.

"Hi, Connor, it's nice to meet you," she said, in a high, sweet voice. "You're a cutie, why haven't I seen you around here before?"

I just blushed and looked down at my food, which was suddenly looking much more interesting than it had just a minute ago.

Ryan, bless his heart, jumped in to save me from my embarrassment. "He's been too busy ducking lacrosse balls."

That brought a perplexed look and a shrug from Natalie, and if it was even possible, my face turned a brighter shade of red.

Ryan just gave me another squeeze, his arm still wrapped firmly around my shoulder.

"And this," he said, pointing to an extremely large and intimidating-looking black guy, "is Delcondris. He's the best linebacker on our football team."

"Hi," I managed to squeak out feebly.

"Wassup, bro?" Delcondris nodded at me.

"And sitting to Delcondris' right," Ryan announced, "is the beautiful Tuwanda, who has that big goof wrapped around her beautiful little finger."

"Hi, Connor, it's nice to meet you," she said, extending her hand to me. She was definitely one of the prettiest girls I'd seen. Tall, thin, with beautiful caramel skin, long hair, and long, red finger nails. I shook her hand and gave her a nod and a little smile.

"These two studs over here," Ryan continued, "are the twins - Ethan and Ben. Don't bother trying to tell them apart, because none of us can."

I smiled and nodded, and noticed that they really were studs. They were both about 5'11", nicely built, spiky brown hair, and blue eyes. And, surprisingly for twins their age, they wore matching outfits, which happened to be jeans and royal blue polo shirts.

"And last, and most certainly least," Ryan quipped, "this is, unfortunately, my best friend, Mikey."

I also gave him a slight nod and smile, but at the same time noticed how Ryan used the term "best friend," which pretty much dashed any illusion I may have had of me being able to fill that role in his life. I couldn't deny, however, that Mikey was also incredibly attractive, about my height, with a slightly better build, medium-length blond hair with bangs that nearly covered his eyes, and big brown eyes. Like me, he also seemed pretty shy, considering the shy smile he gave me and how quickly his pale complexion turned a bright shade of red.

Now that the "gang" had been introduced, Ryan turned his attention to me.

"Connor and I met by accident, actually. I beaned him in the head with a lacrosse ball during practice," he grinned devilishly. "And, besides his adorable looks, he's a genius on the piano and probably smarter than any of us ... well, except for Tuwanda, maybe"

He gave Tuwanda one of his patented smiles, and I just blushed and started hoping a rock would suddenly appear that I could crawl under. But everyone gave me big smiles and said it was nice to meet me, blah blah blah.

After the introductions were finished and everyone went back to their own individual conversations, I asked Ryan where Toby was.

"He's probably around somewhere sitting with his swimming buddies," he replied.

"Oh," I said, with probably a mild hint of disappointment in my voice.

"Why? You miss him?" Ryan asked, winking at me.

Now I REALLY blushed, and rather than hoping to find a rock to crawl under, I was contemplating bolting out of the cafeteria completely.

Then Ryan leaned in excruciatingly close to my ear and whispered, "One of these days you'll realize that I'm a better catch than him anyway."

With that comment, I quickly turned to look at him, my eyes practically bugging out of my head. The innuendos over the past few days were starting to go a little too far at this point!

I was expecting a cocky grin and a wink from him, but was surprised when I just got a little half-smile and HE blushed!

Clearing his throat, obviously feeling a little uncomfortable himself (that was a first!), he said, "Connor, I've got lacrosse practice every afternoon, and games on Thursday nights, so I can't drive you home. I really would if I could, you know ..."

I cut him off, "No, it's alright, Ryan. I'm used to taking the bus."

"I also realized," he added, "that we've never exchanged phone numbers or anything, so here's my cell phone number and the number at the house. Call me anytime ... I mean that. And I won't even be offended if you call for Toby."

He winked with that last comment, and handed me a piece of paper with his phone number scrawled on it. I didn't think I'd ever have the nerve to call him, but I was grateful nonetheless that he'd think of me, and put the piece of paper in my pocket.

With that, the bell sounded, signaling everyone to head back to class, so I said goodbye to Ryan and headed out the door.

Despite my initial reservations about meeting all of Ryan's friends, it actually wasn't that bad. They all seemed genuinely friendly, even the huge football player (and it might be nice to have someone like that on my side the next time Trent Lomax and his cronies decided to take a jab at me). I wasn't sure if I'd ever really become friends with these people, but I liked them so far, and could at least be friendly with them. The whole "best friend Mikey" thing caused me to feel a slight pang of jealousy though, for some reason, but I decided it wasn't worth dwelling on and so just filed that thought away in the back of my brain somewhere where it hopefully wouldn't cause me any trouble.


I was feeling pretty good the next morning. The night before, my mom and "The Lumberjack" weren't home, so I'd been left in peace and quiet to do my homework and catch up on some reading that I'd been wanting to do. As I got off the bus, Ryan was again waiting for me at the bus stop and walked me to school with his arm around my shoulder. This time when we passed his friends in the hallway, the ones I had met the day before all said 'hi" to me, and I admit, it made me feel really good.

So, by the time lunch rolled around, even though I can't say I was enthusiastic about going into the cafeteria, at least I wasn't dreading it like I had before, and was actually anxious to get to spend forty-five minutes with Ryan. I still hadn't seen Toby for the past two days, which was kind of a bummer, as his infectious smile always brightened up my mood, but I figured I'd see him soon enough. Perhaps it was my more positive outlook on the day that caused me to let down my guard somewhat.

After I went through the usual ritual of getting my food and having my name checked off the "poor kids list," I started walking towards Ryan's table, noticing the empty space next to him that he'd saved for me. When I was about ten feet away from the table, I felt a heavy thud against my back, and my body, along with my lunch tray and all of its contents went flying through the air. I landed with a thud on the cold linoleum floor, and my food splattered everywhere. I heard the unmistakable laughter of Trent Lomax - the King of Assholes.

"You're such a pansy, Matthews!" he snickered.

I was absolutely mortified as I lay there on the ground ... and I knew that Ryan and all of his friends had witnessed what had just happened. Part of me wanted to cry ... but I NEVER cried. I would never give them the satisfaction. I never even cried anymore when my mother or her boyfriends beat me. Crying would just show them I was weak and egg them on. I don't think I'd cried about anything since I was twelve years old, and I wasn't about to start now. FUCK THEM ALL!!!

I got up as quickly as possible, grabbed my backpack, and bolted out of the cafeteria as fast as I could. I couldn't face Ryan or his friends then, and I didn't know if I could ever face him again. I already knew I was a loser, a pathetic little nobody. Now Ryan would know it too. How could I ever possibly delude myself into thinking that he could want to be friends with me? I became even more sickened and ashamed of myself when I realized that the feelings that I had, and now could admit that I possibly hoped he shared as well, were even more delusional.

I had tasted real happiness for a few days, I let my guard down and let myself be happy, let myself entertain the thought that I might be able to have at least part of the life I had always wanted ... and now, I was right back to where I'd been before - a pathetic, scrawny loser ... and probably a "pansy," just like Trent Lomax had said.

As I was running through the hallways, I realized that I had about forty minutes left in the lunch period and had to figure out where to go to hide out. I suddenly remembered that Ryan had mentioned that there was a concert grand piano on the stage in the auditorium. No one would be in the auditorium during lunch, and I could sit there by myself and clear my head by playing the piano, the only thing that I could think of right now that might calm my frazzled nerves. I wanted ... no, I needed ... to get to that special place that only the piano could take me, that place where I was safe, alone, and free.

I walked into the auditorium and was relieved to find that it was indeed empty, and save for a light illuminating the stage, it was dark. The atmosphere suited my mood well. And the Yamaha grand piano ... sitting right there in the center of the stage ... huge, black, and shiny ... it was like a beacon in the dark night, beckoning to me, pulling me towards safety. I now knew that this would be my new refuge from the outside world that I could escape to for forty-five minutes every day.

I climbed up onto the stage and sat down in front of the piano, letting my fingers brush lightly over the keys. It was absolutely gorgeous! I positioned my hands carefully on the keys, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and began to play one of my favorite pieces, an instrumental by Elton John called "Carla/Etude." The melody was gentle and soothing, and I felt myself begin to drift off to that special place. At that moment, the piano and I were one. I didn't have to give any thought to what I was doing, as my fingers just moved up and down the keys, hitting each note perfectly as if by instinct. I was almost completely gone until I heard the door to the stage open, and my eyes shot up to see Ryan walking in.

"I thought I'd probably find you here," he said.

"What're you doing here?" I asked, slightly annoyed that he'd broken my moment of tranquility.

"What do you think?" he retorted, his tone letting me know that he was slightly annoyed as well.

"Come here to pick on the big loser, probably," I muttered. "I wish you would just leave me alone."

He let out a deep sigh, walked over to the piano, and sat down on the piano bench next to me.

"You're really stupid if you think that," he said.

"Then tell me why you're here," I repeated, growing more and more agitated.

He grinned. "Because you promised you'd play something for me."

I just stared at him blankly.

"You promised you'd play something for me ... and besides that, you doofus, because I care about you!"

"I don't need your fucking pity!" I shot back at him.

"Who said I pitied you?" he asked incredulously. "I thought we were friends, I thought we had something special. And I thought you really cared about me too ... maybe I was wrong."

No matter how many defenses I had built up around myself over the years, how much I had tried to keep other people from getting close to me, how hard I tried not to feel, the look he gave me when he said that, the sadness in his eyes, melted it nearly all away.

"I do care about you ... more than you'll probably ever know," I admitted, barely above a whisper.

"Good," he said, his grin lighting up his face again. "Now play something for me!"

"I was just playing when you walked in."

"No, you were playing something for you ... I want you to play something for me. Something that tells me what's going on in that mixed up head of yours."

I looked him in the eye and said, "No, because some songs can reveal too much, and I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. But I'll still play you something."

With that, I returned my focus to the piano and started pounding out the melody to the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There," and putting as much feeling as I could muster at that point into the vocals. About halfway through, he joined me, and we sang the rest together. When we finished, he looked over at me with a huge grin, then got up and started walking away. But before he got to the door, he stopped and turned back around.

"By the way," he said. "You're coming to Toby's swim meet with me on Saturday morning and spending the weekend with us. I won't take no for an answer, and if you try to get out of it, my mom will personally go over to your house and drag your sorry ass back with her."


"Ummm ... sure, Ryan ... but Friday night I can't ... I have to work. You can pick me up on Saturday morning though."

"Okay, then. Seeya, hot stuff!"

With a cheeky grin and a wink, he was off, and I was left sitting there a little stunned.

Actually, I could have gone over to his house on Friday night after work, but I figured that the more time spent there, the more attached I would become to that good feeling, and the harder it would hit me when I lost it ... and I knew I would. But I didn't doubt for a minute that if I refused to stay over on Saturday, Maggie really would come looking for me ... so, basically, I didn't see that I had much of a choice. Then the selfish and immature part of me realized that I was the one who would be with Ryan all weekend, and not "best friend Mikey." I could at least feel satisfied with that!


Despite the fact that Ryan was waiting for me as I got off the bus on Wednesday morning, smiling as if nothing bad had happened just the day before, I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be a good day ... I was sure to be teased mercilessly about the incident in the cafeteria, and I was not looking forward to that at all. To my surprise, however, Ryan informed me that right after I had fled the "scene of the crime," Delcondris had grabbed one of Trent Lomax's goons' tray and splattered the food all over Trent, thoroughly ruining his expensive designer clothes and earning a loud round of applause from everyone in the cafeteria. Now I kinda wished I had stayed there to see that!

The day went by reasonably smoothly, and I was surprised that no one made any comments about what had happened. I didn't really engage myself in any conversations at the lunch table, but everyone was friendly to me, and I actually kind of liked it ... well, just a little bit. I wouldn't have been there at all, though, if it hadn't been for Ryan. Seeing him act like he was happy to see me and having his arm around me during nearly the entire lunch period were the only reasons I didn't head straight back to my sanctuary in the auditorium.

As I was grabbing my books out of my locker at the end of the day, I noticed a small, folded-up piece of paper. I figured it was probably a note from dear Trent Lomax, telling me that I was dead meat or something like that. When I opened it, however, I was in for a surprise ... albeit a very pleasant one:

Dear Connor,

I miss you.


Whoah! 'Nuff said! But I didn't have time to dwell on it, because I had my schedule to keep if I was to make it to the bus on time (and hopefully not get beaned with another lacrosse ball!).

That afternoon when I went home, I was again relieved to find the trailer empty, so I did my homework and took the chance to relax and mentally prepare myself for work that night. After taking a quick shower, I hopped on the bus and was at the pub by 7:30. The show was supposed to begin at 8:00 sharp. I walked through the small hallway at the back of the pub to the closet-sized changing room where I kept my stage outfit.

It was the nicest outfit I had in my wardrobe, and I only wore it when I performed. I had saved my money for nearly three months to be able to buy the clothes. It wasn't anything spectacular, but since it was the nicest thing I had, it meant a lot to me. That's also why I kept it at the club, as I was afraid somehow it would get ruined if I took it home. Mr. Bill was even kind enough to get it washed regularly for me. As I put on my plain black suit, black shirt (no tie ... I hated ties), black dress shoes, and black-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses (I didn't need them, but I liked the way they looked on me ... it was part of my "stage persona"), I went over the set-list in my head.

About five minutes before I was scheduled to go on, I peered into the main room and noticed that there was a pretty decent-sized crowd for a Wednesday night, many of whom had become loyal "fans" over the past year or so, if you could really call a bunch of drunk rednecks "fans." And, to my surprise, there was none other than Ryan sitting by himself at a table in the very front!


I didn't really have time to think about it, as Mr. Bill was motioning for me to go on. The room was already filled with smoke, and the small stage was illuminated by a few white lights. It was a very plain set up, with just the upright piano and mic sitting in the middle of the stage -- nothing as nice as that beautiful Yamaha concert grand they had at school. The lights combined with all of the smoke created a somewhat ethereal effect. It was perfect in its simplicity, and that's the way I liked it, with nothing to detract from the music itself.

I took a deep breath and walked out onto the stage, with polite applause coming from the audience. I glanced over at Ryan and gave him a little wave to let him know I knew he was there, then quickly walked to the piano, sat down, and adjusted the microphone. The room was pretty much dark, save for the lights on the stage, so I could barely see the audience, except for the first couple of rows. It was easier that way to imagine that I was up there by myself, just me and the piano. I kind of wished I had known that Ryan would be coming so I could have prepared a more special show for him, but he'd just have to settle for the standard one. At least I could do my best to add a little more intensity to the songs, though.

I began with a classic Elton John song, "Sixty Years On." It was one of my favorite Elton pieces, and a great show opener. It was originally written to be accompanied by a full orchestra, but it could also be played solo on the piano with the right amount of skill. I had listened to dozens of bootleg concerts of Elton doing the same thing and eventually got it down ... but it was still very difficult trying to recreate the feel of a full orchestra with just a piano. The song itself was about the fear of growing old, and both the lyrics and melody were extremely haunting, with a long piano solo at the beginning, followed by the depressive, almost pleading vocals. In between each verse were long instrumental solos, switching tempos constantly, from slow and sweet, segueing into an intense, almost frantic crescendo, and then back again. I put everything I had into that song, and after I finished nearly eight minutes later, I was already exhausted and sweating profusely, but inside I was glowing. I said a quick "thank you" to the crowd through the microphone, and glanced at Ryan, who I saw was beaming. I even managed to give him a quick smile.

I then proceeded to go through the rest of the set somewhat mechanically, including Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You,"  Jim Reeves' "He'll Have To Go" (one of my absolute favorite country songs!), Elton John's "Country Comfort" and "Texan Love Song," the Beatles' "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude," and finally a rousing finale of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," "Twist and Shout," and the classic Jerry Lee Lewis rocker "Great Balls of Fire." By the time I got to the final three songs, the audience was clapping along enthusiastically, and on the last number, I kicked away the piano bench and played on my knees, vintage Jerry Lee Lewis style. As I hit the final notes on the piano and the audience started clapping (along with a few catcalls!), I was totally wiped out. I acknowledged the audience with a quick bow and went off stage, where Mr. Bill gave me a pat on the back and handed me my fifty bucks in cash.

About fifteen minutes later I'd gotten changed and walked back out into the main room, no longer the "piano man," just plain old Connor Matthews. But, I still felt good. Each show was a cathartic experience for me. And I felt even better when I noticed Ryan standing in the bar, waiting for me with a huge smile on his face.

"Connor, dude, you totally rocked out there!" he practically shouted. "I can't believe how awesome you were! It was like that wasn't even you up there!"

"Thanks," I said, blushing. "I guess I just escape into my own little world when I'm on stage."

"I've totally gotta bring my mom, Toby, and the guys out here to see this ... dude, you were just ... wow!" he gushed.

I was really starting to blush now. I wish they could find the gene responsible for blushing and get rid of mine!

"Actually, Ryan, I'd like this to be just between you and me ... something special, ya know?" I said sheepishly.

He looked confused for a moment, but then managed to give me a shy smile.

"So ... ummm ... can I give you a ride home?" he asked.

"Sure, I'd like that," I smiled.



I was lying across the tattered couch shirtless as my mother whipped me with an old leather belt. I'd already lost count of how many times she'd hit me, but unfortunately hadn't passed out yet, although I was pretty sure she wouldn't stop until I did. But at least I didn't let myself cry.

I wished there had been some reason why she started beating on me as soon as I walked in the door, but she was just in one of her alcohol and drug induced frenzies. She was screaming and cursing, and I couldn't make sense out of anything she was saying. Each time she did this I wanted to stand up for myself, but each time, like the pathetic little wimp that I was, I just took it. Somewhere deep inside, I guess, I figured I probably deserved it. She kept screaming and beating me in a frenetic rage until finally I passed out from the pain.

I woke up a couple of hours later, lying face down on the mattress in my bedroom. I don't know if she'd dragged me there or if I'd somehow managed to crawl there myself. I carefully picked myself up, a sharp pain shooting through my back, and made my way out of my bedroom. The trailer was empty, so I assumed she'd gone out drinking again. Hopefully she won't come back tonight, I thought.

The next order of business was to go into the bathroom and survey the damage. When I looked in the mirror, I saw that my back was covered in huge purple and red welts. Fortunately, this time, she didn't break the skin, but it still hurt like hell. I was also lucky that it was only my back, so my wounds could easily be covered up by a shirt, and I wouldn't have to answer any embarrassing questions. I then took a quick shower, stumbled back into my bedroom, and passed out again.


I felt like shit when I woke up on Thursday morning. My entire back was on fire. I thought about staying home from school to recover from my beating, but I also wanted to see Ryan. I needed to see his smile in order to feel human again. So I managed to get myself ready for school and get out the door without any sign of dear old mom.

As I was walking to the bus stop, I remembered that I had put my earnings from the night before into my backpack. I reached in to make sure that the money was still there, but much to my chagrin it was gone. Now, at least, I knew there was a reason for the severe beating I took ... she'd wanted my money, probably to go out and buy more booze, crack cocaine, or whatever she was into lately. I WAS MUGGED BY MY OWN FUCKING MOTHER!!!

Utterly dejected, I made it to the bus stop and got on the bus for the ride to school. Pain shot up through my back each time the bus ran over a pot hole, but I had gotten pretty used to it by now. I had to try to pull myself together, because I knew my eyes would give me away, and I didn't want Ryan to figure anything out. To me, he was pure like an angel, far removed from the hell I lived in, and I wanted to keep it that way, for both our sakes.

As I stepped off the bus, there he was waiting for me, as usual. Despite my horrible mood and the pain in my back, I couldn't help but smile when I saw him.

"How's it going?" he asked.

"Okay, just tired," I lied.

He put his arm around my shoulder and I suddenly winced from the pain and pulled away. SHIT!!!

"What's wrong, man?" he asked, worriedly.

"Sorry ... guess I'm just kinda sore from last night ... those shows tend to put a lot of strain on my body," I lied ... again.

"Remember, I'm not a hunky athlete like you," I added, with a grin.

He blushed and looked away. Come to think of it, he'd been blushing quite a bit lately ... hmmmm.

The rest of the day went by pretty normally. Thankfully I didn't have P.E. this year, so no one would be able to see the welts on my back. I saw Ryan at lunch as usual, and even saw Toby in the hallway. We were both running late to class, but I managed to wave at him, and he gave me a shy smile. I guess he figured I'd gotten his note.

When I got home that afternoon, I thanked my lucky stars that my mother still wasn't home, and hoped she wouldn't be back before Saturday morning when Ryan came to get me out of there. I spent the rest of the evening doing my homework and then settled down on my mattress to read a book. I suddenly realized that today was Thursday and Ryan was supposed to have had a lacrosse game ... he hadn't exactly invited me, but he had made it a point to tell me when he played, and I felt guilty for not being there. Oh well, I'd just have to apologize to him later, I guess.


As I was sitting in class on Friday, I started to regret telling Ryan not to come pick me up until Saturday morning, rather than going to his house tonight right after work. After all, I'd be finished by nine o'clock. Part of me just didn't want to go home, but an even bigger part of me really wanted to be with Ryan. I needed that safe and comfortable feeling again after such a long week. I then realized that I'd hardly thought about Toby all week, except for when I got his note and saw him briefly in the hallway. My thoughts had been preoccupied with Ryan.

Was I somehow making a decision about something without even realizing it? If I was, would my feelings even be reciprocated? And what about Toby's feelings? He obviously had feelings for me ... and I had feelings for him too ... but he wasn't Ryan. GOD!!! WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO DAMN COMPLICATED? THIS ISN'T SOME SOAP OPERA OR CHEESY INTERNET GAY LOVE STORY, THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE!!!

As we sat at the lunch table that afternoon, Ryan could obviously tell that something was weighing heavily on my mind, so naturally he asked me about it. I just told him I was thinking about tonight's show and left it at that. It had been only a week since we'd met, and already things had become so fucking complicated. I hadn't exactly had a nice or comfortable life before, but at least it was predictable. Get up, go to school, get picked on from time to time, come home, do my homework, get the occasional beating, and do a couple of shows at the pub. That was it.

And now, in a period of just seven days, in addition to everything that I'd become accustomed to before, now I had all of these feelings running rampant in my mind, and I wasn't sure how to deal with them. Not only that, but I didn't even have anyone who I could talk with about it (like a mom or dad ... or even a big brother or best friend).

I was on my own with this one ... as usual. For the briefest of moments, I considered the possibility of talking to Maggie about it -- she'd told me that I could talk to her about anything -- but then I realized that since the main source of my current anxiety was my more than platonic feelings for her sons, she could hardly be an objective observer.

Then I wondered if maybe I could talk to one of Ryan's friends about it. Natalie, Delcondris, Tuwanda, the (gorgeous) twins, and Mikey had all been friendly with me ... but then again, I didn't know how they would take the idea of my having these kinds of feelings for their friend, who also happened to be a guy. I certainly didn't have a problem with that part of it, but I didn't know if they would ... and even if Ryan was gay, bi, or curious, he probably wouldn't want them all knowing. Not to mention, if I told them, then I would certainly be stuck with some kind of label (at least in their minds ... like Gay Connor ... and I didn't think the whole label thing suited me very well ... yet). So, with all options considered, I decided that it was still up to me to deal with things by myself.

By the time I got home from school, a full-fledged anxiety attack had set in from everything that I'd been stressing out about. Thankfully my mother wasn't home, so I just went to my bedroom, lay down on my mattress, and let the waves of anxiety consume me ... but this time there was no Ryan or Maggie to soothe me, and no medicine to take those feelings away. I was all alone.

I finally pulled myself together, grabbed a quick shower, and headed out to catch the bus to the club. At least I would have an hour while I was on stage where I wouldn't have to think about all of this stuff, where I could escape to that safe place of mine. I'd originally planned on doing basically the same set list as Wednesday night, but I'd decided at the last minute to change things up a bit. Friday nights at the pub were always crowded, and I wanted to at least put on a good show, not just go through the motions.

When I got to the pub, Mr. Bill seemed to sense that I was a bit out of sorts.

"Connor, are you feeling alright? Coming down with a cold or something?" he asked.

"No, sir, I'm fine."

"Are you sure? If you don't feel like going on tonight, it wouldn't be a problem," he said.

"Really, it's no problem at all. I've changed my set list around, so I think it'll be a pretty good show tonight," I assured him.

He seemed pleased with that. It would be a good show, but right now I just wished that I had told Ryan to come get me tonight rather than having to wait until tomorrow morning ... I needed him, and more than that, I think I wanted him, too. I didn't necessarily want to rip his clothes off and make wild, passionate love with him, but I wanted to cuddle with him, kiss him, stroke his hair, and run my fingers across his smooth skin. I couldn't tell him what was going on in my head, but even just feeling him next to me and seeing his smile would certainly make me feel a lot better. Sadly, I'd have to endure another night at home before I'd get that chance, and who knows what wonderful surprise my mother may have waiting for me.

After my brief conversation with Mr. Bill, I went back to get changed, then went over the set list in my mind. I really needed to focus on the show now, and not my other problems. For the next hour, I couldn't be Connor Matthews; I had to be the consummate showman that all those people came to see. If they could leave the bar a little happier than when they had come in, because of what I gave them onstage, then it was all worth it.

Promptly at eight o'clock, I walked out onto the stage. As usual, the room was filled with smoke, and the crowd was unusually large. There was not an empty seat in the whole place, and many people were left standing (not that it was that big of a place anyway). I was half hoping to see Ryan sitting in the front row again, but it wasn't to be. However, seeing the piano there on the stage, my refuge -- even if just for one hour -- helped to calm my nerves. As I had done so many nights before, I walked over and sat down at the piano, adjusting the microphone. Tonight needed to be a great show, not just for the audience, but for me ... I needed some of their energy and enthusiasm to get me out of the emotional funk I was in.

I usually began my shows with a slower song, like I did on Wednesday night with "Sixty Years On." But tonight, I immediately charged into a rocking rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman," pounding out the melody on the piano, singing as powerfully as I could, wailing into the microphone. When I finished my opener, the crowd went wild, and I finally got into "the zone." On the stage, I was someone else, I was safe from everything, and all that mattered was the music.

I then followed  up with two of my staples, "I Only Want To Be With You" and "He'll Have To Go," and finished the rest of the show with a series of rockers: Elton John's "Rock and Roll Madonna"  and "Burn Down the Mission," Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly," the Beatles' "Come Together" and "Hard Day's Night," and my usual big finale of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," "Twist & Shout," and "Great Balls of Fire." And even though I was completely exhausted by the end of the show, I still managed to kick away the piano bench, get on my knees and pound the hell out of the piano on the last song. I think Jerry Lee Lewis would have been proud!

When I finished, the applause, catcalls, and whistles from the audience were deafening, and I definitely felt better. This was exactly what I needed, and for that entire hour, not a single thought other than the show I was performing entered my mind. Now I was exhausted, so after a quick bow and wave to the audience, I made my way off the stage and headed for the dressing room. But before I could get there, Mr. Bill stopped me.

"Where do you think you're going?" he asked.

"Ummm ... uhhh ... I thought I was finished .... so ... uhhh ... I was planning on getting changed," I stuttered. "Is something wrong?"

"No!" he exclaimed. "That was an incredible show! But the audience is still carrying on, you need to give them an encore ... but after that rock and roll show you did out there,  I think you should try something a little slower to get everyone calmed down a little bit, ok?"

This was the first time he'd ever asked or expected me to do an encore. It was usually just go on stage, play for an hour, get changed, and go home. The same routine every night. I was tired, though, and my clothes were practically soaked through.

"Can I at least get changed really quick, so I can just get out of here as soon as I'm done? The smoke is killing me, and I don't want it to damage my voice if I stay in here too long," I said.

"Sure, no problem, bud. Just hurry up!"

With that, I changed quickly into a blue track suit, put on my tattered blue Detroit Lions baseball cap, and went back out on stage. The audience was still clapping loudly, so I gave them another quick bow and wave and sat down at the piano again, readjusting the microphone. I knew exactly what song I would finish the show with -- something that fit the mood completely, Billy Joel's "Piano Man." When I finished, I said a quick "thank you" into the microphone and walked quickly off stage, not paying much attention to the audience, although the applause was hard to ignore. But now that I was off the stage, I was just plain Connor Matthews again, and I couldn't remember ever being more exhausted in my life.

I quickly grabbed my backpack and Mr. Bill handed me sixty dollars in cash for the evening (I noticed the extra ten bucks, and was definitely pleased). Since I'd already changed into my "street clothes" before the encore, I walked right out into the main room, just wanting to get outside into the fresh air ... but before I got more than five steps, there was Ryan standing by the bar, wearing a huge smile.

"You were incredible out there, Connor, abso-fucking-lutely incredible!" he beamed.

I just stared at him.

"What?! You don't think I didn't realize that you could come over tonight after work instead of having to wait until tomorrow morning, did you?!" he asked incredulously.

I was so shocked and elated to see him there. There was nothing I could say; I couldn't even manage a smile. I just rushed over and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his shoulder.

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

LittleBuddhaTW's Official Page @

For discussion and notification of new chapter postings, go to

Please let me know what you think of the story! Send comments to