There was never an afternoon that had gone by slower, or faster, than this one. I couldn't pay attention to any of the teachers in my afternoon classes. It's a good thing I was a top student or I think they would have chastised me for being totally oblivious to them. As it was, I really could have given a shit what they thought.
The minutes seemed to drag on as my restless head was filled with possibilities of the coming encounter with Gabriel. I noticed how my hands were shaking just thinking about him. He knew something was up, and I knew that he wouldn't stop bothering me about it until I told him. I had managed so well to hide it from him until now. It was all his fault! Why did he have to trap me like that today??
There was no use trying to get out of it now. I contemplated skipping practice and playing sick at home. You'd be able to pull it off pretty easily, what with that shape you're in now, I thought sarcastically. But when I thought about it some more, I knew it would just be another delay of the inevitable. Either I told Gabriel my secret like a man, or I played the sissy and hid from him under my covers.
When the bell rang after biology, I knew there was only one path for me: I had to be true to myself, and no other. I had to tell him, even if it meant drawing upon me his hate. I tried to tell myself that I had known Gabe for 11 years, that we were best buds and nothing could change that. I tried to tell myself that Gabe has good, no great, parents who have raised him to accept and tolerate those who are different from him. I tried to tell myself that everything would turn out ok, that it would even be for the best. But for some reason, my hands just would not stop shaking.
It was time to face my best friend.
We carpooled to practice, my mom driving us since my dad was working. As always, we sat together in the back seat. He looked over at me as he got in, and I looked out the window. It was a quiet ride to practice, a fact not commented on by anyone in the car. Maybe Gabriel knew that now was not the time to talk, in front of my mom, and maybe my mom was just totally oblivious, absorbed in whatever private thoughts she was having. Whatever it was, I was glad for it.
As usual, we were early. I changed quickly, catching him giving me worried looks the whole time, though he only said, "We have got to talk." I nodded to him quickly, and hurried out on the deck to stretch.
Sitting down on the cold, whitish tiles of the deck sent chills racing along my body. I put both feet out in front of me and, bending over so my face was on top of my knees, I grabbed the bottoms of my feet with the palms of my hands. After a slow ten-count, I straightened up, and there was Gabriel coming out of the locker room. The sight, as usual, took my breath away.
God he was so perfect. His whole body, except the area covered by his speedo, was a dark, golden-tan color (we went tanning together at Planet Fitness after working out in the gym). His stomach was flat, with every ab muscle in his 8-pack defined. Not bulging out like those gross bodybuilders, just beautifully shown off. His pecs, too, were perfectly formed, not too big, nicely square shaped. His flat stomach and chest were totally hairless, not even a treasure trail. I thought it was totally erotic, since I love guys who are smooth like that. His lower legs were dusted with light brown hairs that faded and ended just about at mid-thigh, and his arms were completely hairless. His arms were strong and muscular, his legs gorgeously shaped. His back was broad, well-muscled, and he had a delicious curve to his spine that led my eyes down, down, down, to the perfect, round, firm globes of his ass. His regular speedo was covered by the mandatory drag suit, but the drag suit itself was hardly larger than the speedo. They served only to cling tightly to the wonderful mounds of his cute butt, and amplify the mystery of the ample mound between his legs. Not that I hadn't seen his dick before... we slept in just boxers, and I had seen him naked on occasion. I knew that he was about 4 inches limp, with a pair of big, golf ball-sized balls. But to see it encased in the nylon/spandex mix of the speedo was a total turn-on. I averted my eyes immediately after seeing him, but every detail of his body was burned into my brain already, and I couldn't help but envision him at I started doing some trunk twists to loosen up.
He came over at sat down next to me as I finished a count of thirty twists. I didn't look at him.
He sighed. "Jake," he said. "I know you're avoiding me." Why, oh why does his voice have to be so musical and soothing? "We need to talk. I hate seeing you like this. You know you can tell me anything, right?"
Anything, except this, I thought. The fear inside me reared it's ugly head again. I felt the tears start to come back, but this was a public place. Other members of the team had started to appear. I choked them down.
"We'll talk after practice," I forced out, and even to my own ears I sounded cold and distant. I could literally feel him recoil from those sharp-edged words.
"Alright. Good." His voice sounded tight, like I had hurt him. "My house tonight ok." It wasn't really a question, because he knew it didn't matter to me in the least. His parents were my second parents, and his house was my house. I closed my eyes, and wished I could have made my voice sound less steely. As it was, I barely managed to hold back another wave of sadness that threatened to bring me to tears as he stood up and walked over to stand behind our lane.
Practice went all too quickly.
Three hours later, after swimming almost 13,000 yards, my emotion was spent. It had been one of my better practices that I could remember. At one point in the set, we had done a 1500 (a mile) for time. No one could keep up with me. I lapped Gabriel, the only one swimming with me in lane 3, twice. My time was only 4 seconds off my meet time, which my coach was elated about. All I could think about was the coming confrontation.
Mom (I call my mom Mum and his mom Mom) noticed how quiet we were on the way home. When she mentioned it, Gabriel just said we had a tough practice tonight. I could see the worry on her face as she glanced at me in the rear view mirror. Her own brown eyes were just as warm and caring as Gabriel's, and I found myself having to look away from them before I broke down right there.
Dinner was an uneventful affair. I stayed withdrawn, hardly speaking except when spoken to. Richard (Gabe's dad) asked me if I was okay. I replied yes, just tired. I hardly tasted the mouthwatering Chicken Parmesan Mom had cooked, I was so absorbed in my thoughts. It felt like I was walking in a dream almost, and my emotions were stretched tighter than a drum. My heart began to pound when we all got up to clear the table, and when we went upstairs to start our homework I thought it was ready to burst from my chest.
When we got to his room, I knew the moment was upon me. Dreading when he would ask me to speak, I dropped my bags and threw myself on his bed, no our bed, burying my face in a pillow. I could hear him moving around, and a dresser drawer opening. I heard the distinct sound of clothes being thrown into the hamper, and I knew that he'd just done our usual routine of stripping down to boxers to get more comfortable. How could I face him? But then again, why wasn't he saying anything??
The bed moved as someone, presumably Gabe, sat down next to me. I felt a comforting hand start to rub my back. God, if only he knew what his touch did to me.
"Jake, whatever it is you have to say, I think it would be best if you just got it out in the open. I mean, is it really worth beating yourself up like this? What could possibly be so terrible that you've kept it from me for this long? I've noticed you acting differently these past few months. I didn't know why, but I didn't think anything was wrong until lunch today. Then I realized that something was VERY wrong. But whatever it is, we'll face it together, like we've faced everything else. Come on, look at me will ya?" He said all this with tenderness and compassion in his voice. I slowly rolled over onto my back.
Even in a situation like this, seeing him half-naked took my breath away. All I wanted to do was run my hands over the silky softness of his skin, or kiss those beautiful lips. In the light of the ceiling lamp his lips were literally shining. Why does he have to be so beautiful, and so perfect, and so straight??? I felt for sure that he was straight. He wasn't at all gay-acting and he was always going out with one girl or another. And I just HAD to fall in love with him.... seriously, who was I kidding?
I looked up into his eyes. If only the world would have frozen right at that moment, I could have looked into those eyes for the rest of time, and it would have been my heaven. As much as I loved his body, it was his eyes that I could get lost in. It was his eyes I had a hard time turning away from. It's so unfair how he can just look at me, and he has so much power in his gaze that it's like he's unlocking my soul so he can peer inside, and I can do absolutely nothing to stop him.
"And you've been withdrawing from me lately too. Why is it that you always sleep facing the wall nowadays? Why don't you come wait for me at my locker sometimes? I always have to come to yours. Why are you always `too tired' to go out and do anything fun with me on the weekends? Why, since I talked to you at lunch, have you been pale as a ghost, walking around like you're in a daze?" He said all this while clasping my right hand in his. Our tan skin almost identically matched, his being maybe a little bit darker. I loved the warmth I felt coursing through my palm from his hand. I loved it too much.
"Jake," he continued. "I love you as much as I would a brother. Please, please just tell me what's bothering you!" He said that with as much forceful pleading as he could muster. Now, there was no turning back. I would tell him.
I opened my mouth. My gut wrenched suddenly, and my head decided to start hurting. I tried to speak, but nothing came out. Gabriel was watching me curiously. I closed my mouth and swallowed hard, feeling quite sick to my stomach by this point. I opened it again. "Gabriel.... I..... I.... I'm worried about my swimming." That's NOT what I wanted to say!!! I screamed in my head. But my mouth had betrayed me. "I'm worried that I'm plateauing-"
He cut me off. "Bullshit!" he almost shouted, dropping my hand and standing up. "You and I both know that's a load of crap. There's something else bugging you, and you aren't telling me!" I looked away from his eyes, lest I betray that he was right. Little did I know that looking away was betrayal enough.
"Look at me damnit!" I turned my head back to him. He was getting angry.
"Jake, I've known you for eleven years! Eleven!" he said, punctuating this by throwing up his hands disgustedly. "Eleven years of being best friends and you still keep secrets from me! We're closer than brothers, but now you're cutting me off! I can read all the signs! Why don't you just come out and say to me `Gabe, I'm not sure if I want to be best friends with you anymore.' Because that sure as hell is what it feels like right now!"
His words stung me to the core. This isn't how it was supposed to happen! I levered myself up off the bed and turned to him, tears now coursing their way down my cheeks. "You don't understand!" I sounded angrier than I would have liked, but by now I couldn't control it. "And you'll never understand! It's got nothing to do with you! This is about me!" I wept, trying hard just to get the words out. "I can't tell you BECAUSE I love you so much, and we ARE closer than brothers! You don't understand how hard this is for me!"
"Well, I understand very well that we're not actually as close as I once thought." His eyes bored into me, and the soft way he said those words broke my heart. I could feel it shattering as he spoke the next.
"Maybe, since you don't want us to stay close, we should just start spending more time apart. Maybe, we should start tonight."
My heart was broken, but I still had some rage left in me, and I took it out on him as I grabbed my backpack from the floor. "Why are you doing this to me!? To us?? I thought I knew you! I thought you had more compassion, more decency, than to just shoot me down as I'm trying to tell you the ONE thing I've kept from you in our entire lives!"
"You're the one who doesn't trust ME! You're the one who lets me worry about him all the time without doing anything to assure me that you're alright! How can you expect us to stay friends if you basically don't give a shit how something like this might make ME feel?"
"And I suppose you've told me absolutely EVERYTHING about you and your life, Gabriel?" I said sarcastically. And he hesitated.
"Yes, of course I have." But the conviction and self-righteousness was gone from his voice, and I knew. I shook my head slowly, in disbelief, my tears burning my cheeks like drops of liquid flame.
"I guess you're as poor a liar as I am, huh Gabriel?" He looked at the floor, his attention now seemingly focused on curling his toes in the carpet. "You stand there and you have the gall to tell me you can't trust me, and ask me how can I possibly keep a secret from YOU, my best friend in all the world. Now it seems you have a secret too. So maybe you're right." My voice was cold and hard, totally at odds with the salty moisture that now dripped from my chin. "Maybe we're not as close as we thought. Maybe we're not best friends at all."
His face was turned away in shadow, but as I walked out the door I thought I saw something wet shining on his tanned cheeks.
That was it for chapters 3 & 4. Wow, I was almost crying as I wrote that. Whew...
I wonder what will happen next? Will the two boys drift apart, never speak again? Will they realize their foolishness and get back together? Wait and see......
This is my first story on Nifty, so I definitely NEED INPUT! My email address is email@example.com....... PLEASE tell me what you think!!!
FYI: YES my name is really Jacob. YES I really do live in New Hampshire. YES the other characters in my story are based upon real people. YES I am really 16. Want to know more? Just ask me =D
Oh yes, and I retain all rights to this story, as it is MY story. Copyright © 2002.