Chapter Three: Friendship
By Jason Trower
At what moment did I become totally stupid? Somewhere along the way all this love stuff had sapped the brains right out of me and left my mind a blob of jelly. I lust after boys but get depressed cause I can't have them, then I meet and fall in love with one that won't even talk to me, I get really really depressed, then when he rolls up on a skateboard and does talk to me I stand and stare like some kind of freak. Me, Nick Shafer, frozen speechless.
Yet who could blame me for losing myself in those eyes, as blue as the sky, miles deep, wide and open, yet still concealing so much. I was so intent on staring at his eyes that it took me forever to notice that he wasn't wearing a shirt! I've tried my best to describe how sexy he is dressed, but there are no words to describe his unclothed body. Every inch of that smooth tanned skin looked as if it were creamy liquid that would ripple if I dared touch it. The curves of his neck meeting his shoulders crossed by his collarbones, his rounded pecs and taut stomach, not muscled but forming soft curves, all funneling into a V shape towards the waistband of his boxers and the cut off shorts hanging seductively off his narrow hips. If I'd been able to think or move I might have pulled him against me and sucked one of his nickel sized, cherry nipples into my mouth. But like I said, I'd become a drooling, brainless fool.
"You really don't look good. We'd better get you some water or somthin," he said looking at me a little closer.
"Oh, I'm fine, I was just…thinkin," I said, not admitting what I was thinking about.
"Ya sure?" he asked doubtfully.
"Yup, couldn't be better if you…if I tried." Did I just slip? No, couldn't be, I never do that. But I had slipped. He didn't seem to notice, or he chalked it up to heat exhaustion. I felt like getting down on my knees and bashing my head into the pavement for being such an idiot but that might really have scared him off.
"OK," he shrugged, pushing off with his right foot, his skateboard rolling along matching my slow walk. He could have easily said `bye' and been off on his way but he stayed with me, silent, studying the sidewalk moving beneath his board. I couldn't tell if he was being shy again or if he was apprehensive about something. He didn't seem unhappy or uncomfortable, just quiet.
I walked along looking - no, staring - at him until I realized that I was the one making the awkward silence awkward. Most people can't get me to shut up, my parents would probably love to know how Skyler managed to do it. Think of something to break the ice, stupid!
"So…do you live this direction?" All I needed to do now was talk about the weather and I could complete my image as a total lifeless loser.
"Yeah, few blocks down," he said never moving his eyes from the concrete below.
"Hey, that's not far from me, I live on Navajo," I said.
"Oh, I dunno many of the streets around here yet."
"I've never seen you come home this way before." Hey Einstein, you were supposed to offer to show him around.
"Well, usually I stop at my dad's office after school and ride home with him, but he had a big meeting today," he explained in probably the longest sentence he'd ever said to me.
"What's your dad do?"
"He's an architect with a big company. That's why we moved here." A flash of dazzling blue as he glanced up at me, a gentle push to keep his board moving, then back to watching the sidewalk.
"Does your mom work?" I asked, hoping to get as much information out of him as I could while he was in a rare talking mood. I sensed that I'd made a mistake, however, as he drew a deep breath at the question and swallowed a small lump in his throat.
"No…she's…she…died a few years ago," he said, his smooth voice going quiet and beginning to quiver ever so slightly.
"Oh man…I'm sorry, dude," I said hanging my head in shame. I was really making a bad impression, yet I wasn't so worried about my own image anymore. I was filled with sorrow. Just the idea that this beautiful boy was in pain hurt me. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose somebody so close to you, especially your mother. I'd never known anybody who died, except for my grandfather, but I was too young to understand much of that at the time. I thought about my own parents and what I'd do if something happened to one of them. If he hadn't been on that skateboard I would have put my arm around him or done something to give him what little comfort I could. And yet there was no sexual intent in the thought of me hugging this beyond cute, shirtless boy. I knew right then, without any doubt, that I cared about Skyler as far more then an object for physical pleasure.
"S'ok," he said in reply to my apology, "you didn't know. Thanks for walkin home with me though."
I looked around to find that I was nowhere near my own house. Apparently I had just followed Skyler as we talked.
"You live here?" I asked, nodding my head at the impressive house in front of us. Skyler's dad must have been a pretty good architect to buy a house like this. It had to be at least four bedrooms, not to mention the beautifully manicured lawn and landscaping, two car garage or the big arched window above the oak door. But I was more captivated by the fact that I was standing in front of his house, talking with him!
"Ya know, it is pretty hot, I could use that drink of water. You mind?" I asked with anticipation.
"Naw, come on in," he said in that delicious accent before kicking up his skateboard and leading me to the front door.
As I followed him Skyler reached deep into the front pocket of his tight cut offs, causing them to sag just enough for me to see a tiny bit more of his boxers underneath. I couldn't quite figure it out though, he was so shy and seemed genuinely afraid of taking a shower at school, and yet he didn't seem the least bit self conscious of his body. Shirtless, wearing tight shorts, even when he stripped to his underwear in the locker room he appeared perfectly comfortable. Not that he had anything to be self conscious about, the kid was an Adonis from down under, but most fourteen year olds are worried about how they look. Or so I've heard. Still Skyler wasn't one for a lot of eye contact, in fact he barely looked in my direction as he retrieved his key, opened the door and motioned for me to accompany him inside. The house was just as magnificent inside as it was outside with large bright green house plants all around, a big carpeted staircase with a landing and a spotless marble floor.
"Ya just want water?" he asked me after depositing his skateboard and back pack on the floor near the stairs.
"What else ya got?" I asked with a shrug.
"Iced tea, lemonade, kangaroo juice…"
"Just a joke, mate," he said with a laugh. Now if gold is precious because it is so rare then Skyler's smile was definitely golden. But his laugh…let's just say that I'd expected to find a Babe Ruth rookie card on the sidewalk before I ever heard that. And even if I had found the card, I'd trade it for his laugh in a heartbeat. It was like music, no, like an angel laughing. It was a beautiful sound unlike anything my heart had ever heard before. Like an irresistible command to wrap my arms around that slender waist and snuggle him close to me. I was mesmerized and at the same time forced to laugh myself, I was just filled with some kind of joy knowing that he was happy, even over a silly joke. In contrast I became horribly aware of my own giggling. Compared to him I must have sounded like a dweeb. Geez, how embarrassing! Am I blushing?
"So…it's just you and yer dad in this big place?" I asked, hoping I wasn't turning bright red.
"Yup, except for Katrina. She's the house keeper, but she only comes a few days a week. Ya want the bottled stuff?"
"Bottled what?" I asked. I'd been staring at those loose brown curls hanging slightly down the back of his neck and the way the muscles of his bare shoulders moved under his smooth teen skin and had once again forgotten all about getting a drink. My throat was cracking from dryness but my eyes were drinking in all they could.
"Yeah sure," I answered with a big dopey grin.
Skyler rummaged through the refrigerator for a moment and finally found a bottle of water and a big bottle of iced tea for himself. I took the opportunity to stare at his chest a little as he handed me the plastic bottle and about fell over when I saw his nipples had hardened from the cold air. I was already a fraction of an inch from jumping his bones right there in the kitchen and this wasn't helping. I regained my senses enough to stumble over to the stools at the counter where we sat down and returned to silence. We seemed to look around the kitchen, out the French doors, at the counter top, anywhere but at each other. I felt very awkward and wondered to myself if that was how Skyler felt when he was so quiet at school. I worked up the nerve to glance at his face, maybe find some sign of his thoughts in his eyes, but he was looking out at the back yard. I quickly lowered my eyes to the counter once again.
"Are those lizards on your bottle," I asked.
"Huh? Oh, yeah I guess they are."
It was at that instant that I realized that I was hard as a rock. How long had that been going on down there? Since we walked home together? Was it obvious? Had he noticed? Am I sweating? All my life I couldn't have cared less what others thought of me but now my whole existence seemed to be based on Skyler's opinion of me. I squirmed in my seat a little and glanced back at his iced tea bottle. His long slender fingers were wrapped around it, his thumb brushing up and down the side, smearing the cold condensation around. I imagined his hand around my aching member, his thumb smearing pre-cum around my circumcised head. Dude, think about something else, anything else. Divide the cylinder down the middle, c'mon you're gonna embarrass yourself here. My breathing was already becoming erratic and I couldn't sit still. Shit! Control yourself! I tried to swallow the hard lump in my throat but I was so dry it hurt. I lifted my bottle of water to my lips and began drinking.
"I wanna hold your lizard," Skyler said looking up at me with those impossibly blue eyes.
The lump caught in my throat as water spewed out both my mouth and nose all over the counter, the floor, myself and even some on Skyler. He jumped back startled and accidentally dumped his own drink into his lap. I was coughing and gagging from all the water trying to go down my lungs and out my nose, gasping for air, unsure if I was gonna pass out from lack of oxygen or from the realization of what he had just said to me. I ran to the sink and spit a few times, trying to clear the airways and calm down long enough to figure out what was going on.
"You all right?" he asked in a near panic.
"I *cough* think I'll *cough*," I was trying to tell him I'd be OK but finally just nodded.
"Oh geez, I thought I was gonna have to call the rescue squad. Thought you were having a bloody seizure or somthin."
For a few seconds I'd thought so too!
"What did you say?" I asked.
"That I thought I was gonna have to call…"
"No, before, about my lizard?!?!"
Skyler looked confused for a minute, like he couldn't understand why I was asking.
"I was just reading under the cap of my iced tea," he said with absolute innocence as he held up the bottle cap. It was the final blow to my self confidence, I was an idiot, a loser, a total spaz. I had just made a ridiculous mess out of Skyler's kitchen, spat water on him, not to mention nearly drowned myself.
"Oh shit, dude. I'm so sorry about this. I'll clean it up," I started to blubber.
"No that's OK, really, as long as you're not dyin or anything, no worries," he said despite his obvious bewilderment at the whole situation.
"Yeah, I'll live," I assured him.
"Good. I'll help ya clean it up but I'm a little wet myself, let me get changed," he said.
I felt even worse once I saw that the front of his shorts were soaked but my jaw must have hit the floor when he began kicking off his shoes and unbuttoning his jeans. It was all far too much for me.
"I'm sorry, I'm just not feelin well, I'm…I gotta go," I blurted out as I rushed for the door. "I'm really sorry dude, I'll see ya in school tomorrow, I just don't wanna make any more of a mess."
I'd said it to imply that I might be ill and throw up or something, and I hoped that's how he took it. Truthfully the only mess I was in danger of making at that moment was in my pants.
The walk home felt like a thousand mile hike as I replayed every millisecond of my short stay at Skyler's house. Walking at all was complicated because I was still rock hard. Ever tried to carry a Louisville Slugger around in your pants? OK so I'm not that big, but it wasn't comfortable at all. On top of that I was beating the snot out of myself mentally. I couldn't believe what I'd done back there, acting like the freak of the century and then I left when Skyler started undressing! It was like something out of an erotic story on the Internet, the hot boy starts to open up, gets something spilled on him and starts to strip. The next step was logical - sex! And what did I do? I got scared and ran! It took this long just to get him talking to me and now I doubted if he'd ever talk to me again. I just wasn't myself anymore. The always cool, self-assured Nick Shafer that never did anything unbecoming was gone, and as I walked up my own driveway I came to a conclusion: love is like boot camp, it strips you down to nothing so you can rebuild yourself the right way.
"Hey kiddo, where were you?" my mom asked cheerfully as I moped in through the back door.
"I was over a friend…somebody's place," I said, unsure if I could honestly call Skyler and I `friends'.
"What'd you do?"
I noticed her looking at me strangely and I knew why. It was probably the first time I'd ever come home from anyplace and said I'd done nothing. Usually I could go on for half the night talking about everything I'd done all day, stopping just long enough to stuff my dinner in my mouth, and then continue. This wasn't a usual day, this was different. She put down the knife she had been cutting potatoes with and came over to where I'd sat at the table.
"Something wrong?" she asked softly.
"Yeah, I guess so," I answered.
"You and this friend have a fight?"
"No, nothing like that, I…just can't talk about it right now."
"Well, sometimes you need to think about things yourself, and sometimes you need to talk them over with somebody. You just let me know when you're ready," she said rubbing my shoulder.
"I will," I said with a slight smile as I got up from the table and headed for my bedroom.
A week ago I had done my best to avoid my mom as I left for school because I was afraid she'd see I was in love, but now I wanted to talk to her. I thought about how she always made me feel better when I was growing up and something was troubling me. I thought about Skyler and the fact that he didn't have his mom to talk to anymore. I was lucky to have mine to talk with, and I wanted to, but I wasn't sure I was ready.
The rest of the night went on like normal, albeit quieter then normal. I thought a lot, about a lot. All evening, in bed as I dozed off, when I woke up in the morning, as I walked to school, but I was still confused.
Have you ever seen one of the thousand different movies where some kid gets switched around with their parents and has to go to work in their parents body while the mom or dad goes to school as a little kid? I could almost swear that's what had happened to me and Skyler. Now I was the one sitting at my desk staring at my hands, tense and nervous, afraid of what might happen, while Skyler walked into the room smiling at me.
"Still breathing?" he asked me as he slid into his seat. Every move so graceful.
"Yeah, I'm OK," I said. And that's about all I said the whole class. It took all my courage to steal glances at him throughout the period, wondering what he thought of me, if the night before had changed anything. At the end of class Skyler stayed behind to get help on a geometry problem but I didn't wait for him, I had to get my head together before I screwed up my chances with him any further.
Luke seemed to be absent that day. He didn't walk to PE with me and he was nowhere to be found in the locker room. I was kind of disappointed, he had all the makings of becoming a good friend, we really had a lot in common and he was fun, but his words in lunch the day before were still haunting me. I didn't know how to feel about it. I sure didn't want to dump him as a friend, but how close of a friend could he really become if he felt that way about somebody like Sean, somebody who is gay, somebody…like me.
I was just closing up my locker after changing into my gym clothes when Skyler came sprinting in with a pass from Geometry. The coach was already yelling for everyone to get out to the track to run laps but I held back a little as Skyler kicked off his shoes and twirled the knob on his combination lock.
"Hey," I started.
"Hi," he answered as he hurried to change his clothes.
"I'm real sorry about last night, dude. Pretty stupid of me to make a mess of your kitchen like that."
"It's no problem, just some water and stuff, I just wiped it up."
"I guess I was a little out of it, maybe it was the heat after all."
Skyler just smiled that shy grin and almost blushed. How does he do that? God it's so cute.
"You seemed just fine to me, it was kinda funny," he said.
Now I was the one blushing and giving him a shy grin.
"Let's go Shafer!" the coach yelled.
I jogged out to the track leaving Skyler to get dressed and thinking about what he'd just said. "You seemed just fine to me." He thought it was funny. He still liked me! Maybe more then he did before! Adrenaline rushed into my veins and my heart started thumping. I always felt that way when I ran but this time it was the feelings that were pushing my body instead of vice versa. I was overflowing with energy and excitement and I couldn't stop myself. As soon as the coach clicked his stop watch and yelled "go" I was gone like a bullet from a gun. My legs carried me around the track with barely an effort and I finished the mile well ahead of everyone else. Between running and cooling down I didn't get a chance to talk to Skyler during class but I knew I could catch him in the locker room. I had regained some of my confidence and now I was sure of myself for the right reasons, because I wanted to be a good friend to him, not because I wanted to show off or be cool.
I had already pulled my shirt off and was wiping my sweaty chest as I walked back inside the building and headed for my locker and the boy I wanted to talk to, but the coach seemed to be eyeing me as I walked by.
"Shafer, step into my office for a minute," he said calmly, looking directly into my eyes. Am I in trouble for something? I wondered as I followed him into the small office at the end of the main locker room. I stood waiting, shirtless and sweaty, as he closed the door behind him, walked to his desk and leaned back in his swivel chair.
"I noticed the way you were running out there today," he began, raising his arms and leaning his head back into his hands. The guy had huge biceps and way too much chest hair sticking out the collar of his shirt. Pretty gross, but I bet he could bench press three hundred pounds!
"Thanks, I've always been a pretty good runner," I said. He sat quietly for a second as though contemplating something.
"Have you ever thought about joining the track team? You'd be an excellent choice, a real asset to the team," he said, sounding every bit like a sports coach trying to recruit an athlete. But the idea did intrigue me. I really like running track, I'm good at it, could be fun.
"Yeah, I think I could give it a try," I said with a smile.
"Great! Stop in tomorrow after school and we'll go through the formal sign up. Practice starts next week," he said standing up from his desk and walking towards me. He patted me on my bare shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze as he opened the door and directed me out.
The day was turning out to be quite a contrast to my misery the night before. I'd just agreed to join the track team, for the first time in weeks I didn't feel all mixed up inside, and best of all I was starting a friendship with Skyler! Ah, friendship, what a concept. Maybe I can even be happy as his friend and not his lover. I turned the corner of the lockers just as Skyler looked up at me, his beautiful blue eyes looking right into mine, and I knew instantly that I needed to be more then his friend. He wasn't just looking at me, he was looking into me for the first time, reading my mood and thoughts through my eyes. I felt an electric charge surge through my body that made the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up and tingle. I was afraid my knees were going to buckle and I'd hit the floor like a rock. I smiled but quickly turned away to avoid his eye contact, fearful that he'd see too deeply. I didn't want anything to ruin my good mood, I was floating. Could it get any better?
"Nick?" he said after a pause, his voice a bit apprehensive. "I'll have to ask my dad, but…would you wanna sleep over my house this weekend."
It just got better!
Well life is getting better for Nick,
is the story getting better? Hoping for some action soon? It'll happen
eventually. In the meantime you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and surf my website at lizard_tales.tripod.com
to read about me and my other stories. Hope to hear from ya, and I'll do
my best to get chapter 4 out soon. Laters =)