Chapter 11: Hank
I walked through the house looking for Tim and I couldn't find him anywhere. That's really not like Tim. He had been pretty much stuck to my side all night. As I stepped outside, I saw Jeff having a smoke.
"Have you seen Tim anywhere?" I asked him.
"Nope," he said as he exhaled.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"Well, no. I guess I'm just worrying over nothing."
I walked through the house and out to the street. I walked over to the truck to see if he was there. Jeff came out the front door.
"I didn't see him inside," Jeff said.
I was starting to really feel uneasy. I walked around to the other side of the house when I heard Sam shouting out my name.
I yelled back at Jeff, "Jeff, back here!"
We ran towards Sam's voice. I saw him holding onto Tim and trying to get him to stand upright. Tim lifted his head and blinked rapidly a few times. His eyes focused onto mine and I saw the fear in his eyes. I grabbed onto him and he wrapped his hands around my waist and started bawling.
"What happened?" Jeff asked Sam.
"I don't know. I found him back by the tool shed," Sam answered.
By now a few people had gathered around us and there was a bigger crowd growing in the back yard.
"Did anyone see anything?" Jeff asked.
When Tim's crying slowed, I held him away from me at arm's length by his shoulders and looked at him. My own eyes were filled with tears and I wiped away Tim's tears with my hands.
"What happened, Timmy?" I asked quietly.
Tim shook his head. I pulled him closer to me and he winced and groaned in pain. I ran my hands along his back and his stomach and he flinched and a tear fell from his eye.
"Tim, look at me. Did someone hit you?" I asked.
Tim nodded and wiped his nose.
"Tim, tell us what happened," Jeff pressed.
"What the hell is this?" I asked looking at his face.
I wiped his cheek and chin and looked at it. When I realized it was thick green snot, I was enraged. I looked at Jeff and I flicked my hand and wiped it off on my costume.
"Who did this, Tim? I need you to tell me right now," I said firmly.
I watched him look around the crowd in a panic. He was clearly terrified of someone. His eyes settled on someone and he stumbled backwards into me. I looked in the direction of his eyes and saw Andy Baker standing back behind the crowd.
"I wanna go home, Hank. Please? Can we go, please," Tim begged in a whisper. He grabbed onto me and nearly started crying again.
"You motherfucker! I'm gonna fucking kill you!" Jeff shouted as he took off towards Baker. Baker turned and ran.
"Stay here," I told Tim.
"No!" he cried as I took off after Jeff along with half the crowd.
I got to the front yard to find Jeff on top of Baker and he was smashing his fist into his face. Jessie and Mitch pulled Jeff off Andy.
"Let me go!" Jeff shouted. "You fucking bastard! I'll kill you!" he shouted as he kicked at Andy.
Carrie helped Andy to his feet. "He didn't touch your brother!" Carrie yelled at Jeff.
"You're a liar!" Tim yelled as he stepped up next to me. "You were there, Carrie. I heard you. You told Andy to hit me while someone else was holding me and covering my mouth."
"You fucking hateful bitch. What the hell is wrong with you?" I spat at Carrie. Sam and Bruce moved to my sides and grabbed my arms and held me back.
"That's not true, is it Carrie?" Heather asked.
"It's not true. He's lying," she said. "Are you going to believe me or that faggot? That little cocksucker stole my boyfriend and turned him gay! Hank is mine!"
Andy looked at Carrie in surprise and stepped back from her.
"Watch your mouth, you fucking cunt!" Jeff yelled.
"I didn't steal anyone!" Tim shouted back at Carrie. "You were already broken up. And you were cheating on him for weeks, you whore! If anyone turned him gay, it's you!"
"Tim!" I yelled. "Enough! All of you, shut the fuck up!"
"Okay, everyone," Jessie said. "Let's go back inside. This is supposed to be a party."
People started slowly going back into the house.
Jessie stopped and looked at Carrie and Andy. "You two, get the fuck off my property," Jessie said. "You're not welcome here anymore."
Carrie grabbed Andy's hand and he pushed her away. "Get the fuck off me, bitch. We're through."
Andy stomped off and got in his car and left Carrie in the dust.
"Come here, Tim," I whispered.
I took Tim in my arms. "I'm sorry for yelling at you, baby. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. I should have been there to protect you. I love you so much. I'm so sorry."
"I love you, Hank. It wasn't your fault. I'm okay."
Tim nuzzled into my chest. He took a deep breath and he seemed to be calming down.
"I'm gonna talk to her," I heard Heather say to Jeff.
"I can't deal with her, Heather," Jeff said. "You know I love you, but if you... I just can't... Not after what she did to Tim."
Heather sighed. "I know, baby. I need to talk to her. I need to know why. I know how wrong she is. I just... You know I choose you, Jeff. I love you."
Heather hugged Jeff and then went to talk to Carrie, who was sitting on the curb.
Jeff walked up to us and put his hand on Tim's shoulder. "Tim?"
I let go of Tim and Jeff wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tight. "I love you, little brother."
"I love you, Jeff."
The three of us returned to the house and joined the party. A bunch of people came up and asked Tim if he was okay. Jessie even said he was sorry that Tim got hurt at his party. I was pleasantly surprised by the support my friends and teammates gave Tim.
After all of the buzz wore down, I took Tim down to the basement. The lights were set low and slow music was playing. There were a few couples dancing and making out.
"Dance with me, Timmy," I said.
He smiled and I took him in my arms and we swayed around in circles to the music. I bent down and kissed him. He looked around nervously. When he saw no one cared, he let me kiss him again and then we were making out pretty heavy as we slow danced. I pressed my hips into him so that he could feel my hard-on. I wanted him to know the effect he had on me.
After we danced for a few songs, I needed a smoke and we headed out to the back yard so I could get my fix. Jeff was already outside having a smoke and we joined him. As I smoked my cigarette, Tim let me hold his hand.
"This is nice, huh?" I asked him.
"What? Watching you smoke?"
"No, smart ass. Holding hands, being in public together."
"Yeah, it's great. It's better than I ever could have imagined. I still sometimes can't believe I'm with you."
"You guys are sickening," Jeff said and rolled his eyes. "We gotta get going soon if we're gonna be home by one."
Heather walked up to Jeff and hugged and kissed him.
We made our rounds and said goodbye to everyone and then I drove Tim home. I parked in front of his house and we made out in the truck a little bit. I took Tim's hand and put it on my dick. As we kissed and necked, he gently squeezed and stroked me over my pants. When the porch light came on, I looked up and nodded towards his house. Tim turned around and looked and we both laughed.
"You better get inside," I said. "Your dad is probably wondering what you're doing out here."
"I wish we had a little more time," he said as he gave my dick one last squeeze.
We said goodbye and Tim disappeared into the house.
Getting my ass kicked at the Halloween party was terrifying, but it turned into something positive. After the party, pretty much the whole school knew that Hank and I were boyfriends. But on the plus side, almost all of the guys on the football team supported Hank and me. The comments and whispers behind my back seemed to stop. Hank and I also came and left school together. We didn't hold hands or kiss at school, but we weren't afraid to be affectionate with each other.
Hank's sister Gina also started talking to me regularly as did some of the other more popular kids. I still hung out with my friends, but being the boyfriend of one of the popular football jocks seemed to knock my social standing up a few notches, despite being gay.
As Thanksgiving approached, Hank wanted me to spend some of the day at his house. He planned to officially come out to his parents and wanted me there. The thought made me sick to my stomach, but I reluctantly agreed. The plan was that we'd spend the afternoon at our own houses and that evening, I'd go to Hank's for their dinner of leftovers.
After the November home game on the Friday before Thanksgiving, I was waiting for Hank in the parking lot outside of the locker room door. He was giving me a ride home as usual. Mitch Scott the quarterback even stopped and made small talk with me for a few seconds on his way out. As I stood there waiting, I saw a man and woman approaching. The man shook Mitch's hand and they talked briefly.
The couple was in their late forties or early fifties and very Italian looking. Even though I had never met them, I knew immediately that they were Hank's parents. Mrs. Ballatori was a nicely shaped woman with long black hair, very beautiful and very curvy. Mr. Ballatori was a tank, tall and built. He had black hair and blue eyes just like Hank. He had heavy beard growth like he hadn't shaved in a couple of days, but knowing how Hank's beard was, it was probably more like one day's growth. His hair and beard were peppered with gray hairs. For a guy his age, he was a hot stud and I couldn't help but think that when Hank was his age that he'd be just as hot.
I looked down and tinkered with the plume on my cap, suddenly feeling like a complete nerd in my marching band uniform.
I heard Jeff's voice approaching and moved a couple steps from the door as it opened and Jeff and Hank exited.
"Hey, Tim," Jeff said.
I motioned towards the couple before Hank could put his arm around my shoulders as he usually did. He glanced over.
"Ma, Dad. What are you doing here?"
"We want to take you out to dinner to celebrate the great game you played tonight," Mrs. Ballatori said. "You made us so proud."
"Jeff, it's good to see you," Mr. Ballatori said as he shook Jeff's hand. "Great game today."
"Ma, Dad, this is Tim Matthews," Hank said as he put his hand on the small of my back and guided me forward so I was standing next to him.
"He's my little brother," Jeff offered.
"Nice to meet you, Tim," Mrs. Ballatori said.
"Nice to meet you, too, ma'am," I said with a smile.
Mr. Ballatori shook my hand hard and I smiled back and said, "Nice to meet you, too, sir."
"Well, aren't you a polite young man?" Mrs. Ballatori said with a smile.
I blushed a bright shade of red.
"Ma, don't embarrass him," Hank said. "Tim and I have become good friends the past couple months, right Tim?"
"Your friends are welcome to join us for dinner, son," Mr. Ballatori said.
"Cool," Hank said with a grin.
"I'm sorry, but I have other plans with Heather and her family," Jeff said with a frown.
I shot Jeff a dirty look and the corner of his mouth turned up slightly as he suppressed a grin.
"Tim?" Mrs. Ballatori asked with an arched eyebrow.
"Oh, um, well, I'm not really dressed to go out to dinner."
"I can take you home real quick and you can change and then we'll head over to my house," Hank offered.
The thought of going out with Hank's parents made my stomach quiver. I couldn't figure a quick way to get out of going and the look on Hank's face told me he really wanted me to go.
"Um, well, okay then."
"Great!" Hank said with a grin.
Hank was so excited, I couldn't help but smile.
I was pleasantly surprised when Ma and Dad showed up to take me out to dinner, especially when they invited Tim and Jeff. Jeff graciously bowed out and I thought it was a good chance for them to get to know my Timmy. I could tell that he was nervous as hell and it made me smile. Sometimes he's just so adorable.
After taking Tim home and getting him changed and talking him down from the ledge with a kiss, we headed over to my house. Since Tim had never been over to my house, I gave him a quick tour which ended in my bedroom. Tim looked around the room. I was a little bit embarrassed because my room was such a mess. I picked up a pile of my dirty workout clothes and shoved them into the closet. He picked up a pair of my dirty boxers that I had used for a come rag and started to giggle.
"You're bad," he giggled and held them out to me.
I grabbed them and tossed them into the basket.
"Yeah, well, someone had to take care of this," I said as I cupped my dick and squeezed it. "Since you left me hanging after the party."
Tim blushed and giggled nervously. "It didn't feel like it was hanging."
I laughed. "You little perv."
He looked around the room.
"Why are there two beds in here?" he asked.
"I used to share this room with my brother, Vince. My bed is the unmade one," I said with a grin.
I sat down on the bed and pulled Tim down next to me. I gave him a passionate kiss and nipped at his bottom lip. He was practically panting as he sat there with eyes closed.
"Mmm," I moaned. "I want to make love to you right here on my bed."
"Hank," he blushed and pushed my arm. I chuckled and stood and pulled him up to his feet.
"Come on. Let's go."
Dad took the four of us to Outback Steakhouse, nothing fancy, but it was good. I love a good steak, plus I got to steal what Tim couldn't eat. Ma and Dad seemed to get along with Tim. Especially Ma; she really seemed to take a liking to Tim. I guess it was her maternal instinct.
After dinner, we headed home and Ma offered to make us cappuccinos. We sat in the living room and sipped our drinks.
I cleared my throat. "Ma? Dad? I need to tell you something."
Tim choked on his coffee and set his cup on the saucer on the table. He looked at me and shook his head so only I saw it.
"I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to spit it out."
I took Tim's hand in mine and took a deep breath and just blurted it out. "Tim Matthews isn't just my best friend's brother. He's... he's my boyfriend. I'm gay."
Dad set his cup on the table and stood up and walked out of the room.
"Gio," Ma called after him.
"Shit," I whispered.
Tim looked upset and I could see he was about to cry. I put my arm around Tim's shoulders and squeezed.
"Ma, say something. Please," I pleaded.
"Hank, you know we love you. This is just a shock. I've suspected for some time that you might be... gay. Your father... He just needs some time to adjust. Please be patient with him."
"Ma, you know I can't help what I am or how I feel. I'm in love with Timmy and he loves me. I just can't deny our relationship. It's not fair."
Ma smiled and stood up. I stood and she hugged me and kissed my cheek. A couple of tears escaped my eyes and Ma held my face in her hands and brushed them away with her hands.
"I love you, Hank."
"I love you, Mom," I sniffled.
Ma held her hand out to Tim and he hesitantly stood, then took her hand and she hugged him and patted his back.
Ma smiled and said, "Well, for what it's worth, Timothy, you're much nicer than Hank's previous girlfriend. What an awful girl."
"Thank you," Tim said quietly.
"Please don't let Gio upset you," Ma told him.
Tim smiled. I stood behind Tim and put my hands on his shoulders. I leaned down and kissed his cheek.
"Enrico!" Dad boomed from the other room.
"Go see your father," Ma said and pushed me towards the door.
Tim looked at me with concern. Ma looked at Tim and took his hand. "Sit, Tim. Hank will be fine."
I smiled at Tim as he sat down with Ma. I took a deep breath and walked to my Dad's den.
"Close the door," he said.
I shut the door behind me and we sat in the club chairs. Dad closed his eyes and sat quietly for what seemed like an eternity. All I could think about was having a smoke. I tapped my foot nervously.
"Why, Hank?" he finally said.
"Dad? What do you mean? Why am I gay?"
Dad opened his eyes and stared at me. "I'm just trying to understand."
"Dad... I don't know why. I just am."
"But, all the girls... Carrie... I know you were having sex with her."
"Yeah, but... I don't know. It just felt wrong. I had to think about guys..."
"And this boy... you are having sex with him?"
"Jeez, Dad. He's not a 'boy'. He's only two years younger than me. A year and a half, actually. And, no, we haven't gone all the way. But we are in love with each other, Dad."
We sat in silence for a few moments.
"Dad... I need to know you're okay with this... with me."
My eyes filled with tears and I blinked them back and coughed.
"Son... I just... I had dreams for you... Settling down with a beautiful woman, building a home together, giving me grandchildren."
"Dad, I want those things, too. It's just... I want them with a man. I think I want them with Tim."
"This is going to take some getting used to, so be patient with me. I do love you, Hank. I want you to be happy."
"I am happy, Dad. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. I feel like I can finally be myself, you know. Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Even the guys on the team are accepting of me... of Tim and me."
Dad stood up and I stood with him. He gave me a hug and I melted into his chest and before I knew it, I was sobbing.
"I love you, Dad," I blubbered. "Thank you, thank you."
"I love you, too, Enrico."
Dad patted my back and moved away and cleared his throat. I knew he was uncomfortable with the emotional display, but I couldn't help myself.
"Now, why don't you bring your boy in here so I can talk to him."
I walked to the living room and got Tim and walked him to the den. Tim was trembling.
"It'll be okay, Timmy. He just wants to talk to you."
"I'm... I'm scared... Your dad is scary."
I chuckled and gave Tim a quick kiss. I escorted him into the den and closed the door behind us.
Dad smiled at Tim. "Come. Sit down, Tim."
Dad pulled his desk chair over and Tim and I sat down in the club chairs.
"So, Tim. Hank says he's in love with you."
"Y-y-yes, sir," Tim said, his voice quivering.
"Relax, son. I'm not going to bite you," Dad said with a chuckle.
Tim smiled nervously.
"Do you love my son?" Dad asked.
"Yes, sir. I love Hank more than anything in the world."
I looked at Tim and he looked into my eyes and smiled. His hazel eyes pooled with tears and they glistened in the light. I could see it in his eyes: he really loved me. I smiled back at him and a tear fell down his cheek. I cupped his face with my hand and wiped the tear away with my thumb. He closed his eyes and leaned into my hand and sighed.
"I do love you, Hank," he whispered.
"I know. I love you, too, Timmy," I whispered back.
Dad cleared his throat and I pulled my hand away from Tim and he sat up straight and cupped his hands in his lap.
"I've seen enough," Dad said.
Dad stood and pulled Tim up and hugged him. Tim was momentarily stunned, but then hugged Dad back, wrapping his arms tight around him.
"Okay, okay, son," Dad chuckled and gently pushed Tim away.
"Sorry, Mr. Ballatori," Tim said as his face turned red.
"You're okay, Tim."
Dad patted Tim's cheek and Tim gave him a big grin.
"You two get out of here."
"Thanks, Dad," I said.
Dad went and joined Ma in the living room and Tim and I went to my bedroom. I showed him some of my things and he took an interest in my ratty old teddy bear that sat on the shelf that held all of my football trophies.
"Aww, it's so cute," he said.
"I've had him since I was a baby. I used to carry him around with me everywhere."
"That is so cute. I never would have thought you'd have a teddy bear."
I shrugged. Tim hugged him and gave him a kiss on the nose and giggled.
"Take him home with you," I said.
"What? No, he's your teddy. I couldn't take him."
"I want you to take him. When you look at him, you'll be reminded of me."
"Hank, it's too sentimental and personal to just give away."
"I'm not giving him away. I'm just letting you borrow him."
I pulled Tim onto my bed and I kissed him. We made out for a little while. When I glanced up at the clock, it was getting late.
"I need to get you home," I said.
"Yeah, I guess so."
I pulled him up and handed him my Teddy. He said goodbye and thanked my parents again for dinner. They both said they were glad to have met him. Tim waved and we were out the door. Tim only lived a couple streets over from me, so we drove the quick ride to his house.
I kissed him goodnight in the truck and he headed inside carrying my Teddy. I waved to him and then drove back home.
That night when I went to bed, I felt really good. Things were going so great. Mom and Dad knew that I was gay and they acceptedme. They still loved me. They knew about Tim and were accepting of him as well. I was relaxed and stress-free.
I sent Tim a text message that said 'I love you' and he replied the same back. I fell asleep with a big grin on my face.