Chapter 27: Tim


When I got back to school for the fall semester of my senior year, I concentrated on doing my best in my classes since it was going to be my last. I still made it to the gym three times a week, but the rest of the time it seemed like I was studying.

I did get together with Matt a couple of times, and even hung out at one of his frat parties. When Matt re-introduced me to Clayton, I was not really surprised to see what he had become.

"You remember, Clay, don't you?" Matt asked, grabbing Clayton's arm and pulling him to us.

I looked at Clayton and did a double-take. Clay had gained at least 50 pounds, mostly in his beer belly. It was only 10:00 and he was already drunk. His eyes were glassed over and bloodshot.

Clay put his arm around my shoulders and 'whispered' loudly in my ear, "I remember you. You give good head."

Matt choked on his beer and sprayed it all over the place.

"Jesus, Clay," I said with an annoyed tone. "Where'd you learn to whisper? In a helicopter?"

"Sorry," he slurred. "So... You wanna go up to my room?"

"Um, maybe later, Clay."

"Yeah, Tim. Later. That's good. I'm gonna get a refill."

Clay smiled and nodded as he shook his empty cup, then wandered off to get more beer.

Matt laughed. "Did you guys really... what he said?"

"Yeah. At that party you dragged me to freshman year. The asshole didn't even remember my name afterward and then to top it off, asked for my number and never called me."

Matt laughed and shook his head. "For all his problems, Clayton's a good guy."

"I suppose."

"Are you gonna hook up with him later?"

"I'm not that desperate, Matt!" I laughed and he laughed with me.

"I'm just saying, he's a good guy. Maybe get to know him. I think you could calm him down."

I thought about it for a second, then I shook my head. I wasn't going to go there again.

"Have you talked to Hank Ballatori lately?" Matt asked.

"I saw him at Christmas. I had dinner with him and Jeff. He's going to GRCC and getting a law enforcement degree."

"Did you guys, you know, hook up?"

"Uh, no."

"Too bad. You were crazy about him."

I frowned. "Why are you so concerned about my love life?"

Matt shrugged. "You're my friend. I just want you to be happy, Tim. Sometimes I don't think you're happy."

I sighed. "I guess I can't be mad at you about that."

"You still like him, don't you?"

"What's not to like? And you should see him now... Big, hot Marine muscle bear."

"Yeah, that doesn't really do anything for me, Tim."

I laughed. "Yeah, I guess it wouldn't. It doesn't matter though. He's not interested in me anymore."

I talked with Matt a while longer. I managed to avoid Clay's clumsy advances and headed back to my apartment alone.


Before I knew it, it was December and finals week was here. When I wasn't studying, I was packing. I didn't have a lot of stuff, but it was more than could fit in the back of my jeep. The plan was that Jeff was coming down with his pickup truck and would help me move back home.

I finished my very last final ever Friday morning. I went to the campus bookstore and bought a couple t-shirts and some miscellaneous stuff for gifts for Mom, Dad and Jeff, and then headed back home to my apartment.

I had everything boxed up and ready to go, but I wanted to do some last minute cleaning. I didn't want the next tenant to think I was a pig.

I was in the kitchen scrubbing the stove when I heard a knock on the door. I looked up at the clock and it was just after 8:00. I opened the door to see Jeff standing outside in a flannel shirt rubbing his arms and shivering. I let him in and closed the door behind him.

"Where's your coat?" I asked.

"In the truck."

I shook my head and laughed. "There's something wrong with you."

Jeff looked around at the room full of boxes. "Holy fucking shit. You're actually ready to go. I figured I'd be spending the night having to help your sorry ass pack."

I shrugged.

Jeff smiled. "You're really ready to go home, aren't you, bud?"

I nodded. I didn't speak because I thought I might start crying.

"We all miss you, too, little brother."

He ruffled my hair and I laughed and smacked his arm away.

"Cut it out," I laughed.

He grabbed my hand and pulled me in and hugged me.

Since we didn't have any packing to do, we ordered a pizza and turned on the TV. I still had 5 beers left over from my birthday and I got two out, one for Jeff and one for me. After the pizza arrived, we sat on the couch and watched a football game.

"There's three more beers in there if you want 'em," I told Jeff.

"Thanks, little brother."

After Jeff finished off the pizza and the beers, he stood up and stretched his arms over his head. "I need a shit and a smoke."

"You're a pig."

Jeff walked towards the bathroom and farted. "What'd you say?"

He grinned and I just laughed at him. When he finished in the bathroom, he pulled out his pack of smokes and headed for the front door.

"Jeff, you can smoke inside if you want. It's too cold outside. The guy who lived here before smoked and I'm leaving in the morning, so what do I care."

"Cool. I'll just crack this window here a little."

Jeff opened the window next to the couch a little bit and sat down and lit his cigarette. He kept the cigarette by the window to try to minimize the smoke in the room.

I started to get tired and I got up and brushed my teeth and stripped down to my t-shirt and underwear.

"I'm gonna go to bed," I told him. "You can share the bed with me or you can sleep on the couch. That box there on top has some blankets."

"Night, Tim."

"Night, Jeff."

I crawled into bed and turned off the light and fell asleep. I was vaguely aware of Jeff crawling into bed sometime later.


The next morning, I felt Jeff push out of bed and it woke me up. I sat up and waited for him to finish using the bathroom. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and put my glasses on. God, it was 7:00 AM. I was yawning when Jeff walked back into the room wearing only a pair of boxer briefs, showing off his hairy pecs and ab muscles, not to mention a big package. I could see the outline of his cut dick's shaft and head. Damn, I bet he made the ladies very happy with that body.

I got up and went pee and brushed my teeth. Jeff had climbed back into bed.

"It's too early, Tim," he said sleepily. "Let's get some more sleep."

I crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over me.

"I can't remember when we last had to share a bed," Jeff said.

"Yeah. I think it was when we went camping that one time and we stayed in that cabin. I was like, what? Eight, I think? I vaguely remember."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. That was a fun vacation. I remember fishing with Dad and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows."

"Yeah, that's right. I remember when we were fishing, Dad went pee in the river."

Jeff laughed really hard and I laughed too.

"Yeah, and you told him he had a 'really big thing'."

I gasped. "Oh, my god! No, I didn't!"

"Yes, you did!"

We were both doubled over in laughter, holding our stomachs, tears falling down our faces. Jeff snorted and we laughed some more.

Jeff let out a deep breath. "I should have known right then that you were queer."

"Asshole," I said and gave him a shove and we started laughing again.

"I'm surprised you didn't figure it out."

"Well, I always suspected. I saw the way you looked at other guys... the way you looked at Hank when you thought no one was looking. I caught you staring at his meat once in his football pants. But when I walked in on you beating off to some dudes blowing each other, well..."

"Oh god. I literally thought I was going to die. I have barely looked at porn since. I'm traumatized," I joked.

"Fuck that," Jeff laughed. "I had Dad walk in on me, and I still love me some porn."

We laid there giggling for a bit, when Jeff smacked my arm with the back of his hand. "Oh, Hank said to tell you 'hi'."

"He did?"


"How is he?" I asked.

"He's real good. His classes are going good and he's apparently killing with his academy stuff. He'll be done next summer."

"Maybe we'll get to see him when he comes home for Christmas."

"I'm sure. It might come up... I don't want you to be caught off guard... But, um... he's kinda... Well, he is... I mean... You know... Dating someone."

"Oh, really?" I said, trying to sound nonchalant. "Why would I be caught off guard? I mean, I'm glad he's found someone. I'm happy for him."

"Yeah," Jeff said quietly.

I know I had no right to be upset, but I was. I was upset and jealous and angry, but most of all I was just sad. Sad, lonely and pathetic.

"I'm kind of tired," I said. "I think I'll go to sleep for a little bit."

I turned away from Jeff and curled up in the fetal position. I tried my best, but I couldn't hold it in and I started crying.

Jeff rolled over and put his hand on me.

"I'm sorry, Tim. I didn't tell you to hurt you. I just didn't want you to find out in front of Hank, because I knew it would upset you."

Jeff cuddled up behind me and held me and just let me cry.
"You need to talk to Hank," he whispered. "Tell him how you feel."
"Great idea," I sobbed. "I can humiliate myself and let him know how lonely and pathetic I am."
"You'll never know how he feels unless you talk to him."
"He already told me how he felt," I cried. "He doesn't want a kid chasing after him."
"Jesus, are you still holding onto that? He thought you wouldn't worry about him while he was in Iraq if he told you that. Yeah, it was really stupid. But, Tim, that was a long time ago, and you know that wasn't the way he really felt."

"What does it matter? He's dating someone."

Jeff sighed and rolled onto his back. "Jesus Christ, the two of you drive me fucking crazy."


I woke up some time later and saw that I was alone. I sat up and stretched and got out of bed. Jeff was standing in the kitchen fully dressed sipping a cup of Starbucks coffee and flipping through a magazine.

"Hey, you're up," he said. "I went out and got us some subs. We can chow, then load up the truck and hit the road whenever you're ready."

I nodded. We sat in the living room and ate our sandwiches, then we moved my stuff to Jeff's truck. After everything was loaded up, we covered it with a tarp. I did one last walk through to make sure I didn't forget anything, then left the keys on the kitchen counter along with a thank you note. I got in the jeep and pulled out after Jeff and we headed north for home.