Chapter 7: Tim

I got up early and showered and put on my band uniform. I grabbed my mallet bag and hat and headed downstairs. Jeff was sitting at the table in his underwear and a t-shirt, eating oatmeal with raisins in it.

"What the hell?" he said with fake shock. "You're ready early? Am I still dreaming?"

"Shut up."

I ate a banana and tossed the peel into the trash. I heard Hank's truck pull in front of the house. I looked out the window. "Hank's here," I announced.

I opened the door and let him in. He was wearing his football uniform and looked so hot I wanted to jump his bones right then and there.

"Hi, Tim. Jeff," he greeted us. "I figured I'd ride with you guys."

"You want some oatmeal?" Jeff asked.

"I already had some."

Jeff ran upstairs and pulled on his uniform and we headed out in the jeep.

When we got downtown, Jeff parked. I opened my bag and pulled out a pair of hard mallets and a pair of soft mallets and left the rest in the bag in the car. I grabbed my hat and we walked to the parade starting point. Jeff wandered off to find his girlfriend. Hank followed me to the equipment truck. I climbed up and got my harness and the xylophone and jumped off the truck. I put the harness over my shoulders and strapped my hat on, but Hank picked up the xylophone before I could grab it.

"I got it," he said. "Shit, this is heavier than I thought it'd be."

He added with a whisper, "No wonder you're in such good shape."

"Yeah, right. I'll be dying by the end of the parade."

I let him carry it to the parade start. I took it from him and gave him my mallets to hold. I latched it onto the harness and lifted it onto my shoulders. I took the mallets and dropped them in between two of the low bars.

"I'm all ready. Thanks," I said to him.

"Find me at the end of the game."

I got into formation next to Dee. I felt someone bump into my butt and I looked back to see Amy pushing into me with her snare drum.

"What was all that about?" she asked quietly.

"What was all what?" I asked.

"You and the meathead."


"Uh, you being escorted by the football jock, that's what."

I frowned. "Hank is my brother's best friend. He was just helping me."

"Yeah, since when do you need help?" Dee asked.

"We're not stupid, Tim," Amy said.

"We're your friends," Dee added.

"It's not a big deal," I insisted. "He's just being nice."

"Yeah, right," Amy said.

I was getting agitated. Why was everyone trying to get into my business?

"Just drop it, okay?" I grumbled.

The drum major called us to attention and we got into formation. The parade route went from downtown to the stadium. When we arrived at the stadium, they did the homecoming court. Hank's sister Gina was on the court. Mitch Scott the quarterback was the homecoming king, of course. The head cheerleader was voted homecoming queen.

The crowd was really pumped up and our team massacred the visiting team. It was awesome.

By the time we got home, we were all exhausted. Hank came in with us and I got bottles of water for myself and Jeff and Hank. Mom and Dad also went to the game and when they heard us come in, they walked in the kitchen and congratulated Jeff and Hank for playing so well and winning the game. They also told me how great I was.

I was modest and shrugged. "I just stood there in front. It's not like I was doing formations or anything."

"Well, we could hear you loud and clear. And I think you did great," Mom said.

"Don't put yourself down, Tim," Hank said. "You were awesome."

"Oh, yeah. You weren't even on the field."

"Hey, what did I just say?"

Hank grabbed me around the neck and knuckled my hair.

"Ow!" I yelled as I squirmed away. We were both laughing. Jeff was looking at us like we were crazy, but Mom and Dad seemed to be enjoying our interaction.

"I'm gonna go have a snooze before the dance," Jeff said.

"Yeah, I'm gonna head home and do the same," Hank said.

"See ya there," Jeff said as he bounded up the steps to his bedroom.

"Hank, I'm sorry to hear about you and your girlfriend," Mom said to Hank.

"Don't be, Mrs. M. She was a... Well, let's just say she wasn't a very nice person," Hank said.

"Who are you going with tonight? Anyone we know?" Dad asked Hank.

I felt so uncomfortable. I wish they'd mind their own business. I looked down at my foot and toed the grout line on the tiled floor.

"Nah. I was going to skip it, but Jeff and some of the guys convinced me to go stag."

"Well, I'm sure you'll find a nice girl to dance with," Mom said.

The thought of Hank dancing with someone else really hurt my feelings. I glanced up and noticed Dad was looking at me.

"We'll see," Hank said with a shrug. "Well, I'd better get going. Thanks for the water. See ya later."

Hank gave me a smile as he left and I waved back to him. Dad was still watching me and I felt totally on display like he could read my mind.

"I think I'm going to take a nap, too," I said. "The parade really wiped me out."

"Have a good nap, sweetie," Mom said as she kissed my cheek. "And you did play good today."

"We're proud of you, Tim," Dad said as he reached up and ruffled my hair.


I headed up to my room and pulled my band uniform off and hung it up before I crawled into bed. My phone beeped and I looked at the screen to see a text message from Hank.

<Hank Ballatori> wanted to kiss but rents wouldnt go

<Tim Matthews> me too

<Hank Ballatori> talk to u later

<Tim Matthews> k. have fun tonight

<Hank Ballatori> doubt it. rather b with u

<Tim Matthews> :-)

I fell asleep with my phone still in my hand.

That evening, Jeff got ready for the dance. He put on his suit and he looked very handsome. Mom was gushing all over him and Dad shook his hand, clearly proud of his oldest son. Mom took a bunch of pictures. She was frustrated that she had to leave for work, but she gave Jeff a hug and told him to have a good time.

Dad and I ordered Chinese takeout for dinner and we sat down and watched a movie. Dad leaned back in his recliner and was asleep halfway into the movie, like usual. I was half asleep myself when my phone beeped. I picked it up and saw that Hank had sent me a text. I looked at the time and saw it was only 9:30.

<Hank Ballatori> this sucks leaving now

<Tim Matthews> lol

<Hank Ballatori> can you go out

<Tim Matthews> yes

<Hank Ballatori> on my way

I guess I should have checked with Dad first, but I'm sure he wouldn't care if I went out. It was a Saturday after all. I gently shook his shoulder.

"Dad?" I said quietly.

Dad grunted and opened his eyes.

"Tim...?" he said groggily and stretched.

"Is it okay if I go out for a little bit?"

Dad furrowed his brow. "With that hockey player?"

"No. Someone else."

Dad looked at his watch.

"Okay then. Be home before midnight."

"I will."

I got up and ran upstairs and put on a pair of jeans and a Polo shirt. I went pee and then brushed my teeth and ran back downstairs.

"Stop all that running," Dad grunted. He had turned off the TV and left one light on in the living room.

Dad pulled out his wallet and handed me a twenty dollar bill. "Here."

I heard Hank's truck pull up in the driveway. Dad walked up to the window and pulled the curtain aside and looked out. He smiled at me and patted my back.

"Have a good time, kiddo. Tell Hank to have you home before midnight."

Before I could say anything, Dad disappeared up the stairs and I grabbed my keys and locked the door behind me.


I left the dance and drove to Jeff's, I mean Tim's. I pulled into the driveway and waited. Someone peeked out the living room curtains and Tim came out a minute later and climbed into the truck with a big grin.

"Hi, Timmy," I said.

"Hi, Hank."

I pulled out of the driveway and when we got to the stop sign at the end of the street, I leaned over and gave Tim a big sloppy kiss. He sighed contently and slumped back in his seat and I chuckled. I held his hand as we drove to the outside of town near the community college. He was grinning big. It was so easy to make Tim happy.

"So what did you tell your dad?" I asked.

"I told him I was going out with a friend. He was okay as long as it wasn't with 'that hockey player'."

I laughed.

"I still can't believe you beat him up," Tim said with a smile.

"I told him to stay the fuck away from you and when he mouthed off, I decked him."

"I didn't tell Dad who I was going with, but he looked out the window when you got there and knew it was you. He told me 'tell Hank to have you home before midnight'."

"I wonder what he thinks," I said. "Do you think he knows you're gay?"

"I don't know if he does or not. He keeps hinting around about wanting me to talk to him and stuff."

"Why don't you talk to him then?"

"I'm really scared. What if he gets mad or hates me?"

"Your dad is a cool guy. I don't think he could ever hate you."

"I don't think he would either, but I'm still scared."

I pulled into a pizza restaurant and we went inside and got seated in a dark corner booth. We ordered a pepperoni pizza and a couple of Cokes.

"That dance fucking sucked. I'm so glad I got out of there," I said.

"Really? Why?"

"Well, everyone was paired up and the person I wanted to be paired up with wasn't there. I got a few offers to dance, but I turned them down. I wasn't having any fun, so I just left. I'm glad I did."

"Me, too."

"So what did you do all night?"

"Watched a movie with my Dad. Well, I watched the movie and he fell asleep."

I laughed with Tim. He was smiling and his dimpled cheeks were so cute. I reached under the table and squeezed his knee, which made him jump a little and giggle.

"So, I guess this is our first real date. So, tell me something about Timothy Matthews I don't know."

"Oh, jeez, now I feel like I'm on the spot," he said. "Um... my middle name is Robert. My birthday is May 20th. Your turn."

"Okay. My birthday is January 3rd. My real first name is Enrico."

"Really? Where did 'Hank' come from?"

"Yeah. Enrico is the Italian version of Henry... Hank is short for Henry. Lame, huh?"

"Oh. No, it's really cool. Really."

"Thanks, Timmy. So Timmy, what do you want to be when you grow up?" I asked with a chuckle.

"I don't know. I guess I'm gonna go to college. Mom and Dad expect it from me; I don't think it's an option not to. I want to go, but I'm just not sure what I want to major in, you know? Probably business or accounting. Dad wants me to work for him at his construction business, but I don't know. I was hoping to move to a big city or something. What about you?"

"I don't know if I'll go to college. You know, I'm not really too motivated as far as school. My dad's a cop and his dad was a cop. My brother's a cop. I'll probably end up being a cop too. I understand about you wanting to move to a big city. Small towns kind of suck in some ways, but I do like living here."

"Well, there's nothing wrong with being a cop. Cops do a good service for the community."

We continued to talk and laugh and before I knew it, it was time to take Tim back home. I paid the bill for both of us despite Tim's protests. When we got into the parking lot, we made out for a little bit before I drove him home.

I gave him one last kiss before I told him, "I need to get some alone time with you soon, Timmy."

He blushed and kissed my cheek and climbed out of the truck and went inside. He waved at me as he went in and I waved back.


When I came in from my 'first date' with Hank, I was walking on a cloud. I had such an amazing time with him. I went up to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my face. I went to my room and put on my pajama pants and a t-shirt.

I heard a knock on the door and I opened it and let Dad in.

"Were you waiting up for me?" I asked.

"Yeah. I couldn't sleep knowing you were out."


Dad sat down on my bed and patted the space next to him. I sat down and he put his arm around my shoulders.

"Did you have a good time with Hank?"


"You like Hank, don't you, son?"

I nodded. Tears welled up in my eyes and I swallowed.

"I like him a lot, Dad." I took a deep breath and then added quietly... "I like him the way you're not supposed to like other boys."

I drew in a ragged breath and the tears poured down my cheeks.

"I'm so sorry, Dad."

I sobbed once and he pulled me into his chest and held me as I bawled my eyes out.

"Shhh... it's okay. Your mother and I will always love you no matter what. You know that, right? I am just worried about your safety. I don't want anyone to hurt you because of who you are. You're still my little boy. I love you, son."

I nodded as I choked back my sobs. Dad pulled my glasses off and wiped the tears from my face.

"I love you, too, Dad."

"Thank you for trusting me, for telling me. Hank... does he like you?"


"Are you and Hank... sexually active?"

"Dad!" I whined. "No! I mean, tonight was our first real date... but we've kissed."

"That hockey player... Did you..."

"He wanted to... but I said 'no' and pushed him off me and he left the party with someone else. Hank picked me up and gave me a ride home."

I decided not to tell him I had given Cal blowjobs. He didn't need to know all that.

"So that's why you were so upset that night. I'd like to get my hands on that little prick and wring his god damned neck."

"Hank already beat him up and told him to stay away from me."

Dad chuckled. "Hank just got another point in my book. But don't let Hank or any other boy pressure you into doing something before you're ready. And you promise me you'll be safe. You know what I mean, right? I mean, I can probably find something on the Internet if you don't--"

I blushed beet red. "Dad!"

"Well, I know how boys your age are. Shit, at your age I was already getting pussy regularly."

"Oh, my God," I groaned and buried my head in my hands.

"Jesus, on second thought, I might need to lock you away in your room until you're 30. Okay, I'm going to let you get to bed. You need to talk to your mother in the morning."

"I will."

"Does your brother know?"

"He knows I like boys, but he doesn't know about Hank. Jeff is okay with me being gay."

"Well, if you are going to date Hank, I think the two of you should tell Jeff."

"Okay. I'll talk to Hank about it."

"All right. Good night, Tim. I love you."

"I love you, too. Good night, Dad."

I shut the door and grabbed my cell phone and climbed into bed. I sent a text message to Hank.

<Tim Matthews> You up?

<Hank Ballatori> ya

<Tim Matthews> i came out to my dad

<Hank Ballatori> no way

<Tim Matthews> he asked if i liked you

<Hank Ballatori> wtf

<Tim Matthews> tell you everything later

<Hank Ballatori> lunch tomorrow

<Tim Matthews> ok. goodnight

<Hank Ballatori> nite