By downloading this story you implicitly declare and affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and that you are entitled to have access to material intended for mature, responsible members of society capable of making decisions about the content of documents they wish to read.
This story is copyright © 2004-2006 under my pseudonym, Draeconin, hereinafter known as 'the author', and the author retains all rights.The story cannot be used to derive monetary gain in any manner whatsoever. The story cannot be printed, archived, distributed or used in any manner whatsoever without the author's express written permission. Small portions of this story may be downloaded and printed under the auspices of Fair Use, provided the text remains unchanged, and all appended information remains intact.
Reference may be made in context to movies, characters, and actors that have become part of modern western culture. No other implication about the true sexuality of the people mentioned or their private lives is intended. Any resemblance to real situations or people, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
All copyrights and trademarks belong to the holders.
This is an original homocentric love story. If you are offended by homosexual relationships, do not read. If reading this story causes you to break local laws (village, town, city, county, province, state, or country, etc.), please leave now or accept the consequences, should there be any. All characters and situations are fictional and of my own creation. Any resemblance to real situations or people, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
The above warnings and disclaimers also pertain to all following chapters.
I was sixteen. He was fourteen, and a snot.
Wait. I guess I should start at the beginning with introductions and stuff, huh?
My name is Ethan Whiting. I'm sixteen years old - but I already said that. I'm about an average size and weight for my age, at five feet 6 inches, and one hundred and thirty-five pounds. I've got medium-length brown hair that I've heard described as "chestnut" (a reddish-goldish brown), and hazel eyes that kinda change color depending on my mood, ranging from a dark green when I'm mad, to almost a golden brown when I'm really happy. Don't ask me how that works, it just happens.
And no, I didn't stand in front of a mirror to watch. I'm not stuck on myself. My friends told me.
Now this other kid I'm talking about: I met him when he barged past me and my friends to get to his locker, kinda knocking me half into my open one. Didn't say nothing but "Watch it!" like I was to blame for it!
Well, that kinda made me mad, as you might guess. So I go over to him and say, "Hey! What's your problem! You knocked into me!" Now this kid's about three inches shorter'n me, and skinnier too, so you'd think he'd be smart enough to apologize, right? I thought so, but this gorgeous kid with a beautiful voice starts mouthing off to me.
Oh, yeah. About that 'gorgeous' comment. I'm gay. I'd figured it out a couple years ago that had to be what was wrong with me. When the other guys were drooling over girls, they just left me cold, and I was wanting to drool over the guys. I didn't, of course. I might be young, but I'm not stupid. You pick up on people's attitudes about things like that and learn how to hide it and keep quiet in order to survive.
Anyway, this kid was gorgeous. Like I already said, he was about three inches smaller'n me, about five feet three inches tall, and really slender. White-blond hair that was cut kinda long, light skin with a light tan, and green eyes. You'da thought with all the other typical blond stuff going on he'd have blue eyes, but he didn't. They were a beautiful shade of emerald green. And he had the cutest bubble-butt I'd ever seen! Yeah, he was facing me at the time, but I'd seen it when he walked past.
Hey, I'm gay! I notice these things! If I hadn't been mad at him I'da probably been staring, with my jaw on the floor. As it was, when his eyes met mine they knocked a lot of the mad outta me. But not all of it. And then he hadda open his mouth and get smart with me.
"So keep your fat ass outta the way, gargantua!"
Patently untrue and unfair, right? Right. I just gaped at him. I couldn't believe this kid's gall!
He smirked at me and said, "Wonderful imitation of a Venus fly trap, beanpole. Got any more?"
'Fat ass' and 'gargantua', to 'beanpole'? I saw red. I just wanted to ball my fist up and wipe that smirk off his mug the hard way. At the same time, I couldn't bring myself to mess up that beautiful face. I don't know what got into me, but next thing I know I'm dragging that kid down the hall by the wrist, with him yelling and cussing at me. I dragged him into the cafeteria, sat down, pulled him face down over my lap, and started whaling on that beautiful butt of his.
Me dragging him down the hall like that had attracted curiosity seekers of course, so we had an audience watching him kicking and yelling and struggling while I spanked him. It didn't do him much good, of course. I had to work to keep him there, but I was bigger and stronger. And something odd happened. I wasn't surprised when I got hard, what with this cute boy squirming on my lap, but then I felt a hard one on him, too. That was odd, and gave me something to think about later.
Of course something like one boy whaling on another isn't going to go unnoticed for long by the teachers, especially when there were so many other people gathered around yelling encouragement. I was just raising my hand for another swat when I heard a loud adult voice exclaiming, "Just what is going on here?"
Omigod. I couldn't even begin to explain this! So we both got dragged down to the principal's office to try to explain it to him. Fortunately he gave us a cooling-down period, so I was able to regain what little wits I had left. We were left with instructions to keep quiet and not speak to each other. Given this kid's mouth, I was just as happy.
The blond kid was just glaring at me, like he wanted to fight for real, but I noticed something else in those eyes, too. Something I didn't know how to interpret, but it made me kinda nervous and fluttery in the stomach. I didn't let my guard down of course, just in case he decided to take a swing at me anyway, even there in the principal's office.
About ten minutes later the intercom buzzed and the secretary told us to go on in. I gulped, and nervously got up. I noticed the blond kid was kinda smirking again, and that had me really puzzled. So we go in the office and the kid says, "Hi, Dad."
Oh, shit! Of all the kids in the school, I have to spank the new principal's son? I just tried to sink through the floor. Unfortunately, it didn't work.
"Jeremy." He didn't look too pleased, and Jeremy (what a cute name!) lost his smirk and started looking nervous, too.
"And you are?" he asked, addressing me.
"Ethan Whiting, sir," I said quietly.
"I hear you two were fighting? "
"No, Dad, he..." Jeremy started, but his father interrupted.
"You'll get your turn, Jeremy."
Then he turned to me. "Ethan? You want to tell me your version, first?"
Well, I tell him most of the truth as I remember it, kinda glossing over the spanking by saying I had slapped him, then he turned to his son and asked, "Jeremy? Is this how you remember it?"
"Well," Jeremy began in a small voice, "I was in a hurry, and I may have bumped into him, but I didn't say those things."
The little liar! I wasn't about to let him get away with that. "I have witnesses, sir. I can tell you their names, if you like," I rebutted.
He looked at me, then back at his son. "Well, Jeremy? Would you like to change your story, or should I send for these witnesses? Is Mister Whiting telling the truth?"
Jeremy looked for a minute like he might try to bluff it out, but then he wilted and just nodded his head, not looking at his father.
Then his dad addressed me. "That's no excuse for fighting, however, Ethan."
I interrupted before he could continue with the speech. "It wasn't fighting, exactly, Mister Graves." Oh, yeah. In case I hadn't mentioned it, that's the new principal's name. Mister Thomas Graves. "I didn't want to... Anyway, I just... kinda... spanked him." I continued hurriedly, hoping to get only five-to-ten years, with a year or two off for good behavior. (That's called gallows humor, folks.) "He was being a brat, and so I thought I should treat him like one." I wound up mumbling the last few words, but I think he heard me anyway.
When I looked up at him, I was surprised. He looked like he was trying to keep from smiling.
When I glanced at the blond kid - Jeremy - he was looking offended. I think he noticed the same thing I did. Anyway, it gave me hope that any punishment wouldn't be too bad.
Addressing his son, Mister Graves said, "He... " He had to stop to get control of himself before continuing. "He... spanked... you?"
Blushing, Jeremy looked at the floor and gave a little nod.
Mister Graves looked like he was going to explode, his face was so red. My hope for mercy died, and I was getting scared. Then he started sniggering, and then he burst out into a loud, full, belly laugh. I was shocked. Jeremy had a look of totally offended dignity on his face, which only seemed to make his father laugh harder.
When Mister Graves' laughter started dying down, he said, "Sit- Sit down... boys," while trying to catch his breath. We did, waiting for him to gather himself together. "I- I'm sorry, son, for laughing at you."
Then to me, with a huge smile on his face, he said, "Ethan, he's had that coming for a long time, but his mother would never let me spank him. I'm glad someone finally did."
At that, the blond boy kinda hunkered down in his chair and glowered at his father.
Mister Graves sobered somewhat, but there was still a gentle smile on his face as he continued. "But I'm afraid that school policy won't allow me to let you go scot-free, especially since there were, I assume, witnesses other than Mister Allen?" (The teacher that had caught us. Me. Whatever.) At a nod of my head in affirmation, he continued. "However, since you were provoked, I'll have to come up with something for both of you."
The expressions on Jeremy's face had gone from shock to dismay that his dad thought that about him, to a little glee that I was going to be punished, then back to dismay when he found out that he was going to be punished, too.
After a moment of thought, Mister Graves continued. "As you probably know, there's going to be a Sock Hop1 this Friday evening." We both nodded. "Neither of you will be allowed to attend, but Saturday morning you will both come in, take down the decorations, and clean up the gym. I'll call your parents, Ethan, to make sure it's okay with them, and oversee your detention myself."
Well I wasn't pleased, but it could have been a lot worse, so I nodded my acquiescence. (I'm sure you've noticed that I sometimes use words that most kids my age don't even know. I make sure that most people don't find out, but I've got a pretty high IQ: about one-forty-five. But I don't want to be pushed or made a fuss over, so I hide it. I just want a normal life. Of course, being gay, that was kinda a stupid expectation, but being known as a genius woulda just made it harder.)
My parents (actually my mom) agreed, of course, and when Mister Graves got off the phone, he said, "Well, that's settled then. Ethan, we'll see you at the gym at nine a.m. Saturday morning, right?"
When I'd agreed (like I had a choice?), he wrote a couple of passes for us, and sent us to our respective classes.
The rest of the day, and for the rest of the week, I kept catching Jeremy looking at me. At first it was kinda angry glares, but then those turned into thoughtfulness and an expression I couldn't quite fathom. They weren't angry or even hurt looks, though. I think it was a mixture of curiosity, caution, and that other feeling that I'd seen lurking deep in his eyes that day in the outer office. I didn't know quite what to make of it. But he never said anything to me, so I didn't say anything back. (Hey, I might have lots of brains, but that doesn't always translate into maturity; I was sulking.)
Then I remembered what happened while I was spanking him, and I wondered. I popped a boner just thinkin' about it though, and that was embarrassing. But he was younger than me, and in high school one year can make a big difference in who you choose for your friends, let alone two. Still, I was interested, but only if he could keep his mouth shut.
Um... I didn't phrase that quite right, but you know what I mean. Just - not talk shit. If you're gay, you know where my mind was going with that. I wouldn't want his mouth closed all the time - after all, kissing is important, too. (Gotcha, ya dirty-minded old geezers! *grin* )
Friday night was kinda depressing, knowing all my friends were at the dance and I couldn't go. I like to dance, and there'd be lots of girls I could ask. I mean, I don't like girls that way, but I like to dance. And since you need someone to dance with so you don't look like a total dork, and I wasn't going to commit suicide by asking some guy to dance, I wouldn't have a lot of options, would I? Except I didn't have to worry about it - for that dance, anyway.
Saturday I was there on time, but nobody else was. I didn't dare just leave though, 'cause if Mister Graves showed up and I wasn't there, he'd think I'd blown him off. So I just sat down on a parking bumper and waited. About fifteen minutes later a blue Chevy Nova pulled up, and Mister Graves got out. Jeremy was slower: reluctant, I think. Hell, I couldn't blame him. I didn't want to be there, either.
Mister Graves unlocked the gym, and we went in. I'd never seen the after-effects of one of our dances before. It looked like a tornado had hit the gym, and it had all the warmth of the results of a tornado, too. Last night a couple hundred kids or more would have been laughing, dancing, teasing each other... But none of that showed in this mess.
Oh, yeah: I 'wax philosophical' too, from time to time. Call it a side-effect of too much brains and not enough sense.
"Okay, boys, you should probably start by tearing down the rest of the decorations, then clean up the floor. I'll get more trash bags for the trash cans, and some brooms."
Jeremy and I just looked at each other, started for the same things to tear down, looked at each other again, then both of us headed for a different part of the gym - the same part as each other again, you understand, and then we both got a bit annoyed. I was trying to avoid him, for chrisesakes, and I guess he was trying to do the same.
I guess Mister Graves had caught our little 'dance', 'cause I saw him laughing to himself. It's so easy to amuse adults: just make yourself look like a fool. If you can do it in groups - hey! - they're set for life!
"You take that side, I'll take this one," I said, pointing, and trying to ignore my principal.
Jeremy glowered at me, but set out for the side I'd set for him. He still hadn't said a word to me.
When Mister Graves got back we were both hard at work. If Jeremy was feeling the same thing I was, he just wanted to get done and get out of there.
Mister Graves watched us for about fifteen minutes, and then said, "You two seem to have everything under control, so I've got some work I need to get done. If you need anything, I'll be in my office. No more spankings while I'm gone!"
We both blushed! He just laughed, and left. Like I said, it's so easy to amuse adults.
I finished tearing down everything I could reach, but there were some things I couldn't. I looked over at Jeremy's side, and since he was shorter, there was more there than on my side. I went over and started tearing down the stuff he couldn't reach.
"Hey, don't do me any favors, okay?" Jeremy kinda growled.
I couldn't help it. That growl just went right to my crotch. I pulled my shirt out of my pants to try to hide it. Jeremy looked kinda surprised, so maybe I didn't hide it as well I thought I had. I just said, "The sooner we're done, the sooner we're out of here."
About that time Mister Graves showed back up and said, "Time for lunch, Ethan, Jeremy."
He had a couple of bags from Burger King in one hand, and a cardboard tray of drinks in the other. Well, I was hungry, so I stopped working and approached him. He handed us each a bag and a drink, and said, "I didn't think to ask, Ethan, so I hope a double burger, fries and cola are okay?" I assured him it was, and thanked him. "That's okay. You guys have earned it. You'll need to take it outside, though," he said.
I didn't think to ask him why, since there was already dried punch on the floor. Guess he just wanted to keep it from getting any worse. We went outside. Jeremy sat on one parking bumper and I sat on another, then we just unwrapped our sandwiches and started eating. I kept glancing over at him, and I caught him doing the same to me.
Finally I couldn't stand it any more; I had to ask. "Why did you bump into me like that, Monday?"
He just kind of sneered at me and said, "It was an accident, of course."
"Don't give me that. I talked to the guys, and Jim and Barry (two of my friends who were there) said that you almost made a beeline for me, and put your weight into it."
"Shows the quality of your friends, doesn't it, that they can't tell an accident from on purpose?"
"Oh, give it up! Why can't you just try to be nice?"
"Why do you care, anyway?" he asked, vehemently.
I didn't answer right away, trying to put my thoughts into words. I guess the fact that I actually took the time to think about my answer caught his attention, 'cause when I started talking he was really listening. "I don't know why I should, but there's something about you I want to get to know better. It sure isn't this bratty persona you're presenting, though."
"Persona? You know what that means?"
Figures he'd pick up on that, rather than what I was trying to tell him. "Yeah. It means-"
He interrupted. "I know what it means. Not many kids would, though. Not kids our age, anyway."
"I am two years older than you, you know," I reminded him.
"Fifteen months isn't anywhere near two years!" he retorted.
That stopped me short, and brought up a whole new set of interesting questions.
"Jeremy? How do you know if it's only fifteen months?" I asked softly.
He flushed a deep crimson and suddenly, it seemed, the pavement became extremely interesting to him. Evidently he'd let slip something he didn't want me to know. He didn't answer.
"Jeremy?" I pressured.
"I looked it up in my dad's files, okay?" he snapped angrily.
"I was trying to find something I could use to embarrass you: use against you!" he proclaimed.
That didn't sound right.
"Uh-uh. I don't know why, but I can tell you're lying. I think I do know what the answer is, though: not just for that, but for this whole thing." He was staring at me, looking a little scared. I took a deep breath, not believing what I was about to say and do. I put my lunch down, got up, went over and sat beside him, and put my hand on his shoulder so he'd know I was being sincere. "Would you like to be my friend, Jeremy?"
He just sat there, thunderstruck, my hand still on his shoulder. Then I saw tears rise in his eyes. He made as if to get up and run away, but I just exerted a little extra pressure on his shoulder, and he couldn't get the leverage to get up. He dropped his sandwich and cola and tried to twist away, but I grabbed his arm gently, but firmly, preventing it. By this time the first tears were on their way down his cheeks.
"Why?" he cried.
"Why would I ask you if you want to be my friend?" I asked.
He nodded. "You're older! Why tease me like that? Older kids don't make friends with younger ones."
Normally that was true, but, "I wasn't teasing, Jeremy. I'd like to get to know you, if you'll let me. Maybe we can be friends - maybe not. I'm willing to find out if you are."
He stared at me through his tears, shocked. Then he shocked me! He threw his arms around me and really started bawling! I didn't know what to do except hold him.
I guess Mister Graves heard his son crying, because he came through those doors looking really pissed and saying, "If you two are fighting again... !" But he came to an abrupt halt at what must have been a really strange scene, his son wrapped around the guy that had spanked him. "What's going on, here?" he asked, more softly.
"I'm not sure, sir," I answered. "I asked him if he'd like to try to be friends, and... " I stopped, gesturing helplessly with one hand.
"Jeremy; pull yourself together, son. Is that true?"
Jeremy unwrapped himself from me, wiped his face with his hands, and nodded. "Yes, sir."
A strange look came over my principal's face, but he just nodded and looked a little sad. "You're okay?" His tone of voice held a lot more to it than that simple question, but it was a puzzle to me what he was really asking.
Jeremy just looked at the ground and nodded. Evidently he knew, anyway.
"Well, finish your lunch, then you two can finish your detention." He turned and went back inside.
I remembered Jeremy had dropped his lunch, and looked for it. The drink hadn't lost its lid so most of it was still in the cup, but his sandwich was all over the ground.
"Your burger's a gonner, guy. Here, you can have half of mine," I offered.
"That's okay. I'm not all that hungry, anyway."
"Bull. We're not gonna be here all afternoon. I can get a snack when I get home if I get hungry. Besides, your dad paid for it, anyway." I wasn't waiting for an answer. I tore what was left of my burger in half and held it out to him.
He reached for it, and as he took it, his eyes came up to meet mine. I saw gratitude - and that strange little something I'd seen almost a week ago had turned into a smoldering something. Not anything dangerous in itself, but I was a little scared, anyway. If it was what I thought it was, it could get very dangerous for me. The son of my principal? But my other head was making the decisions. I was going to see where this led.
"You didn't tell me why you slammed me into my locker and insulted me," I reminded Jeremy.
"I... I didn't mean to hit you so hard... and after I did, I panicked."
"So you did mean to hit me?" I asked. I was starting to get angry again. "Why?"
"I wanted you to notice me," he whispered. "My locker's been beside yours since the beginning of school, and you never even noticed me."
Okay, I wasn't angry any more. I was confused. "Why me?" I was also wondering how I could have been so blind.
Jeremy looked like he was trying to melt into the ground, but it didn't work any better for him than it had for me in his father's office.
"You know," he whispered, red as a beet.
"Yeah. I think maybe I do," I said quietly. My face was little warm, too. "C'mon, we got work to do."
Okay, so I was chickenshit. I just wasn't ready to deal with this yet. I needed time for it to sink in.
We finished tearing down what decorations we could reach, then had to ask for a stepladder to get the rest. I climbed it, and Jeremy kept it as steady as he could. I could feel his eyes on me though, and man, was it getting me hot and bothered! Then we started sweeping up and loading bags of trash. I couldn't even look at him, or him at me, without blushing. Nothing had been said, but we could both feel the connection.
Mister Graves would drop in from time to time to check on how we were doing, and I'm sure he noticed. He didn't look happy, but he didn't look mad, either. Maybe 'worried' would describe his expression better, even though he was obviously trying to hide it. When I noticed, I couldn't understand what he was worrying about. We were through with the ladder, so the only remotely dangerous task was over with. And it's not like I made a habit of beating up on younger kids. Me spanking Jeremy - I still blush when I think of that - was the only trouble I'd ever been in. Surely he could see that me becoming friends with Jeremy negated any possibility of that happening again?
I didn't know that he knew.
As we were finishing up and taking out the last bag of trash, I said, "Hey, Jeremy! Want to ask your dad if you can come over to my place and play some computer games?"
"Just computer games?" he asked. With the heat that had been passing between us all afternoon, I knew what he was asking. God, but this kid got right to the point!
"Um - pretty much, yeah. I don't know you very well, and you don't really know me, either."
I changed the subject. "It's too late today, but while it's still warm enough, maybe we could go swimming sometime, if you want. Dad hasn't put the cover on our pool, yet."
Jeremy looked both relieved and disappointed with me more or less saying 'no' to his unspoken proposition. I don't know how he managed it, but that's what I saw. But when I mentioned swimming, he perked up again. "You have a pool?"
"Yeah. It's not a real big one, but we can have fun in it. You know how to swim, don't you?"
"Of course I do!" he said somewhat scornfully.
"Want to invite a few of your other friends over with you?" I asked as a peace offering.
That only made him look uncomfortable and embarrassed again. "I... I don't have any other friends, here."
"Huh?" Okay, that was a brilliant thing to say. I tried again. "Why not?"
He looked a little defensive, and sounded like it too, when he said, "We just moved here a few months ago, and kids're kinda leery of hanging around with 'the principal's kid'. It's almost like it's some kinda disease, ya know?"
Now it was my turn to feel abashed. "Yeah, I can guess. I kinda felt that way too, at first. But not now!" I added quickly, seeing his expression. "If I'd known you were the prin... - Mister Graves' son, I don't think I'da... Um... " My face was burning, and I bet I coulda lit up the room, if it'd been dark.
Jeremy smirked at my discomfort. "Spanked me?" he finished quietly.
"So what would'a happened?"
"I don't know, really. Probably just kept a grudge and thought you were a spoiled brat," I answered, embarrassed.
"Then... " he blushed furiously, then finished the thought. "Then I guess I'm glad you didn't know." He continued quickly. "Not that I enjoyed it, but if you hadn't, we might not've become friends." Then he groaned, "Oh, god, this is so embarrassing!"
I chuckled. "Yeah, for me, too. I've never done anything like that before. I wanted to punch you in the face, but... "
"But?" he prompted.
"I just didn't want to mess your face up," I said, softly.
He cocked his head at me, puzzled, then grinned as he figured it out.
"I don't think we should talk about it any more," I said. "Not now, anyway. Not here."
He looked like he was going to push it for a second, but then he relented and said, "Okay."
"So, you gonna ask your old man if you can come over?" I asked. "We can talk about it there, if you want."
"Yeah, sure. Come on, let's go tell him we're finished. I can ask him then."
When we got to the principal's office Jeremy just walked in, so I followed. His dad was on the phone, so we sat down and waited. He was just finishing up.
"Fine, Mrs. Whiting. Glad to have had an opportunity to talk to you," he said.
I froze. Why was he talking to my mom? I wasn't in trouble again, was I? I hadn't done anything!
Jeremy spoke up just as his father hung up the phone. "Dad, you aren't..." he bit his lower lip as he searched for words, and looked at me out of the corner of his eyes. "...interfering, are you?"
"It's just you, me, and your mom, son. I don't want you getting hurt." Mister Graves looked both guilty, and stubborn.
"What's going on, here?" I asked apprehensively. "What were you talking about with my mom? What are you guys talking about?"
Now Jeremy's infamous glower was focused on his dad. Mister Graves took a deep breath and gave us a shaky kind of smile. "As it happens, I think I knocked down a few barriers to your friendship," he announced.
Jeremy's face got pale, and his eyes went wide. "Dad! You... You didn't? Please tell me you didn't!"
This just confused me more. "Didn't what? Somebody tell me what's going on!" I demanded. I was almost shouting, but I was scared. Something felt really wrong.
Mister Graves didn't answer Jeremy, but he looked at me and asked, very quietly and softly, "Ethan, were you aware that your mother knows you don't like girls?"
My heart seized up and I felt tears in my eyes. I was sure I was going to die, my chest hurt so bad. What was worse, I was frozen to the spot. I couldn't even run. My worst fear had just come true. People knew. My mom knew!
I turned my head just enough so that I could see Jeremy, dreading what I might see there, despite what we had very deliberately not talked about earlier. His glower had become a full-fledged glare of anger, but it wasn't directed at me - he was glaring at his father. His expression altered as he turned to look at me; it became softer, concerned.
"Are you okay?" he asked softly. "You're white as a sheet. You look like you're going to faint."
He reached out to me but I flinched away, not knowing what to expect.
"Ethan? It's okay, son. That's why I needed to talk to your mother," Mister Graves said.
My voice was shaky, scared, as I almost whispered, "So... So you could find out that I was a pervert? A fag? Not fit to be with other kids?"
"No!" exclaimed the man who had just ruined my life.
"Jeremy? I'm not explaining this very well, son." He looked upset, and he was asking his son to help him out?
Jeremy sighed, then turned back to me, but he didn't try to touch me again. "Ethan, what my dad is trying to say is that - well, I don't like girls either, and he didn't want me getting hurt if you did like them. So of course he did the overprotective parent thing and stuck his oar in where it really didn't belong. Especially," he continued, again glaring at his father, "before we could even find out if we liked each other as friends!" That was directed more at his father than at me.
I couldn't process all this. Too many questions, too many emotions, but I tried. "You... you're gay, too?" I kinda already knew, but it hadn't been put into words.
"And... And your dad knows?" It seemed almost incomprehensible to me. My father...
Another nod. "I told mom and him just before I found out we were moving here. There was a boy there I was interested in. Bad timing, I guess."
"Wait... Wait. Too much at once. Your parents know, and they're okay with it?" I asked, looking at Mister Graves for confirmation.
"Not our fondest dream, but Jeremy's our son, and we love him. We just want to make sure he's safe and happy," the man said.
The implications of the past five minutes hit me. "So you called my mother, outed your son to her, and asked about me? That really sucks!" My voice had started out at conversational level, but at the end, there, I was yelling, standing up and finally getting mad. "I wasn't ready to tell my parents, and now you've forced them, forced me, into that decision!" I don't know if I would ever have been ready, but especially not until I was out on my own. Mom might be okay, but Dad?
I collapsed into my chair again, cradling my head in my hands. "Oh, god, what am I going to do?"
From the expression on Mister Graves face, he hadn't considered that angle in his concern for his son. He admitted it. "I'm sorry, Ethan, I'm afraid that I wasn't thinking about what that call might mean for you. I was just trying to protect Jeremy's feelings."
He hesitated only a moment, then continued. "Since I've put you into a very difficult position, I'll take you home and stay with you until I'm sure you're safe. If things go badly, you can stay in our guest room until things cool off."
I was so miserable that when Jeremy put his arms around me I just leaned into it and put my arms around him, too. My first hug from this beautiful boy, and I wasn't even enjoying it. It was a little comforting, though.
His dad looked like he wanted to say something, but he didn't: at least for a couple of minutes. Then he quietly said, concern evident in his voice, "We should probably go, now."
I was dreading it, but I nodded my head and got up. We went out to the Nova, and Jeremy's dad put my bicycle in the trunk. Jeremy tugged me into the back seat where, even with our seatbelts on, he could put an arm around me again. Mister Graves asked me where I lived, and I gave him the address.
As we got close, Jeremy spoke up. "Hey, this is close to our neighborhood!" When we were a couple of blocks away, I straightened up and put both of my hands in my lap. Jeremy took the hint and took his arm from around me. I directed Mister Graves to my house, although I probably didn't need to since he had my address. It was just nervous energy.
Jeremy spoke up again, even though he was sounding pretty nervous himself. "You're just a half-mile or so away from where I live, Ethan."
"About a mile, really," Mister Graves said.
We parked and got out of the car. I just stared at the front of my house for a moment, then I took a deep breath and, like a diver heading into deep water, headed for my front door. It opened before we got there, and my mom was standing there. I froze, petrified, searching her face for some clue to what she was feeling. When she let a small smile reach her eyes and lips, I suddenly thawed and ran to her, throwing my arms around her, and bawling like a baby.
"I... I'm sorry, Mom. I'll fix it, I promise. I-"
She just murmured "Shush, baby, it's all right," and I shut right up, and continued to cry on her shoulder.
She looked up to Mister Graves and Jeremy, and said, "Won't you come in?"
"Thank you," Mister Graves replied, advancing. We all went into the living room, and I was starting to get control of my tears, now that rejection and getting thrown out wasn't looking like such a likely possibility any more. Mom gave me an affectionate half-shove towards the couch, so I sat down there.
"What do you take in your coffee, Mister Graves?" she asked
"Black is fine, thank you," he answered.
"Jeremy? Would you like a Coke or Pepsi?"
"A Pepsi would be fine, Mrs. Whiting. Thanks," Jeremy answered, subdued. He had some manners after all!
Mom came back with a tray holding coffee for her and my principal, and two Pepsi's in glasses for Jeremy and me.
"You're not mad at me?" I asked my mom.
She looked sad, but said, "No, honey, I'm not mad at you. You can't help it, I guess. I'm just sorry that I'm not going to have grandchildren, and that your life is going to be harder than it would have been if things were different." She sighed. "I was pretty sure, anyway. Last year - you remember? At the ballpark?"
I just looked confused, not sure what she was getting at. She clued me in.
"There were two tiers of bleachers filled with girls watching the game, and you didn't look at them once; you just kept staring at the players."
I blushed and stared at my shoes, but I didn't remember any girls being there.
"That was the most obvious, but there were other things and, well, as much as I didn't want to believe it, I rather knew."
She looked at Jeremy. "Is this your boyfriend?"
I looked at her, startled. "No!" I almost yelled. Jeremy looked a bit hurt, so I explained. "Until today, we've never even really talked before."
Mom didn't say anything. You know, in that way that makes you just have to fill up the silence? I fell for it.
"I mean - I like him, and there's this awesome attraction, so there might be something there someday, but we really haven't gotten to know each other, yet."
Realizing what I'd just said, I blushed and stared at my shoes again. There was nothing special about 'em, but it was better than dying of embarrassment by looking at my mom's face. It didn't help much. When I did glance up at her she was smiling this tiny smile, and then she got a rather troubled look on her face.
"Mom? What's the matter?" I asked, getting scared again.
"It might be nothing, son. I'm just not sure how your father is going to react when he finds out."
"Do we have to tell him?" I silently begged for the answer to be 'No', but knew that it wouldn't be. My parents weren't ones for keeping secrets from each other.
"I think it might be better if I told him alone: give him a chance to adjust to it," she said, confirming my fear.
She turned to my principal. "Mister Graves, would you have a problem with Ethan staying with you overnight? It's a Saturday, so his father won't be too surprised that he's staying with a friend, even if it's been a while. That should give me time enough to break it to him, and make sure he's okay with it."
"I came over with the resolve to have Ethan stay for quite a bit longer than that if necessary, Mrs. Whiting," Mister Graves replied. "This is mostly my fault, so I feel responsible."
Mom shook her head, then said, "Call me Evelyn. And we would have had to deal with this sooner or later, so I can hardly blame you."
"I still feel responsible," Mister Graves replied stubbornly. "And if I'm to call you Evelyn, you'll have to call me Tom. When's your husband due? Should I come back once I've got the boys settled?"
Mom shook her head again. "No, but thank you, Tom. Jim's never been a violent man so I don't anticipate any real problems, but I want Ethan out of the way, just in case."
That my mom thought there was a possibility, however remote, of my dad getting violent scared the crap out of me. This was one of the reasons I hadn't wanted to tell them, yet. My dad was a man of strong opinions.
"I quite understand, Evelyn. May I use your phone? I need to tell Amy we'll have one more for supper, and explain the situation."
When my mom said yes, he turned to me and said, "I suppose you should get whatever you're going to need for an overnight stay, Ethan," and then asked Mom where the phone was.
I nodded, numb from events, got up, and started upstairs.
"Can I help?" Jeremy asked.
I could hear the hope in his voice, so I just looked at him and nodded again. There really wouldn't be anything he could help with, but the company was welcome. I got a change of clothes, my toothbrush and some clean underwear, and put it all in an airline carry-on bag while Jeremy wandered around looking at my room. Somehow he had sense enough to know I didn't want conversation, so he didn't say much until I was heading for the bedroom door.
"Anything else you might want with you? Favorite music or anything?" he asked.
I looked at him with a dull sense of wonder and realized that yes, there were a few CD's I could listen to that might help me feel better, or at least help me work through my feelings.
"Thank you, Jeremy; that's a good idea." He beamed at me for the compliment while I gathered the music and my portable CD player, and put those in the bag, too.
When we went back out to the living room, Mom and Mister Graves were laughing.
'What is there to laugh about?' I wondered.
Mom turned to me, still laughing. "You never told me that the 'fight' you were in trouble over was giving Jeremy a spanking!"
Of course Jeremy and I both blushed to our roots. What did I say about keeping adults amused? But if Mom was able to laugh, maybe it wasn't too serious, after all.
Well, they talked for a while longer, then it was time to go. My dad would be home in an hour or two. Mom gave me a big hug at the door and said, "Tom gave me his phone number, so I'll give you a call when I know how your dad's going to react, okay?"
She gave me this smile that was supposed to make me feel better. I didn't want the effort to go to waste, so I pretended that I did feel better, and I smiled back at her. It wasn't a very good smile, but I guess it was enough, 'cause she let go of me and gave me a playful swat on the seat of my pants. Subconscious prompting from the spanking story? 'Cause I don't think she'd ever done that before, and I think I'd remember. But it was just the right medicine, right then. I felt that things would be okay.
Copyright © 2004 by Shamyn Whitehawk