When I See You Again

By LittleBuddhaTW

Special thanks to Sharon (Sat8997) for editing!

This is a story involving teenage gay males and may include sexually explicit content and adult language. If this kind of material is offensive to you, you are under the age of 18, or is illegal in the area where you live, do not read any further.


"Strike three, you're out!" Boomed the voice of the home plate umpire.

Before I had fully realized what was going on, I found myself lying flat on my back, with our team's catcher -- and my best friend -- Brennan on top of me, hugging me tightly. Brennan wasn't a big boy, but it was still enough to knock the wind out of me.

And it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience as our other teammates began piling on top, one-by-one, either. The strong smell of a pack of sweaty twelve-year-old boys who had just played six long innings of baseball all writhing around on top of me, along with the dirt from the pitcher's mound finding its way into my mouth and nose, was not my idea of a good time.

What ever happened to just dumping a bucket of Gatorade on someone? Sheesh!

But, nevertheless, we had just won the regional Little League baseball tournament, so there was good reason to be excited. Not only had we won, but I had pulled off another shut-out, allowing only two hits during the entire game, and struck out fifteen batters. Considering our team was only able to score one run of our own the entire game, that was pretty damn good.

"Dude, we're going to Williamsport!" Brennan was shouting at me from within the pile.

Yes, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League International organization, which hosted an international baseball tournament every August to find the best Little League baseball team in the world. We were now one of sixteen teams from across the United States, and the world, that were headed to the biggest event in youth sports.

After a few more moments of rolling around on the ground, getting squeezed, poked, and even getting my ass slapped a few times, I was finally able to break free from the mass of excited boys, wipe some of the dirt off my uniform, and glance around the field. It was a warm night, perfect for baseball, and with our big victory, the crowd was roaring, cameras were flashing, and it seemed like mass hysteria was breaking out all around me.

It wasn't all excitement, though. Amidst all of the celebrating, I saw our opponents for that evening only a few yards away. A couple of boys were sitting in the grass, crying with their heads in their hands. A few others were cursing themselves, and one big kid was even yelling at the poor kid who had just struck out. I didn't see how it was fair to blame him, though. Not every twelve-year-old kid is able to hit a 77 mph fastball, which was the speed clocked on the scoreboard's radar gun. That would be the equivalent of about a 100 mph pitch on a Major League field. No, that poor kid didn't stand a chance.

One scene that really stuck out to me, though, was the cute young pitcher, who had really pitched a hell of a game, sobbing his eyes out, and the equally cute catcher was hugging him tightly and gently petting his shaggy blond hair. I wasn't exactly sure why, but it touched me, almost to the point of making me cry, too.

As I continued to look around and take in all of the sights around me, I noticed a couple of camera crews descending upon us. Being the shy boy that I was, I wanted to avoid that part of the celebratory process at all costs. Fortunately, our coach was all too familiar with my personality (or as Brennan would say, my lack thereof) and distaste for publicity, and cut the cameras and reporters off before they could get to me, giving me a chance to grab Brennan's hand and make a beeline for the locker room.

I was there to play ball, have fun, and win for my team, not to become a twelve-year-old celebrity, especially after one particular incident where the local news had tried to interview me on camera after we won the State championship. I couldn't string together a coherent sentence, stuttering and babbling like a fool the whole time. I sounded like a total dork. So, needless to say, I wasn't anxious to have another experience like that again any time soon, even though Brennan probably wouldn't have minded getting on TV and showing off as he was prone to do. In that respect, I guess we'd always been a bit like "yin" and "yang," but somehow we just clicked.


Brennan and I had been best friends since we were five years old and in the same kindergarten class. I could never forget that first day of school. I was completely beside myself with fear as I walked alone into that classroom, having just moved to the area and not knowing a single person. After our teacher, Miss Kilduff, showed me where my cubbyhole was, I wandered over to the farthest corner of the room and sat down, playing idly with a small Tonka truck that I found sitting there.

I had no interest in trying to meet any of the other kids that were running around, laughing, and playing with each other. They all seemed to already know each other and I didn't think they would have any interest in me, the new kid. That all changed, though, when one little boy with a shaggy mop of brown curly hair and big brown eyes came over and plopped down next to me on the rug.

"Hi, I'm Brennan," he chirped. "What's your name?"

"Grady," I mumbled, keeping my eyes focused on my truck.

I wanted to run away and find a new corner where no one would bother me, but there was something about his bright smile, and those eyes, that kept me glued to that spot.

"Will you be my friend?" he asked, scooting even closer to me.

I may not have wanted a friend right at that moment, but I needed one. And so, from that day on, Brennan and I were inseparable.

That same afternoon, after school let out for the day, I didn't know which bus I was supposed to take home, and ended up missing the bus altogether. It was Brennan who found me crying on the curb in front of the school.

"Why are you crying, Grady?" he asked, sitting down beside me and putting his arm around my shoulder.

"I missed my bus," I sobbed.

"That's okay, my daddy can take you home," he announced, in that ever-cheery voice of his.

My first impression of Brennan's dad, Mr. Bellinger, was that he was very tall, and seemed pretty young for a daddy. But, he had a warm smile, just like Brennan, and didn't give me much of a choice as to whether or not I wanted a ride home. Since I only had my address written down on a scrap of paper, and couldn't find my way home by myself if I tried, I didn't have much of a choice. Brennan jumped into the back seat with me and held my hand the entire way home.

I was totally embarrassed when we got to my house and they saw the kind of shit-hole we lived in. Even at the tender age of five, I knew that my family was poor, and I was also well aware of the terms "white trash" and "redneck," which I was certain applied to me. I also knew that my parents didn't seem to care too much for me. They never beat on me or anything, except for the occasional lashing with a belt when I was naughty. But, they didn't pay much attention to me, either. On the rare occasions that I ever asked for something, like a new pair of sneakers to replace the ones that already had the heels worn off, they told me I was lucky to have a roof over my head and not to be living in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere. When they put it that way, I guess I was lucky!

My dad was a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War. He'd gotten really sick when he came back, with something called "Gulf War Syndrome," and I guess he had some pretty bad experiences while he was over there. Sometimes, though, I wondered if I was the real reason they'd become so fucked up, because apparently it wasn't too long after I arrived in the world that my dad went bat-shit crazy.

From the few memories that I still had from when I was really little, my mom wasn't always such a hopeless drunk and dead-beat. But, I guess all the pressure from having a messed up husband finally got to her, and I just became too much of a burden, and by the time I was four years old and she figured I could pretty much look after myself most of the time, she started tipping back bottles of Southern Comfort and never stopped.

Sure, there were moments of sobriety mixed in among the hours of being passed out drunk on the living room couch or never even coming home at all. Somehow, my mom managed to get to the grocery store occasionally, paid the bills with the small amount of money my dad got from his disability check from the army, and took me to the Salvation Army store to get clothes when I needed them. But, that was about the extent of what she did for me. Before I was old enough to go to school, it was Mrs. Tyson, an elderly woman who lived down the block at our old house, who took care of me most days until I was old enough to go to school.

I did have a couple of friends in my old neighborhood, and I was looking forward to starting kindergarten with them and being a "big boy." But, when my dad started ranting and raving that "they" were out to get him one day, we suddenly just picked up and moved, ending up in yet another white trash ghetto in a brand new town in Northern Michigan, with no friends, and two parents who couldn't care less about helping their five-year-old boy to adjust to a new environment.

So, it was definitely a big change from my old way of life when Brennan started inviting me over to his house almost every day after school and every weekend. I didn't know enough to feel like I was imposing, and since I couldn't help but feel somehow magnetically drawn to him, I just went along with it, maybe more curious than anything else at first.

Once Brennan had become my best friend, I soon realized how different the lives of other little boys were from mine. For example, it totally boggled my mind when he and I would just sit there at the kitchen table while his father made snacks for us. I'd always heated up my own Chef Boyardee in the microwave or made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for myself. I thought Brennan was so lucky to have a daddy like that.

Brennan's house wasn't exactly a mansion, but it sure seemed like one to me. My 'room' at home wasn't much bigger than a closet, my bed was just an old, worn-out mattress, I kept my clothes in a cardboard box instead of a dresser, there was a gaping hole in the wall, and the only toys I had were a couple of Star Wars figures with no arms that I happened to have in my pockets when my dad flipped out and decided to leave our old town in the dead of night.

Compared to the cramped and filthy conditions I was used to living in, Brennan's room was amazing. His walls were covered with posters of famous baseball players; he had his own television, a Playstation, and tons of toys. Everything was decorated in dark blue, from the sheets and fluffy duvet on his bed, to the curtains and upholstery on the chair at his desk.When I first saw his room, I felt a little jealous. Why couldn't I have a life like that, with a cool room and cool stuff? But, when Brennan told me that I could play with any of his toys whenever I wanted, and even take some home with me to play with, I soon forgot all about feeling jealous and just felt grateful that someone as cool and nice as Brennan wanted to be friends with me.

Another great thing about being at Brennan's house was that his dad was actually there most of the time. Mr. Bellinger was some kind of translator and worked from home. I didn't really understand much about what he did, other than he spent a lot of time in front the computer, typing away at what seemed like a million miles a minute and sometimes talking to himself in a language I didn't understand. But, if it kept him around, I was all for it. When my dad was actually home, he was usually passed out drunk on the couch, or sometimes even the kitchen floor.

Although Mr. Bellinger seemed like such a good daddy, I wondered why Brennan didn't seem to have a mommy around. My mother wasn't exactly the greatest in the world, but I couldn't imagine what it would be like to not have one at all. When I asked him why, I saw him cry for the first time. He told me that she was "in heaven." Seeing how much it upset Brennan, I never asked about it again. It was only later that I learned from Mr. Bellinger that she had died from cancer when she was only twenty-one years old, shortly after Brennan was born.

Like I said, I absolutely loved staying at Brennan's house. The first time he invited me to spend the night, his dad came inside my house with me after school on a Friday afternoon to see if it was okay with my parents. I knew they wouldn't give a fuck, but he insisted. It was one of those rare times that one of my parents was even home, and I think that when my dad's only response to Mr. Bellinger was to grunt and tell him to get him another beer from the fridge on his way out, that sealed the deal for allowing me to spend as much time at the Bellinger's house as possible. Again, I wasn't complaining.

Even though the sleepovers were only on the weekends and I still had to live at my own house most nights, it didn't really bother me, because every night, I reminded myself that I would see Brennan and his dad the very next day. I could put up with a little loneliness for what I knew I would be getting at Brennan's house. Plus, I now had some of Brennan's toys in my room to keep me company.

After that first time that Mr. Bellinger "met" my dad, every time I went to Brennan's house, he asked me how my parents were doing and if I was doing okay. It got to be such a routine that as soon as I got in the door, I would answer his questions before he had even asked them. One time, when I was a little older, he even sat me down and asked me if I'd like to stay with him and Brennan permanently, but I told him I wanted to stay at home. Despite their many faults, they were my parents, after all. I didn't go to school with bruises all over my body, and usually there was enough food to get by. Sure, I guess it would have been cool to live with Brennan, but it just didn't feel right to me ... not then, anyway. I wasn't exactly "happy" at home, but it was still my home, and it would have felt wrong to just leave.

That first night that I spent at his house was a real eye-opening experience for me. At first, when I saw how affectionate Brennan and his dad were with each other, I got a little jealous again, just like when I'd first walked into Brennan's room. That soon faded, too, though, when they both showed me just as much affection as they did with each other. I'd never really known what it was like to be hugged and tickled constantly, but I loved it. My favorite was when Brennan's dad would toss me over his shoulder and smack my butt, while Brennan tickled my feet. And even though I screamed and pleaded for them to stop, I didn't really want them to.

That was also the night that I fell in love with baseball for the first time.

After stuffing ourselves with Chinese take-out, all three of us settled down on the couch to watch a Detroit Tigers baseball game on their huge high-definition television. As the game went on, Brennan's dad patiently explained as many of the rules and strategies to me as my young mind could handle. I listened intently and committed everything he said to memory, asking tons of questions along the way. I think Brennan was a little surprised at how talkative I was around his dad, considering I hardly ever opened my mouth at school. But, I was so fascinated and couldn't help myself.

That night, as we lay on Brennan's bed, with him spooned up behind me and an arm draped over my small frame, I stared at the posters of the baseball players on his walls and dreamed that one day I could be like them.

The next morning, I begged Brennan's dad to teach me more about baseball, so the three of us ended up in the backyard with a ball, three gloves, and a bat. We ran into a little problem, though, when I tried sticking the glove on my hand and it didn't seem to work right.

"What's wrong with this glove?" I asked. "Why won't it go on?"

Mr. Bellinger chuckled. "You're a southpaw, buddy. You need a different kind of glove."

"What's a southpaw?" I asked, totally clueless.

"Well, Grady, that means you throw with your left hand," he explained. "Brennan and I are both righties, so we need to get you a different glove."

Forty-five minutes later, after a quick trip to the local sporting goods store to pick up a brand-new glove and a Detroit Tigers ball cap for me to wear, we were back in the yard and I was learning how to catch and throw a baseball for the first time.

I couldn't get enough of it, and I wanted to play every day. When Brennan's dad was busy working, Brennan and I would play catch by ourselves, and we watched baseball almost every evening on TV. When the season was over and there weren't anymore games to be watched, I was devastated. Fortunately, our own playing in the backyard didn't let up.

By the following spring, Mr. Bellinger had enrolled us both in a local Little League tee-ball program. I was terrified of being around all of those new kids again, especially since I was convinced that they were all probably really good, and I was going to suck. But, with Brennan and Mr. Bellinger there coaching, I quickly settled in and started having a blast. At not quite seven years old, we were pretty bad, but that didn't matter. I was having the best time of my life, and I felt like I'd found a brand new family.

My parents even seemed to be a little proud of me ... or something. Despite the fact that most of the small amount of money my dad got from his disability checks went to feeding their alcohol binges, they managed to cough up a few bucks to help pay for the Little League fees and my uniform, though I think Mr. Bellinger ended up paying for most of it himself.

By the time we were nine years old, we'd started looking quite a bit less ridiculous out on the field. And, it was then that I found my calling ... to be a pitcher. What was even more perfect was that Brennan loved catching for me. Mr. Bellinger and the other coaches spent a lot of time with me, teaching me how to grip and throw the ball, how to control the pace of a game, and perhaps more importantly, teaching Brennan and I how to work together as a team. That wasn't very difficult, since we were always together and seemed to always know exactly what the other was thinking.

When we weren't at team practices, we spent hours practicing alone in Brennan's yard. And when we weren't practicing, we were watching baseball on television, playing baseball video games, collecting baseball cards, or talking about baseball. Baseball had become my life. I don't know what I would have done if Brennan or his dad had suddenly lost interest, because there was nothing else I wanted to do.

Little League alone wasn't enough for us, though, so we also got involved with our middle school baseball team, a traveling team, and a fall league, too. And although that meant a lot more playing time for both of us each week and almost all year long, it also meant a lot more practice time, too. I didn't like all of the repetitious drills that we had to go through, or all the running, but Mr. Bellinger explained how important it was to condition ourselves. One drawback to all the playing we were doing, though, was that we couldn't work too hard during our back yard practice sessions; otherwise, my arm would have gotten too tired out. So, we started using that time to focus more on our batting. That went pretty well, except for the three or four broken windows in Brennan's house that summer.

We had also started lifting some weights in Brennan's basement. Mr. Bellinger didn't like the idea at first, insisting that we were too young and lifting weights could damage our growth. He eventually gave in when Brennan used his 'pouty face' -- enough to make the toughest guy melt into a pile of goo -- but we had to promise to take it easy, and we did. I didn't want to get big and bulky anyway, so I mostly focused on increasing my arm strength.

By the summer when we turned eleven, we had become a two-man wrecking crew on the field. My fastball was already clocked at over 70 mph, and I had learned how to throw a nasty curveball and change-up. My curveball had a tendency to be a little on the wild side from time to time, but Brennan could usually tell where it was going and rarely let one get past him. And where most coaches called all of the pitches for players our age, Mr. Bellinger and the other coaches left those calls up to us. Brennan spent a lot of time checking out the players on the other team, and had good instincts about when to challenge a hitter with a hard fastball up the middle of the plate, or when to trick them with a wicked curveball. Brennan wasn't just a good catcher, though. He was an excellent hitter, one of the best on our team. He credited that to having to learn to hit the heaters that I threw to him during our training sessions in his back yard. As it turned out, he was one of the few Little Leaguers who could hit off of me.

It got annoying that I couldn't pitch in every single game, as pitchers need to rest their arms. Mr. Bellinger never let me throw more than 85 pitches per game, and I hated it when I had to be pulled out early. Since I couldn't pitch all the time, I usually ended up getting put at first base for the rest of the games, and I got to be pretty good at that position as well. When I was pitching that season, though, I gave up a total of only five runs, and pitched a division record of three no-hitters.

Despite the little sensation my pitching skills caused in our league, though, I didn't really like all of the attention. When my teammates, their parents, and even some of the opposing players and coaches tried to congratulate me after a game and tell me how amazing I was for my age -- with a few of the dads even joking around about my future prospects in the Big Leagues -- I usually just smiled shyly and tried to get away from them as quickly as possible. It's not that I didn't believe in myself; I knew I was an outstanding pitcher. It was just embarrassing, and there were a lot of other good players on our team, so it made me feel bad when I got all the attention and the others didn't.

It was only when I was alone with Brennan that I allowed myself to relish in my success, and he helped to encourage me, giving me the nickname "El Diablo," meaning "The Devil," because that's how he said the opposing batters thought of me whenever I took the mound. The younger brother of one of our teammates also began the tradition of blasting Jimi Hendrix's classic "Voodoo Child" on a boom box when I took the field to take my warm-up pitches at the beginning of every game I started, both to shake up the other team a little, and also to get our team fired up.

I actually found it kind of amusing that I was so "intimidating" as a pitcher, because I wasn't the most physically imposing kid on the field. I was only average height for a twelve-year-old, about 5 feet 5 inches when I was measured for the district tournament, and I was pretty scrawny, too. In one game, during the regular season, I tried using my best 'mean glare,'
à la Ty Cobb (the meanest baseball player ever), to intimidate the other team, but Brennan said that with my shaggy blond hair, big blue eyes, and baby face, it looked more silly than anything else.

Even though I was having the time of my life every time I went out on the field, baseball was more than just a game for me. I never felt better than I did when I was on the mound pitching. It wasn't so much the thrill of winning that I enjoyed, but when I was out there, I felt like I was in control of my life. I couldn't do anything about my messed up family or my financial situation, but on that field, the outcome was entirely up to me. And, having so much insecurity in my young life, and never really being able to trust someone, baseball taught me about trust -- even if my total trust was given only to my best friend and catcher, Brennan.

During those few years of learning the game, not only did Brennan and I grow as baseball players, but our friendship grew even stronger than ever. There was absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that Brennan was my best friend, and that I was his. Like any kid who was good at sports, I guess I was pretty popular, but I usually didn't want to have anything to do with the other kids.

The only boy I really cared about was Brennan. He knew that I got extremely shy and nervous around other people, so when we were invited to other kids' houses for sleepovers or just to hang out and goof around, he always made up excuses why we couldn't go. Sometimes, I felt bad that I was keeping him from making other friends, but at the same time, it made me feel good that I was the most important one in his life.

Even so, when we turned twelve years old, and puberty was starting to set in, things started getting a little weird. Brennan and I had been looking forward to puberty ever since his dad had the "sex talk" with us when we were 7 or 8 years old. Little did we know at the time, though, that it was going to end up being so confusing and emotional for both of us, and no matter how much Mr. Bellinger had tried to prepare us, it was bound to be a messy, tear-filled, and traumatic ordeal.

Brennan's dad had remarked a few times over the previous several months that he thought I was getting taller, but the whole puberty thing didn't really get my attention until one night when I was taking a piss in Brennan's bathroom and he was stepping out of the shower, and I noticed that he'd started to sprout a small dusting of hair around the base of his little tally-wacker. Obviously, being as close as we were all of the time, it wasn't the first time I'd seen Brennan naked, and he'd seen me plenty of times, too. But, maybe because I was so used to it, I never really paid much attention to it.

"Dude, when did you start getting hair down there?" I asked, surprised.

Since I didn't have anything down there yet, I suddenly started feeling a little self-conscious, so I quickly pulled up my tighty-whities.

"I dunno," he mumbled as he dried his hair with a towel. "A couple months, I guess."

That was the end of that conversation, but after that, I started paying more attention as Brennan started to fill out and grow up.

It also got me to start noticing the other boys in our gym class when we were changing. In middle school, we didn't have to take showers after P.E. class, so I didn't get to see much more than the other boys in their underwear. And although that didn't entirely satisfy my curiosity, I was glad that we didn't have to take showers. Except for Brennan, I was very shy and self-conscious about my body. Even though I practically ate Mr. Bellinger out of house and home every weekend and had been lifting some weights, I was still scrawny, totally hairless, and didn't look nearly as good as some of the other boys that I saw in the locker room. I was so embarrassed, in fact, that on days that we had to wear a cup, I wore mine the whole day, so I wouldn't have to reveal my "business" when I was changing. Brennan must have noticed, but he never said anything about it.

At least I wasn't the only one, though. There were still a lot of other kids like me without much going on in the puberty department, and some of them seemed just as self-conscious as me, pulling their shirts down as low as possible to cover themselves when they were changing out of their jock straps and looking around nervously before taking off their shirts.

There were other guys, though, including Brennan, who didn't seem to care at all. They walked around the locker room in just their underwear, chatting with each other and goofing off like it was the most natural thing in the world. They seemed so confident about themselves, and that just made me want to stare even more, not just admiring their tight young bodies, but imaging what it might feel like to be like them.

After months of staring at the other boys in the locker room, though, I started wondering if it was weird that I was looking at other guys so much in the first place, and if any of them (especially Brennan) were looking at me the same way. Never one to keep anything from Brennan, and after several days of serious contemplation, I finally came out with it and asked him.

"I guess so, yeah," came his simple reply.

"You don't think it's kinda perverted?" I asked, trying to hide the worry from my voice.

"Nah, not really," he answered, shrugging his shoulders.

"Do you ever look at me?" I asked, quickly turning around so he wouldn't see me blushing.

"Of course," he giggled. "You've got a cute butt!"

I couldn't hide my blushing anymore, as Brennan pushed me onto the bed and sat on my chest.

"Awwww, little Grady is blushing!" he squealed, pinching my cheek and making goofy faces at me.

"Fuck you!" I shot back, trying to act angry, but not doing a very good job of holding back my laughter.

Brennan was always good at that, being able to take a potentially embarrassing and awkward moment and playing it off so well.

After that conversation, we started talking more about what our bodies were going through, pointing out when each other had entered a new 'stage' of our development, and teasing each other endlessly about it -- especially whenever we popped a woody.

One thing we didn't do, though, was talk about what we were feeling. And I was feeling a lot. But the problem was that I wasn't really sure what I was feeling. I was more emotional than usual, sometimes feeling like I wanted to cry over the littlest thing. I was getting more and more self-conscious about my body, constantly wondering what other people were thinking about me, and I always tended to assume the worst. Was my nose too small? Were my feet too big? Why hadn't my voice changed yet? Did I sound like a girl? Did anyone notice that boner I had? Why were those kids looking at me funny? What were other kids saying about me when I wasn't around? It was like a constant and growing anxiety about nearly everything, and sometimes it really drove me crazy.

I wanted to ask Brennan about all of this stuff that I was feeling so badly, but as a part of the whole "boy going through puberty" thing, I was starting to get the feeling that there were some things that boys just didn't talk about -- not even with Brennan. Nor could I talk with him about my now nightly jack-off ritual, which I had learned about a year before while surfing around on the Internet on Brennan's computer one night after he'd fallen asleep.

The first few times I tried it, nothing much happened, but then one night as I lay on my bed back at home, stroking my little dick and thinking about Brennan's smooth, lean body pressed up against me, the way his his small, pale white butt cheeks and slender hips moved when he walked, his cute little "outie" belly button, his flawlessly beautiful face and stunning eyes ... a brand-new sensation began to well up deep in my small, hairless balls, and I felt my whole body start to tremble as the feeling spread throughout my entire body, slow at first and then explosively, sending me into a state of intense bliss that my mind had a difficult time grasping. It was my first orgasm, a dry one at that, but one I would never forget, especially since I realized that it was my fantasizing about my best friend that had caused it. That was something I definitely wouldn't be sharing with Brennan anytime in the near future.

But, despite all of the changes we were beginning to go through, and my newly found fascination with the young male body, baseball still remained the center of my universe, the one thing I could fall back on when the confused thoughts screaming in my head became almost too much to handle. It was my refuge, my sanctuary. It was the one place where I was an equal with all of the other boys, and if you had skills like I did, physical development didn't matter.


The night we won the regional tournament was easily the best night of my life.
It wasn't the easiest ride, though. We had to get through the district, sectional, and state tournaments first, which meant we were playing the best of the best. It was very nerve-wracking for me, because since I couldn't pitch every game, I was biting my nails and had butterflies doing summersaults in my stomach whenever another pitcher was out there. It wasn't that I didn't have confidence in my teammates, but I couldn't control the game as much from first base as I could from the mound.

The real fun started when we made it to the regional tournament, though. For that, we got to travel out-of-state and stay in a hotel. Of course, Brennan and I shared a room, and we convinced Brennan's dad to stay in his own room. If he'd known that the reason we almost lost the first game in the tournament because we were hung-over from raiding the mini-bar in our room the night before, he probably would've ended up moving in with us on the second night and grounding us for a year (yes, Mr. Bellinger would have grounded me, too).

I wasn't pitching in that game, so I couldn't screw things up too bad, but Brennan struck out three times and let seven pitches get past him, three of which scored runs for the other team. Fortunately, the rest of our team's bats were hot that night, and we ended up scoring fifteen runs, a record for us. If we'd lost, there probably would have been even more questions about our dismal showing.

We ended up blaming our sucky performance on the long drive and the cold air-conditioning in the hotel room, which we claimed gave us both colds. Whether or not Brennan's dad bought that one, I had my doubts. He knew very well that even with two double beds in the room, we slept together cuddled up as we always did, and most likely wouldn't have been too cold. But, he didn't question us further. Even so, it would be a while before we would try drinking again.

That night, though, lying in bed, drunk off our twelve-year-old asses and giggling non-stop for no good reason, I had a 'moment.' It came upon me suddenly, with no warning, and I wasn't really sure what was going on.

"I love you, Brennan," I blurted out in a brief moment of seriousness.

Suddenly, Brennan stopped giggling, too, and the room was dead silent for what seemed like an eternity. In reality, it was probably only about four or five seconds.

"I love you, too, Grady," he said, matter-of-factly.

We both continued to lie there, saying nothing. I didn't know why I said that, or even what I meant by it. In fact, it was the first time I could ever recall saying those words. It was quite out of character for me, actually.

"You're drunk, man," Brennan giggled, breaking me out of my brief moment of self-reflection.

"So what?" I retorted. "So are you!"

"Why yes, yes I am," he said, in a horrible, faux British accent.

That caused us both to crack up again, but after a few more minutes of kicking each other under the sheets and slapping each other's asses, the alcohol finally got the best of us and we passed out.


All we could talk about on the ride back to Brennan's house was our upcoming trip to Williamsport. The previous summer, Brennan and I had sat and watched the entire Little League World Series extravaganza on television, talking about how cool it would be if we got to go the next year, be on television, meet kids from all over the world, and eat, sleep, and breathe nothing but baseball for nearly two weeks.

The Little League organization would also be giving us all brand new uniforms and equipment, which was going to be so awesome. Personally, I wasn't as excited as Brennan about the television part of the whole deal, but I was definitely looking forward to having a chance to meet "The Bulldog," Orel Hershiser, a former Major League pitching star and ESPN broadcaster. Maybe he'd even have a few pointers for me!

Our dream had finally come true, but the ride wasn't close to being over yet.

After winning the regionals, we didn't have too much time to bask in our own glory, as we had to be in Pennsylvania by that Wednesday afternoon for orientation, preparations, and practice. Fortunately, it didn't take too much effort from Mr. Bellinger to convince my parents to let me go. I had my sneaking suspicions that they were hoping that I would eventually become a rich and famous Major League pitcher and be able to hook them up for life. So, by Tuesday, Mr. Bellinger had already rented a tour bus to drive the whole team to Williamsport, our bags were packed, and we were ready to go, ready to represent the Midwest Region at the Little League World Series.

We were about to have the best ten days of our lives.

Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved. No parts of this story may be copied, reproduced, in print or in any other format, without express written consent from the author.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

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