I wasn't sure what I was expecting,
but when I got back to our room, nothing seemed to be out of the
ordinary. A few kids were watching television, a few more were in the
midst of what looked like a very intense card game, and the rest were
just chilling on their beds. Brennan looked up from the book he was
reading and made eye contact with me, but quickly looked away. What was that all about?
I wasn't ready to deal with that drama yet, though. I was tired
and sweaty from the long walk, and needed to get a shower before I
could deal with anything else.
I grabbed my towel and headed into the bathroom. The bottom of my
stomach almost dropped out when I saw Rory standing under the shower
soaping himself up. I had been hoping that I would be alone, since it
was already past the time when most of the kids took their showers.
Now, I was going to be stuck in there with Rory, someone who I held a
strong, confusing attraction to, and who was also one of my two
tormenters on the team.
"Where the hell have you been?" he asked, wiping the water off of his
face as he turned to face me.
I swallowed the lump in my throat as I looked him over. In my eyes, he
was nearly perfect, everything I wished I could be ... except for his
personality, of course.
"Out," I replied, not intending to give him any information about where
I had been, or with whom.
"Out where?" he pressed.
I really wasn't in the mood to get into it with Rory, especially since
he was standing there as naked as the day he was born, and I wasn't too
confident that I could keep my own body under control. So, I decided to
just tell him, and let the proverbial chips fall where they may. At
least he might be able to give me a bit of a heads-up on what kind
of trouble I was going to be in.
"I went to the movies with a friend," I answered, then paused for a
moment before asking the question of the hour. "I'm in deep shit,
"You should be," he said. "But, Brennan covered for you. You're a lucky
"He what?" I asked, shocked
that Brennan would do that when it seemed like he was pissed at me.
Normally, I wouldn't be surprised that Brennan would cover for me. I
would've done the same for him. But, he'd been acting so weird lately,
I wasn't really sure what to expect from him now.
"He told Coach that you were out running laps," he continued. "He
seemed to buy it, so you're off the hook."
I let out a long sigh of relief. Maybe things wouldn't be as bad as I'd
feared. And, if Brennan had covered for me, maybe he wasn't really
pissed at me.
"Did you go out with that kid from the Southeast team?" he asked.
I hesitated again for a moment before answering. "Yeah, I did."
"That's cool," Rory said, as he turned away and started to dry himself
off. My eyes were
glued to his lithe frame, and I found myself wondering what David would
look like drying himself off.
Snapping myself back to reality, I realized that Rory wasn't being a
dick at the moment. He was actually being nice ... sort of.
"What's with you all of a sudden?" I asked, a little confused by this
new side of Rory.
He looked up at me again and raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"You're not being an asshole," I replied simply.
"You're cool, bro," he said. "I don't have a problem with you."
"You've always been a dick before," I pointed out. "Something must've
Rory shrugged. "You showed some balls today with what you did to
"So, you respect me for hurting someone?" I asked, a little shocked,
especially since Dalton was supposed to be his best friend.
"Not for hurting him," he answered. "But, you stuck up for yourself.
I wasn't really sure what to say to that, and I wasn't exactly used to
having an actual "conversation" with Rory, so I left it at that and
focused on my shower.
When I was finished, I noticed that Rory was still sitting there. At
least he was dressed now, so I wouldn't be so tempted to stare
"You have any tips for me pitching tomorrow?" he asked suddenly.
Now, I was really surprised. Not only was Rory not being a dick, he was
actually asking me for
advice. Rory had always thought he was the better pitcher, and always
seemed to think he was in some kind of competition with me, even though
we were on the same team.
"I dunno," I shrugged, drying myself with my towel. "Just keep
changing speeds; confuse them as much as you can."
"Cool, man, thanks," he said, giving me a small smile as he got up to
This had definitely been one of the weirder days of my life. I'd lost
my temper and beaned Dalton, got in huge trouble with Mr. Bellinger,
snuck out with David to go see a movie, and had a semi-normal
with Rory. I was so confused and weirded out by everything, I just
wanted to go to sleep and give my poor mind a rest.
I still had one more thing to do, though. I
had to make sure things with Brennan were cool, or I knew I wouldn't be
able to sleep. As much as I was infatuated with David, Brennan was
still the most important boy in my life.
"Thanks for covering for me," I said, looking up at him on his bunk. He
was playing with his Sony Playstation Portable, his hair still wet from
"Whatever, dude," he muttered, not even bothering to look at me.
"Is something wrong?" I asked, starting to get really worried now. I
knew I could get paranoid about things, but I had a feeling I wasn't
over-reacting this time. There was definitely something wrong here.
"Leave me alone, Grady," he said, shutting off the game and turning
away from me.
"Please, Brennan," I begged, my voice barely above a whisper for fear
of attracting any unwanted attention from the other kids. "Please don't
do this to me. You know I'm not gonna be able to sleep if you're pissed
"Go to sleep, Grady," he answered, his voice now starting to sound
"C'mon, Brennan, I love you," I said, not caring anymore if anyone
"Fuck off, man!" he shouted, turning around and giving me the angriest
glare I'd ever seen from him.
At that point, I took a quick look over my shoulder and saw everyone
looking at us. Obviously, Brennan didn't want to talk right now, and
there wasn't much I could say or do with everyone else around. So, I
had to just suck it up, go to bed, and hope that he'd at least talk to
me the next day. My elation from a couple of hours ago was completely
gone by now,
and I was miserable again.
As I pulled up my covers, I had one more idea. I pulled out my cell
phone, last year's Christmas gift from Brennan and his dad, and started
typing a text message to Brennan. He always slept with his phone under
his pillow, so I knew he would get the message right away.
I'm sorry. Please don't be mad at me,
As soon as I hit "send," I heard Brennan's phone beep. I waited ... and
waited ... and waited. I was hoping he would send me some kind of
message, give me some kind of reassurance, at least tell me we would
talk about it tomorrow. But nothing.
Sleep would be a long time coming.