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.


"'Cause I'm a Voodoo Child; Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child, baby; I want to say one more last thing, I didn't mean to take up all your sweet time ..."

The music was blasting as I walked out of the dugout and trotted over to the mound to start taking my practice throws. My adrenalin was pumping, but I just wasn't as focused as I usually was. I hadn't talked to David since the day before at breakfast. Even though I did see him that morning in the mess hall, sitting alone in the corner again, I couldn't get up enough courage to go over and talk to him. Brennan wasn't available to do my "dirty work" for me, either, as he was back in our room going through his pre-game ritual of ... well, that was personal, and I was the only one who was supposed to know about that.

I did see David look over at me a couple of times as he ate his cereal, but he didn't even wave or smile. Needless to say, I started to totally freak out. The rational part of my brain knew how silly it was to get so worked up over something so small, but the rational side of my brain wasn't exactly winning the battle with my hormones and emotions. It seemed like I had no control over my thoughts, and it was frustrating the hell out of me.

Why couldn't he come over and say something, or even just smile at me, so I wouldn't have to suffer like this? Did I say or do something to make him mad at me? Had I come on too strong?

This is way too much drama for a twelve-year-old kid! I thought to myself.

When I finished my warm-up throws, waiting for the umpire to signal for the game to start, Brennan trotted out to the mound.

"Dude, what's wrong with you?" he asked, as he pulled off his catcher's mask. "You're just lobbing the ball to me. Where's the heat, man?"

"I'm fine," I insisted. "Don't worry about it."

I was well aware that my fastball didn't have anything behind it, and my breaking ball wasn't breaking at all. I didn't completely understand what was going on with me, and I didn't know what I could do about it. I also wasn't about to talk about it with Brennan. I didn't think he would understand. Hell, if I didn't even understand it myself, how could I expect him to have a clue? No, this was something I needed to figure out on my own, but I just wished it could've waited until the most important baseball tournament of my life was over!

Probably realizing that I wasn't going to fess up, Brennan gave me one last pointed glance before putting on his mask and heading back to his position behind the plate.

The team from Massachusetts that we were playing today was supposed to be pretty good, but not the best team at the World Series. That position was supposedly occupied by the team from East Texas. I expected a reasonably easy victory, as long as our hitters were able to get me a few runs, and hopefully my pitching would come around.

I couldn't have been more wrong when the first pitch I threw, a fastball down the middle, was drilled into the gap in left-center field for a double. It was the first lead-off hit I'd given up all season. When the second batter drilled another fastball into center field for a base-hit, advancing the runner to third, Brennan ran out toward the mound again.

He looked extremely worried. "Bro, what the hell's wrong?".

"I don't know," I sighed, taking my hat off and wiping the sweat from my forehead with my arm.

"Just get some guys out, okay?" he said, patting me on the shoulder. "Just like we're throwing the ball back at home in the yard."

I nodded and put my cap back on as Brennan headed back behind the plate yet again.

As I was kicking around the dirt near the rubber and tossing the rosin bag around in my hand, I started to seriously worry that I could be facing my first defeat of the season, and in our most important game so far. There would certainly be questions afterward; questions I didn't know the answers to. How could I live with the disappointment of letting my team down, simply because I happened to be an emotional wreck?

I looked back toward the dugout to see if the coach had any signals for me. Something besides the coach's signals drew my attention, though. I saw David sitting right behind the dugout, waving shyly at me. He came to see me play!

I didn't start jumping up and down, because we were supposed to act professional on the field, but I sure as hell wanted to. This had to mean that he still liked me! Unfortunately, I had pitched myself into a jam, it was only the first inning, and we hadn't gotten a single out yet. I had to get my shit together and keep from embarrassing myself on national television, and especially in front of David. The other team already had two runners on, one of which was in scoring position. But, that was as far as I was going to let them get.

Oh, it's on now, bitches!  I thought to myself.

And with that, I shook out the last of the cobwebs from my head and started hurling the heat. I shook off Brennan's calls for my curveball, and the next three batters went down on strikes. I almost knocked Brennan down a few times with my velocity, and the last pitch I threw in the inning topped out at 80 mph. The batter took a wild swing and ended up landing on his butt to end the inning

As I walked back to the dugout, I looked up at David, who was sporting a huge grin, and gave him a little wave and a sheepish smile. I hoped he was enjoying the show so far. As for me, I was as giddy as a school girl.

"Way to go, baby," Mr. Bellinger congratulated me, smacking me hard on my butt as I walked into the dugout. I also got a quick hug from Brennan and a few high-fives as I grabbed a cup of Gatorade and went to take my seat.

The rest of the game went like clock-work. I was averaging over 75 mph on my fastballs, and tossing in a few nasty curveballs to mess with the batters' timing. Several batters got so pissed after swinging and missing at my 55 mph curveball that they threw their bats, and got told off by the home plate umpire and their coaches. I felt bad for them, especially since a few of them were really cute, but I was out there to win.

Well, to win and to impress David, to be more accurate, I thought.

At the plate, I also managed to hit a clutch single with two outs in the fifth inning to knock in a run. By the time we were finished, the score was 5-0 in our favor, and I'd managed to strike out eleven batters, finishing all six innings and earning yet another shut-out. When our team rushed onto the field after the victory, I avoided the pile-up and immediately darted over to David. I was happy to have won and all, but at that moment, seeing him was a little more important to me. Plus, this was only the first game of the tournament -- it wasn't like we'd just won the whole thing ... yet.

"Dude, you were amazing out there!" he shrieked. "How in the hell do you throw like that?"

I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled, trying not to look too proud of what I'd just done.

I thought David looked so cute when he was happy and smiling. And, after hearing about the kind of life he'd had, right then it made me feel like a million bucks just to be able to make him smile and see him so animated, not like the shy, scared little kid I'd met that first night out by the field.

"I hope we don't have to go against you guys. I'd probably poop my pants if I saw one of those fastballs coming at me," he giggled.

"So, are you guys playing today?" I asked, trying to turn the subject of the conversation away from me. If there was something I didn't want, it was for David to think I was arrogant or anything. That was something Mr. Bellinger had always tried to impress upon me. "Humility and compassion are what makes a real man, Grady," he often said to Brennan and me.

"Yeah, we go out there in a couple hours," he said, with a shrug. "But, I'm not starting. Coach'll probably put me in as a pinch hitter later in the game, though."

Little League rules said that every player on a team had to get at least one at-bat and play three consecutive outs in the field every game, so that meant every kid, even the ones who weren't as good, all got a chance to play. I thought it was a pretty good rule, for the most part. But, if you still had players to substitute toward the end of a game, and it was really close, sometimes you had to take your better players out, which could definitely suck.

"Do you maybe wanna hang out with us after your game?" I asked. "Coach is gonna take us to McDonald's, and then we're just gonna hang out and watch some movies, or something like that."

"I dunno," he answered. "I'll have to ask my coach."

"I can ask my coach to talk to him, if you want," I suggested. I was sure Mr. Bellinger would be all for it when I told him how David's teammates treated him. Mr. Bellinger hated bullying.

"Sure!" he beamed. "But I've gotta go get changed for the game. I'll come find you when we're done!"

As he ran off, I felt like I was floating in the clouds. In a matter of just a couple hours, I'd gone from feeling utterly dejected, thinking David didn't want to have anything to do with me anymore, to being so excited that I was afraid I was going to wet myself.

By the time we got back to The Grove and got showered and changed, it was still only two o'clock in the afternoon, since our game had started in the late morning. So, we still had all day to hang out and have fun. After changing into my swimming trunks, I made my way to the pool. When I got there, I saw dozens of kids already splashing around, screaming at the top of their lungs, jumping off the diving board, and dunking each other. Apparently, some of the kids had a bit too much sugar that morning at breakfast. It was pure pandemonium.

I spotted my little buddy from the Chinese Taipei team, Jacky, hitting a beach ball back and forth with the rest of his teammates in the pool. All of them were wearing tiny little Speedos. I wouldn't have been caught dead in one of those things, but if it worked for them, I didn't care.

"Grady!" he shrieked, as soon as he saw me. He quickly jumped out of the pool and practically pounced on me.

"Hey, Jacky, what's up?" I giggled, trying to extricate myself carefully from his vice-like grip, which was a little hard to do, considering he was all wet and slippery from just getting out of the water.

"You play with us?" he asked, literally jumping up and down.

"Uhhh ... sure, why not," I shrugged, amused and a little flattered by his exuberance.

Before I realized what was happening, he'd grabbed me by the arm and swung me into the pool. As I came up sputtering and gasping for air, several screaming Chinese kids came bounding into the pool after me and immediately started splashing me. Their over-abundance of energy was a bit too much for me, though, so after a few minutes, I managed to climb out of the pool, grab my towel, and start drying off.

"You no want play with us?" I heard Jacky ask from behind me.

I turned around and my heart almost broke when I saw the pathetic look on his face.

"Yeah, I do," I said, trying to reassure him. "But can we do something else? We just finished a game, so I'm a little tired."

"We play PS2!" he shouted, quickly joined by his teammates who had all gathered around us by that time.

That was much more agreeable to me, since it wouldn't involve running around or getting dunked anymore. So, I went back to our room and quickly changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. When I got back to the games room, I realized that the kids from Chinese Taipei apparently didn't have as much modesty, as they stayed in just their tiny Speedos, not even bothering to cover themselves with a towel.

As we sat down to start playing, I was pretty confident. I'd thought I was pretty good at playing PS2, especially the baseball games, but I got spanked like a red-headed step-child. After a couple of hours, I'd had enough and excused myself to go back to my room and rest for a few minutes before we were supposed to head out to McDonald's. The thought of inviting my new friends had crossed my mind, but I guess I was feeling selfish, because I didn't want to be distracted from my time with David. I did have a great time, though, and would definitely be hanging out with them again ... although I figured smaller doses might be better.


As I was lying on my bed with my eyes closed, going through the morning's game in my mind, I felt someone's presence hovering over me.

"Hey," David said quietly, as I opened my eyes. "What's up?"

I noticed that this was the first time I'd seen David without his baseball cap. His sandy-colored hair looked so shiny and soft, I wondered why he covered it up all the time with his hat. I also noticed how nicely he was dressed, wearing a blue and grey-striped button down shirt and a pair of cargo pants. As for me, I was wearing a ratty old t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Now, I was starting to feel a little under-dressed, even if we were only going to McDonald's.

"Hey, man, how did your game go?" I asked, trying to get my attention away from how good he looked.

"Eh, it was alright," he sighed. "I struck out the one time I got to the plate, but at least I didn't fuck up in the outfield."

I wanted to give him a few words of encouragement, but I wasn't exactly sure what to say. I didn't seem to be as good as Brennan at that kind of thing.

"So, can you go hang out with us tonight?" I asked, after a few moments of uncomfortable silence.

David suddenly looked unsure. "Do you think Brennan will mind? I mean, don't you think he'd like to spend some time with his best friend?"

Speaking of Brennan, I hadn't seen him since the end of our game. I felt a little bad about that, since he and I were always together, but I'd already made so many new friends here, and I got to see Brennan every day back home. Plus, he was the one who wanted me to make new friends, right?

"Nah, he's cool," I finally said. "C'mon, it'll be fun."

With that, I pulled on my shoes and we headed downstairs. I was really excited, but as we climbed into the van, I noticed the other kids looking at us strangely.

"What's he doing here?" Rory sneered, not even trying to hide the contempt in his voice.

I wanted to smack him upside the head as soon as he opened his big mouth. How did he expect David to feel after asking something like that? If it was that big of a problem, he could have at least waited to pull me aside and ask me later, when David wasn't around. What a jerk!

"Back off, Rory," Brennan jumped in. "He's gonna hang with us."

I could have kissed Brennan right then, my best friend coming to my defense as he always did. And, Rory wasn't about to pick a fight with Brennan, so he just rolled his eyes and went back to chatting with the other guys. I only tolerated Rory because I thought he was cute ... errr, because he was a really good ball player. But, I was quickly realizing that that wasn't enough to make up for his shitty attitude.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," David whispered. "I should just go back; it's not a big deal."

"No, I want you to come with us!" I insisted. "Trust me, they're just being stupid."

I looked over at Brennan, hoping that he would agree with me and set David's mind at ease, but by that time, he was staring quietly out of the window.

Once we got to McDonald's and ordered our food, Brennan sat with David and me, intentionally apart from the other kids, and we filled each other in on what we'd done that afternoon while stuffing our faces with Big Macs, fries, and McNuggets. Brennan had spent most of the afternoon at the pool, while I was inside playing video games with the kids from the Chinese Taipei team. He didn't seem to be all that hurt that I had left him, but he certainly wasn't his usual, cheerful self.

On our way back to the van, Brennan gave me an odd look when I told him that David would be spending the evening in our room watching movies with us and hanging out. I really hoped that David didn't see that look, especially after what had happened in the van with Rory. I'd be sure to talk to Brennan about it later when David wasn't around. If he was going to start acting weird about my hanging out with David, I needed to deal with it. Brennan and I were a team, both on and off the field, and if we were going to be successful, we had to be totally in synch. We'd had issues before, but we'd always managed to work them out, so I was pretty hopeful this would pass, too.

Once we got back to our room, everyone plopped onto their bunks while Mr. Bellinger loaded one of the DVDs he'd brought into the player. With everyone on their own beds, though, David didn't have a place to sit, unless he was going to sit on the hard linoleum floor. So, I moved over on my bunk and patted the spot next to me. David hesitated for a moment, but eventually kicked off his shoes and climbed onto the bed next to me. Being so shy and all, and especially with all the other kids there, I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd chosen the floor. And, even though the other kids were pretty used to Brennan and me being so close all the time, it might have made David a little uncomfortable.

As we got settled, almost instinctively, I placed my arm across David's lower back and scooted closer to him. After all, that was how Brennan and I always watched movies together, so why shouldn't I do the same with my new friend, too?

However, as soon as I touched him, I felt him tense up and saw him quickly look over his shoulder to see if the other kids had noticed. With Jackie Chan having already made his big entrance on the screen, though, I knew where their eyes would be focused. Finally, after telling him it was okay, David seemed to relax a little, although he didn't put his arm around me as I had been hoping. At least he was there with me, though, so I was content.

Nearly two hours later, when the movie ended, David said goodnight and got up to head back to his room. Surprisingly, a couple of the guys even said "see ya" to him. As soon as he'd closed the door behind him, though, I heard the distinctive voice of Dalton, one of the biggest assholes on our team, and Rory's best friend. As for who was the bigger asshole, that was a tough call. They were both pretty damn good at being pricks.

"So, is that, like, your boyfriend?" he laughed from across the room.

"Fuck off, dip-shit!" I shouted back. I was starting to get really fed up with people's attitudes about David. He was my friend, for fuck's sake, so leave it alone already!

I was waiting for Brennan to say something, to come to my defense as he would usually do, but there wasn't a peep from the top bunk.

"Shut up, Dalton," I finally heard Conner say. "You're just jealous 'cause no one would want to be friends with an asshole like you."

"Whatever, dude. You're the jealous one, 'cause you'll never get any of this," he smirked at Conner, grabbing his own crotch.

"Whatever, like your two-inch hairless dick would do much for anyone," Conner shot back. I was a little surprised at how spunky he'd gotten.

I'd had just about enough of Dalton's attitude, though, and since Brennan hadn't come to the rescue yet, I was carefully weighing my own options for a comeback.

"Lights out, boys," Mr. Bellinger announced, coming into the room in just the nick of time. For a minute there, I was worried that this could get a little out of hand.


Saturday was an off-day for us, but we still had to practice. As usual, my emotions were a mess. I'd had such a great time with David the night before, but Dalton's comments really pissed me off. At least David hadn't heard it this time, though. The other thing that had me upset was Brennan's silence when I thought he would stick up for me.

Was he jealous of David? I didn't really think it was that likely. After all, Brennan had always told me I needed to be more out-going and make more friends. Isn't this what he wanted, then? And, if he didn't think I was being a very good friend to him lately, he hadn't been doing so great himself, either, after that damn "truth or dare" game on the bus, and keeping his whole make-out session with Jenna a secret from me. I had just as good of a reason to be pissed with him as he did with me ... if he was pissed, that is.

As it turned out, I was playing catch with the one-and-only Dalton during practice, since Brennan was working with Rory, who would be the starting pitcher for our next game. Even though I wasn't available to pitch, because I'd already thrown a complete game the day before, I still had to toss the ball around to keep my arm loose. As soon as Mr. Bellinger paired me up with Dalton, though, I knew there would be trouble.

"Looks like your little girlfriend is jealous, Grady," he said, smirking.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I shot back.

"Brennan is jealous that you're fucking around with that new kid," he explained, shrugging.

I could have just ignored him, but I wanted to put a stop to all this crap once and for all. And, Brennan wasn't jealous -- he couldn't be. Everything was fine!

"First of all, Brennan is not my girlfriend," I retorted, feeling my face starting to flush. "And secondly, he's not jealous, 'cause there's nothing to be jealous about. David is just a kid I met the other day."

"Whatever, dude," he said, rolling his eyes. "Just tell me one thing, though -- are you the pitcher in bed, too?"

"Why are you such an asshole?" I asked, getting angrier and angrier by the second. He was really starting to cross the line here.

"All I'm doin' is pointing out the facts, man. Don't get all pissy."

"Fuck you!" I shouted, as I reared back and fired the hardest fastball I could muster.

In the blink of an eye, the ball reached Dalton and he went down.

"Jesus Christ, Grady! What the hell happened?" I heard Mr. Bellinger shout from across the field.

I looked at Dalton lying there, writhing around on the ground, and instantly regretted what I had done. In seconds, Mr. Bellinger and Coach Penney were at his side, checking to see how badly he was hurt.

"Dude, what the fuck?" I heard Brennan say from beside me.

I just shrugged my shoulders. I didn't know what to say. I got pissed and just snapped. Dalton had insulted me and my best friend. What else was I supposed to do?

About five minutes later, Dalton was back on his feet and shaking it off. I was in deep shit, though.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Grady?" Mr. Bellinger questioned me, as he dragged me by the scruff of the neck to the side of the field.

"I'm sorry, Coach," I said, tears forming in my eyes. "He was sayin' really mean stuff to me, like Brennan was my 'boyfriend' and I was fucking with David."

"Don't use that kind of language, son," he warned me.

As if the situation couldn't get any worse than it already had, it suddenly did.

"I'm not your son!" I shouted back.

I wasn't sure where that came from, or why I had reacted so violently, but Mr. Bellinger had just struck a nerve and I was pissed, so I threw down my glove, flicked off the still-stunned Dalton, and stomped off back toward The Grove. I needed to get out of there before I did anything even more stupid ... or dangerous.

The boys from the Chinese Taipei team were hanging out in the games room when I got there, but I ignored their cheery greetings and headed straight up to our room, plopped down on my bunk, and went to sleep. If I was asleep, at least I could forget about how much of a mess today had been so far.

Not long after, I awoke to Mr. Bellinger sitting down on my bed and gently shaking me.

"Hey," I said, as I tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes.

"What happened out there, bud?" he asked.

"I don't know," I sighed. "I just got pissed."

"That's not like you, Grady. I'm really disappointed," he admonished. "But, even though I know that was pretty out of character for you, I can't let what happened go unanswered."

"What do you mean?" I asked. He couldn't take me out of the game, could he? That would have been my worst nightmare come true. Not only would I be disappointed that I couldn't play, but I'd be letting my team down. I knew how important I was to us winning, especially now that we'd made it all the way here.

"Even though you can't pitch tomorrow anyway, you were still going to be starting the game at first base. That's over with now; you'll be sitting on the bench. I'd bench you for the whole game, but Little League rules say that every player has to bat at least once and play one whole inning on the field, so you'll go into the game later," he explained.

I was devastated.

"And that's not it," he added. "You may not be pitching the next game, either. We'll see how things go."

That was what I had feared the most. The worst possible punishment he could give me would be to not let me pitch. I wanted to try to defend myself, try to explain how much of an ass Dalton and Rory had been, how they had picked on me and David. But, I was too worn out to even try arguing, so I just nodded begrudgingly and leaned back on the bed, trying to keep myself from bawling my eyes out.

"A big part of the whole Little League experience is teamwork and sportsmanship, bud, and you didn't do so hot with that today," he said.

I knew he was right and there wasn't much I could say to that. I'd fucked up. Deep down inside, I knew I was totally out of line, even if Dalton had been a total prick. I would just have to accept my fate.

Later that night, as I was sitting on my bed reading a book by myself, while the other kids were downstairs hanging out, I looked up to see David standing in the doorway.

"What's up?" I asked, putting my book down. David was pretty much the only person I didn't mind seeing.

"I heard what happened today. Are you okay?" David looked more concerned than he probably needed to be. I didn't need anyone's sympathy. I was the one who had fucked up.

"I'm fine, but Coach might not let me pitch," I answered.

"Shit, that sucks," he said, inching further into the room and eventually sitting down on the bed next to me.

He said it all right there ... it really sucked.

"Hey," I began, a brilliant idea suddenly coming to me. "I think I saw a movie theater not far from here on our way into town. You feel like going?"

David looked at me like I was nuts. "There's no way they'd let us go, Grady."

"I know," I shrugged. "So, let's sneak out. I really need to get away from here for a while."

"Aren't you already in enough trouble?" he asked.

Yes, I was in trouble already, and probably could get in even more trouble if I did something like sneaking out. It wasn't exactly something I would have ever thought of doing before, but so many things seemed to have been changing in my life anyway. My emotions and hormones were in a constant state of turmoil, I had apparently developed a nasty temper, and I had become infatuated with a boy I had just met. I couldn't explain any of it, but one thing that did seem clear to me at that moment was that getting to be with David right now was more important than anything -- maybe even more important than baseball.

Not to mention, I was a little tired of being the "good kid" all the time. I didn't want to grow up without having any wild and crazy experiences to look back on. While sneaking off to the movies wasn't exactly "wild and crazy," it was a start. Plus, it meant getting to spend some time alone with David. I knew Brennan would probably have a fit when he found out, since I knew I was jeopardizing our team by getting into even more trouble, but there had been a weird vibe between us for the past few days anyway, and I needed to get my mind off of that for a while.

"C'mon, it'll be fine," I tried to persuade him, and perhaps trying to persuade myself at the same time.


In the early evening twilight, we carefully made our way toward the town's main thoroughfare, barely escaping the Little League compound without being caught. We weren't wearing anything that might give us away as Little Leaguers, lest someone wonder why two players were walking down the street by themselves and place a call to The Grove.

As we were walking, I found myself staring at David from behind, noticing the way his jeans hugged his hips tightly, with his Old Navy boxer shorts barely peaking out. I'd noticed Brennan's butt before and always thought it was cute. And, of course, I'd noticed Rory's naked butt in the shower. But, there was just something about this view of David that was so ... attractive. Brennan's and Rory's butts were pretty small. David's butt wasn't "big" by any means, but it was fuller and rounder. I thought it was definitely a cute butt. It didn't go unnoticed by me, either, that it was kind of strange that I would be comparing guys' butts, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop staring, and kept imagining what he might look like wearing just his boxers, and then ... wearing nothing.

Jesus, Grady, you've got to stop thinking like that! I thought, mentally smacking myself. I seriously needed to get a grip.

The walk to the movie theater was shorter than I had expected, which was a relief, since the evening air was hot and humid, and I hadn't thought to bring any water with me. Also, once we were sitting down, I wouldn't be able to stare at David's butt anymore.

Luck was on our side when we managed to get into a PG-13 movie without the ditzy-looking blonde girl at the box office asking our age. There weren't any movies either of us were dying to see, but that wasn't the point of going to the theater ... at least, not for me. Tonight was all about getting away from everything for a while, away from the mess that I had created earlier, and mostly, getting to spend some time alone with David.

The air-conditioning in the theater felt good after our long hike, and after buying a couple of Cokes and some Junior Mints, we settled into our seats near the front of the theater. There were a lot more people than I had expected, but nothing was going to spoil this night for me. As the house lights went down and the previews began, an unseen force overtook me, and I found myself hesitantly reaching toward David's hand. In the instant that my hand made contact with his, my stomach was doing somersaults, my whole body was shaking, and I was sweating more than I ever had out on the baseball field. I was preparing myself for his reaction, and probably rejection. But, I couldn't help myself. I needed to touch him, no matter the consequences.

And then it happened ... his hand squeezed back.

I felt like a thousand pound weight had just been lifted off my chest and I let out a deep breath of relief. And, instead of sitting there and wondering about the implications of what had just happened, why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and what might come next, I decided to just let go and enjoy it, at least for a couple hours. In that moment, I felt like I had already won the World Series.

By the time the movie was over, almost two hours later, our hands were still locked together. We hadn't even broken our grip to wipe off our sweaty palms, which, by that time, were feeling pretty gross. But, I was terrified of breaking that magic spell, so I didn't dare let go. Something was happening, and I wanted to hold on to that for as long as I could. The whole time, my mind had been focused on nothing but the feeling of our joined hands. It was as if for those two hours, our hands were the center of the universe, and nothing else existed. If anyone had asked me later what I had thought of the movie, I wouldn't have had a clue.

On the walk back to the Little League complex, neither of us said a word, and that anxious feeling started creeping back. I was scared that David would think what had just happened was weird. I certainly knew that boys our age didn't do that kind of thing ... hold hands, that is. Unfortunately, I still didn't have a clue what it meant. Sure, I'd held hands with Brennan before, but this wasn't the same. When Brennan had held my hand, it felt comforting, familiar, and safe; this felt ... electric.

I tried my hardest to make sense of all the mixed up emotions in my head, tried to understand everything I was thinking and feeling, but every time I tried too hard, I ended up with a headache ... or I just didn't want to face what was right in front of me. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling. It made me confused, was even physically painful sometimes. But, at the same time, it felt good, too. I wanted it to go away and to stay with me, both at the same time. Was I losing my mind?

"I had a really good time tonight," David whispered as we neared The Grove. It was the first words either of us had spoken since we'd first sat down at the movie theater.

"Really?" I asked, somewhat surprised. "It wasn't ... uhhh ... weird, or anything?"

"Nah, it was cool," he replied, with a shy smile. "Really cool."

As I stood there, feeling like I couldn't be any happier, my mind suddenly came crashing back to reality when I realized that we would now have to face the consequences of what we'd done. In fact, that was the first time the thought of "we" had even entered my mind. It never occurred to me before that David could get into big trouble, too. Up until then, I'd only thought about what would happen to me, and that made me feel like a selfish asshole.

"Dude, I'm really sorry," I apologized. "You're gonna be in deep shit, too, aren't you?"

David shrugged. "Probably not. If I just tell Coach about it, he'll probably be cool with it. He's a really laid-back guy, and he knows that it hasn't been easy for me this season with the guys and all."

"You're so lucky," I sighed. "My coach probably won't let me play ever again. I am so screwed."

"Then why did you do it?" He asked, cocking his head slightly to one side. God, he looked so cute!

"I wanted to spend some time with you," I admitted, terrified of looking him in the eyes.

Before I had a chance to sneak a peak at his face and gauge his reaction to my words, David pulled me into a quick hug.

"See ya tomorrow," he said, giving me one last, small smile, as he headed into the building.

I stood there motionless for several minutes, trying to get my brain to process everything that had happened. Would my secret outing with David be worth the shit storm I was certain to face?

I was about to find out.


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, aren't I?"

"You should be," he said. "But, Brennan covered for you. You're a lucky little fuck."

"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 changed."

Rory shrugged. "You showed some balls today with what you did to Dalton."

"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. That's cool."

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 at him.

"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 leave.

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 conversation 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 the shower.

"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 at me."

"Go to sleep, Grady," he answered, his voice now starting to sound agitated.

"C'mon, Brennan, I love you," I said, not caring anymore if anyone heard me.

"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, I typed.

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.

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

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