STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!

Copyright 2002 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

This is the final episode of Pockeful of Stars. Thanks ganymedestx, Jayne and Papyrophile for editing and providing moral support. Thanks to all the readers who took the time to write with their thoughts and comments. I read and respond to all emails.

At this time I do not have a sequel planned.

Pocketful of Stars

By Nick Archer


I was riding my bike up to Troy’s house. I always have to pedal hard to get up the hill.

Out of breath, I paused at the top of the hill to look out over the lake before I went inside his house.

It’s been a pretty quiet fall. The sun is shining brightly and it makes the lake glitter. The trees surrounding the lake have turned all sorts of colors - red, yellow, orange and brown. It will be my first winter in Williams Bay.

School is going good. Williams Bay High is a small school. ‘Course, Williams Bay is a small town once all the tourists go home for the winter.

Anyway, it took some getting used to. But I like it. The teachers all know me, even if I’m not in their classes. You can actually talk to your teachers because they have time for you. There’s even one teacher sort of like Mrs. Blaisdell.

Living with dad is great! OK, I lied. It’s good, but he can still be a pain in the ass sometimes. He has to do all those dad-like things they teach in Parent’s School like nag. But I still love him. We still have a great time together. He has promised to teach me how to ski and maybe he’ll send me to snowboarding lessons.

I worry about him sometimes, though. It can’t be easy being gay in Williams Bay. It’s not like there’s a lot of bars or places to meet other guys. Dad always tells me not to worry, "being single is OK at this point in his life." I wonder about it. But then, if he was dating or seeing someone, he would have less time for me. So I guess I won’t press the issue too much.

I miss my mom, but I talk to her pretty often. She’s driving Cindy and Carrie up for the Columbus Day weekend to visit. I’m actually looking forward to it. I get along better with Cindy and Carrie more now than I ever did. Maybe it’s because we don’t live under the same roof anymore. Or maybe it’s because I’m looking at them from a different perspective.

Mom told me that Josh turned into a big druggie. He’s like a major stoner now. He wears all black and those super-baggy jeans (that my dad will never let me buy.) He even got his nose pierced! That’s sick! What happens when you sneeze? I always wanted to know that.

Anyway, she says (and this is confirmed by Carrie, who’s in eighth grade now) that he’s a major freak. He dropped out of all athletics. I feel sorry for him. I wonder what would have happened if I had gone back to Bloomington. Would I have been able to help him?

Ruth told me that I probably wouldn’t have been able to help him. Yeah, I see Ruth once in a while - maybe three or four times, tops since August. She’s excellent to talk to because she doesn’t make me feel guilty and because she talks to me like I’m an adult even though I’m a boy. I just go once in a while when I need someone to help me sort stuff out. Like Dad says, "just to polish off the rough edges." She helps me out a lot.

I think about Paul, too, sometimes. Mom says he pretty much keeps to himself these days. She said he’s moving to another apartment at the end of the semester. I miss him a lot, but when I think of him I get this sort of weird feeling in my stomach. I hope he figures out what he wants in life.

I never talked to Dennis again. He’s at St. Luke’s as we speak, and I never hear from him. I hope he’s OK. I hope there’s someone who can help him. He has a lot of potential. He’s like a star ready to explode into a supernova. If he ever works through all his problems, he’ll be brilliant.

And then there’s Troy. I always wanted a brother. And now I have one. Troy is my brother even though we have different parents. We’re like twin stars rotating around one another.

I love Troy. Just between you and me, sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to have Troy as a boyfriend. He’s handsome, and caring and sexy and funny. And he lets me hug him. But only if no one else is around. Sometimes, he even cuddles with me.

But, he made it very, very clear to me that we are never going to become an item. He told me that he loves me like a brother but not as a lover. At first I was hurt and disappointed, but then I figured it was better to have Troy as a friend than not at all.

Troy defended me once in school. This asshole junior was going to beat me up, but Troy defended me. I owe him a lot.

He’s always trying to fix me up, too. We’ll be sitting in the cafeteria at school, and he’ll point out guys to me. "What about him? He’s cute." Or, "John keeps looking at you. Maybe you should ask him out." If only it were that easy! Like I said, Williams Bay is a small school, and I don’t think there’s anyone else here who is gay. Unless you count Lester Biggs. He’s a senior and he’s a flaming queen. I mean major, extra-alarm flaming queen. I’m not attracted to him at all. I punch Troy in the arm when he jokes that I should ask Lester for a date.

It’s OK, I don’t mind being single. I can spend more time on my studies. I want to get into the University of Chicago, and you have to have really, really good grades to do that. So, I’m OK with not having a boyfriend. Really.

You want to know if Troy and I are doing it? Man, are you nosey! That’s none of your business!

OK, I admit that I’d want to know, too. Yeah, we do. But only once in a while. It’s only happened a couple of times.

I’m looking out over the lake. Because it’s October, the sun sets about six o’clock at this time of year, and it’s just about that time now.

I see a streak of light across the eastern sky. It’s a shooting star. Of course, I know and you know that it’s not really a star. It’s a meteorite. The brightness comes from the flames as a piece of interstellar rock and ice burns up in our atmosphere. But, to me, it’s still a star. Plus the song Catch a Falling Star just wouldn’t sound right as Catch A Meteorite or Catch A Falling Piece of Space Junk.

When you look at things too closely and too clearly, it ruins the romance. That’s another thing I learned this summer. Sometimes, it’s look at things a little out of focus. That way, they still sparkle.

I held my hand out toward the sky, pretend to grab the shooting star, and tucked it in my pocket.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. I read and respond to all email (even if it takes a few days) Just click on one of the links below. And don't forget to check out my website (Chapters are always posted there earlier than here) and my other stories here on Nifty, Paternal Insticts/Family Instincts/Thicker Than Water in Relationships section and The Cooksville Chronicles in Historical.

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