Slowly, my cheeks burning, I stood up and shuffled out of the door. I started home. Cody's room was on the other side of their house from my house, or I would have been staring at his window. Even so, I did look back just before I walked around the bend and trees would block my way. I saw Cody looking at me from James's window. I stopped walking and smiled at him; he smiled back. After just a second, though, he turned away and I saw him run across the room. I guess his mom was coming.

I went back to my house, flopped on my bed, and basically just laid there and fumed. I don't remember any specific thoughts from that hour or two; I just remember a vague rage.

After some time, I heard the front door open. "Nick?" I heard my dad shout from the front hall. I didn't say anything.

I heard him come up the stairs and to my door. "Nick?" he asked again, his tone harsher.

He replied to my silence with "Nicholas! Open this door! I know you're in there!" He tried the door knob, but I had locked it.

He waited only ten seconds or so before he pounded into his own room. I knew he was getting the key, but didn't move.

I heard the knob click, and my door slammed open.

"Nicholas! Get up this instant!"

I didn't move. I was just angry.

He reached down and grabbed me under the arms. He forced me bodily to my feet and marched me into his room. I didn't resist, just didn't help either.

I was pushed onto the bed. He rearranged me so that my butt was pointing into the air, then he pulled my shorts down. That is, he tried to; I was wearing a belt.

He growled and reached around my waist to undo my belt. I didn't move. He took off my belt, pulled down both my shorts and my underwear, then hit me with my own belt. I clenched my teeth in pain. He had never done this to me, ever. He had never even spanked me.

"So you're a little fag, huh?"

I didn't say anything, and he whipped me again. I felt tears coming to my eyes.

"You'll answer my questions, boy, or you'll get it worse. Answer me: are you a little fag?"

I didn't say anything, and he whipped me again, twice. I couldn't help it; I let out a little cry.

"Are you a fag, boy?"

"No!" I said.

"Liar!" he screamed, and whipped me again. One of the tears fell from my eye to his sheet.

"Are you a fucking little fag?" he asked, whipping me on the "fag."

"No," I repeated, weaker.

"Yes you are! You're a fucking fag!" He whipped me three more times. I was beyond little cries now; I actually screamed on the third. The pain was more intense than anything I had ever felt before. Breaking my arm in a fall when I was seven didn't compare, didn't even come close.

Hoping for a little relief, I whispered, "Yes, I'm a fag."

"That's right! You're a fucking fag!" he repeated, but didn't whip me this time. "So did you suck his cock, fag? Did you suck that twelve year old's cock?"

"No," I managed weakly.

"That's not true, is it?" he "asked," and whipped me. "You're a little cocksucker, aren't you fag?"

"Yes," I whispered. "Yes, I am."

"Did you like it?"


"Did you take him up your ass, fagot?"

Hoping he wouldn't whip me, I replied, "Yes."

"Did you like it?"


"You loved it, didn't you? You loved his little tiny pansy cock up your ass, didn't you, queer?"


"Well, let's see how you like this up your ass!" he shouted, and walked to his dresser. I was crying softly on the bed. The pain was unbearable.

I heard my mom's voice from the doorway: "Herb..."

"What?" he snapped.

"Don't do it."

"Why not? He's a little faggot and no son of mine!"

"If you do it," my mom said quietly, "I'll leave and I won't come back."

There was silence for a moment. I don't know what either of them was doing, because my face was busy crying into the bed.

Suddenly I felt strong hands on my shoulders that flipped me around, and I saw a hand coming for my face through tear-stained eyes. I tried to move out of the way, but I was far too slow, and my left eye flashed white in pain. He had just slapped, at least; if he had punched I doubted I would still be conscious.

I heard him storm from the room, and then I felt soft hands moving me around, walking me down the hall, and then just holding me. My mom laid my head in her lap just like she had when I broke my arm, nine years earlier, and just held me.

She stroked my hair. I realized she did exactly the same way that I realized I had stroked Cody's. I cried into her lap as she made little comforting noises and stroked my hair. It worked. I calmed down, eventually, and then I just laid there. She seemed content not to talk, and I didn't want to.

I was laying on my stomach, which was slightly uncomfortable, so I started to roll onto my side...and then I realized that there was a reason my mom had laid me on my stomach. That might not have been comfortable, but at least it didn't actively hurt, which was far more than could be said of laying on my side. I shivered as I imagined what sitting up would feel like.

"Why did he do it?" I asked finally, softly.

"Your dad doesn't understand, Nick. I don't either. Why did you do it?"

"Because..." I faltered for words, then finally said what felt right. "Because I love him."

"You love him?" she asked, clearly not believing.

"Yes," I said more firmly. "I love him. And if you don't care, well, fuck you."

"Nick," she started, then said nothing. She stroked my hair again.

Finally, she said, "Nick, I don't think you'd find very much support if you said you fell in love with a—what is Cody? eleven? twelve?—with a twelve year old girl. With a boy, nobody's going to take you seriously."

"Do you?"

She paused, then said carefully. "I believe that you think you love him."

"Well, fuck you," I said forcefully, and started to get up. That involved rolling onto my fresh whipmarks, though, and I cried out in pain and fell back into my mother's lap.


She never finished her sentence. She just stroked my hair and, eventually, I fell asleep.