The Root Beer Boys, a story of love. © 2000 by K Ration. All rights reserved.
This story is dedicated to Bill, AJ, Driver and Squirt.
The Root Beer Boys
We thought we kept things pretty well hidden from our friends as well as our family. I mean, we continued to hold hands once in a while, but we'd always done that, hadn't we? When I entered high school, Wayne was still in Junior High. That meant we were in different schools and couldn't see each other during the day. But at least we were together at night, and on the weekends.
Our music continued to grow in popularity. Wayne's voice was so pretty, even in junior high, that he was a pleasure to accompany on the piano. In fact, his voice gave me even more incentive to practice and get better. And I think the fact that I was his accompanist made him try harder at improving his style, breath control and all that stuff. He even took voice lessons from the choir director at church.
We didn't really perform anywhere but at church and the school talent shows. But we had fun, and the kids at school seemed to like us. Once in awhile I even got to join in on a duet. Usually he'd start off the song with a verse and a chorus then come over and sit beside me on the piano bench and hold the mic for the two of us. This gave us the opportunity to ham it up and have fun. It also gave us an excuse to sit close and look at each other when we sang love songs, like at school.
We especially enjoyed singing at church because we both liked that particular style of music. In fact, as we drew closer together, it seemed we had so much in common we could have been blood brothers. Most people thought we were anyway. But like I said earlier, we rarely sang duets at church, and I always had to make sure I had the music memorized. Neither of us could look at the other when we sang at church because so many of the hymns and songs made us cry. Something about the subject of love, I guess.
About halfway through our 15th/13th year, we found out mom knew about us. I guess we hadn't been too careful around her. Nor had we always been careful to mess up the bed that didn't get slept in. We weren't doing too much sex stuff, but we slept together most every night. At least those nights when dad went to bed when we did. He was the one sore spot in our lives that year. We loved him deeply, both of us. But his continuing comments about gays were becoming harder and harder for Wayne and me to contend with.
Anyway, as I was saying, Mom finally figured things out and confronted us with it. We got home from school one afternoon (Wayne's was on my way home, so he'd usually wait for me) to find her sitting at the kitchen table waiting for us with milk and cookies. Now the milk and cookies wasn't all that rare, but her sitting there certainly was. We figured she must have something on her mind, but that wasn't unusual. She liked to talk about things.
So as we sat there dunking our cookies in the milk, she just ups and says, "How long have you guys been in love with each other?"
I don't think she had really thought about our possible reaction to such a blunt approach to the subject.
I sucked in air in a gasp that sucked half a cookie down my windpipe and Wayne blew out a breath with such force he spewed cookie and milk all over the kitchen table and wall. I was coughing and gagging so bad I thought I was going to puke. Once I was back in control and mom had the table and wall cleaned up, we just sat there staring at her with tears rolling down our faces.
"How did you..."
"...know?" we spoke together, Wayne finishing my sentence as usual.
"Are you ..."
"...gonna tell dad?"
"Boys, please. Don't get so upset. I've had time to think about this and I've decided it doesn't affect how I feel about you. After all, you are my sons and I love you. I loved you before I figured it out, and I don't intend to stop loving you now. I didn't give birth to either of you, but you're mine just the same. You're the only children I'm ever going to have and you're both gifts from God. So don't worry about me. As for your dad? Well, you'll just have to decide when and how you're going to tell him. I'm not going to do that for you."
"...did you know? How did you..."
"...figure it out?"
"Boys. Think about it. One bed messed up in the morning, one excuse after another not to go to bed before your father, the way you look at each other when you're outside and don't think about someone watching you, the way you look at each other when we're watching TV. I suspect I'm not the only one who has figured you out. I don't mean your dad, bless his heart. He sees only what he wants to see, and he's not that observant a lot of times. But I bet a lot of your friends know about you. In fact, I'm surprised no one has said something to you before me."
We sat there in stunned silence for awhile, sorting things out. Then Wayne reached across the table and took my hand in his. When I looked up at him, he had this look of love in his eyes that he usually reserved for times when we were alone. I squeezed his hand and looked over at mom.
The look I saw on her face made me start crying again. But this time they were tears of relief. She really did love us, even though we were gay and she knew it. She sat there and smiled at us, seemingly unconcerned about what was going on between Wayne and me right there in front of her.
Wayne stood up and came over to stand by my chair. As I looked up at him, he sat down in my lap and put his arms around me. He laid his head on my shoulder and wiped the tears from my cheek.
"Does this mean we don't have to hide from you any more? Can we do this now without worrying about it?"
"Yes, son, you can show your affection for each other in front of me without worrying about it. I can see how much you love each other, and it obviously goes beyond just brotherly love. Just don't get overly mushy. OK? I don't think I'd be comfortable with a lot of kissy-face even if you were with girls."
"Thanks, mom," we whispered together.
Mom got up and started getting dinner ready as Wayne and I took our school books to our room. We started out to change clothes, which is what we generally did as soon as we got home from school. But we only got as far as our underwear. Instead of putting on slacks and a shirt, I just pulled the blanket down on my bed and we laid down together and covered up. Words weren't necessary. Volumes were spoken just by looking into each other's eyes, smelling each other's breath, feeling the warmth we were each generating. We just laid there holding each other, rubbing noses, giving each other little kisses on nose, cheek and lips. The time for passion would come later. The present was reserved for love that no longer had to be hidden, at least not when dad was away.
We fell asleep that way, arms around each other, legs intertwined, noses only a couple of inches apart. And that's the way we were an hour later when mom knocked on the bedroom door.
"Dad just pulled into the garage, boys. Dinner in fifteen minutes."
So the next day, we got all the guys together after school.
"What's up?" Tommy asked us as soon as the last one had shown up at our house.
"Well, Andy and I have something we think you guys need to know."
"Yeah. You guys are our best friends and we think you have a right."
"So? What is it? One of you got crabs or somethin?"
Aaron could be an asshole sometimes. The other guys just punched him and told him to hush.
"Well, you see it's like this..." I began hesitantly. Then I stopped, not knowing how to tell them our secret.
"What Andy's trying to say is... uh, well, uh..."
Tommy took care of it for us. That's Tommy Newberry. For a rich kid, he could be really down to earth sometimes. Yeah, rich. Remember? The Newberry Road Newberry's? Rich enough to have a road named after 'em.
"Have you guys figured out you're gay yet?"
Wayne and I just sat there and gaped at them, our mouths hanging open wide enough to catch hummingbirds.
"What?" Joey said. "You think we're all as blind as you guys? We've known it for months. Or suspected it at least. I mean, geez, it's not like you're really good at keeping it a secret when you're around us, ya know."
"Are you serious?" Wayne asked.
"Serious as a heart attack!" they all answered in unison and laughed. See? They had picked up on our favorite phrase.
"And it doesn't bother you?" I asked.
"Why should it? This is the new millennium man. Half the world is gay. Besides, you ain't hittin' on any of us. So what's the big deal?"
"But how did you figure it out?"
Joey spoke first, followed by Tommy. Aaron nodded his head when Joey talked. Brian and Matthew just nodded their heads.
"Well, Andy, I started suspecting you had special feelings for Wayne the first time you and Aaron and I beat off together. For me and Aaron, it was just beatin' our meat. But for you it was different. You had this funny look on your face like you were thinkin' of somethin' or somebody real. And you acted different after you shot your wad. Nervous, kind of. Sort of like you wished it hadn't happened."
"Yeah, and Wayne was the same way. Remember, Wayne? When you and me fooled around there for awhile right after you told me about Andy here showing you how to beat off right?"
Wayne blushed when Tommy said that. I didn't know he had told anybody about that night.
"When you were telling me about it, I was wishing I had a brother I could do it with."
To say that Wayne and I were dumbfounded is an understatement. For so many months we had worried about coming out when the only ones who didn't know we were out was us.
Neither of us had ever done any sex stuff with Brian and Matthew, so they didn't have anything to add, but they confirmed that the five of them had talked about us amongst themselves and had agreed to let us come out in our own time. We hugged each of them in turn, and I think it was awesome that each of them let us. Brian even gave me a kiss on the neck when I hugged him.
"I envy you, Andy," he whispered in my ear right after the kiss.
From that moment on, the ribbing got worse than ever. Root Beer Boys took on all sorts of new meaning and was used more and more, almost as an inside joke. The guys all seemed to take great pleasure in coming up with ribald comments about Wayne and me in terms of Root Beer. Joey's was my favorite.
We were playing sandlot football one day when the other five ganged up on Wayne and me and started tickling us something fierce. Wayne was screaming that he was going to pee if they didn't stop when Joey came up with his all time great.
"Watch out guys! Don't shake 'em too hard or they'll fizz all over you!"
That got the other guys laughing almost as hard as Wayne and I were. Then Tommy added another one.
"Hey! Doesn't A&W make a Cream Soda?" he yelled, adding extra emphasis to the words cream soda.
Then Aaron spouted off with, "Good thing Root Beer isn't served hot. These guys would be wantin' to put cream in everybody's."
We were all laughing so hard we couldn't stand up. It was a lot funnier when it happened than it is telling about it. The important thing to Wayne and me was that they could joke about it without being mean. And having this group of guys around us all the time made it a lot easier to come out at school. Most of the kids at school handled our being gay really well, and the ones who wanted to make an issue of it were effectively discouraged by the fearsome five.
But we still had to deal with dad.
... to be continued