University. My father said, “Just wait and see, Neal. It’s only the first chapter of your life.” It’s a brand-new chapter for sure, but the first? I’m only two months shy of being an adult legally, but I feel like I’ve already been through a lot.
“Neal! Are you coming?” My mother’s voice calls from downstairs. Though I can’t bring myself to saying it, I’m going to miss her.
For the first time in years, my Star Wars-themed room isn’t an utter mess. Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber hilt from Return of the Jedi lies on the desk, on which it and my laptop are the only remaining objects. The wallpaper on the laptop is the poster for the upcoming film, The Last Jedi – red franchise logo, white title text and as usual, a star-filled galaxy in the backdrop.
As I place the four-year-old device into the handheld bag which came with the purchase, I take one final look at my room. Apart from the posters from Star Wars movies and games and a ceiling of star-shaped phosphorescent stickers that glow in the dark, everything has been shoved into the two suitcases now in the backseat of my car. Except for the bed, of course. And the blanket, which the dorm will provide. I smile inside as I tower above the neatly folded, dark-blue duvet that grew up with me (it was given to me when I was six). I don’t think I’d ever folded it, because what’s the point if you’ll always use it within the next twenty-four hours?
I descend the stairs with my backpack and the laptop bag. My younger brother, Josh, runs to me and gives me a hug. He’s only ten, but we get along incredibly well despite the age difference. We’ve always been close, and do all sorts of things together. Truthfully, he’s more like a best friend than my kid brother.
“Are you gonna come home for Christmas?” he asks in the midst of our hug.
I decide to give him a little surprise. “Yes,” I say. “And Thanksgiving, too.”
He giggles as I attack his neck with kisses; it’s his most ticklish part. I know ours is a special bond, especially after countless times of hearing my friends whine about their siblings. I cherish our relationship, and I pray to god that puberty won’t change him the way it did me. Because he’s flawless the way he is – innocent and energetic.
In my case, it’s different. I can’t say for certain that my high school years changed me for better or worse, but change me they did. Like every story, mine has a beginning. For now, all you need to know is this: I fell in love, and my heart was broken.
My middle school, the only one of its kind in the outskirts of the small town of Windsville, was surrounded by trees. In essence, they dotted the perimeter of the campus without missing a spot. There was an old oak tree where I used to sit and relax, and a red ribbon tied around one of its highest branches in a butterfly knot. My special place was rather remote, being a safe distance away from where everyone usually was during recesses. Once or twice a week, I would go there, soak myself in the sun, and relish in the soft breezes.
It was my peaceful corner of the world, and I didn’t tell any of my friends about it. “Where have you been?” Johnny Johnson, one of my closest friends back then, would ask. The boy with the funny name was also one of the most popular in class because of his cheerful demeanor and his endless, laughter-inducing shenanigans.
For the first few times, I remained quiet, not wanting to give away my hiding spot. As time went by, Johnny and I would get accustomed to the answer of “where your mum has been,” which quickly became an inside joke and part of our secret language. I wonder why he never pressed me for an honest answer.
My story begins on a late August day in sixth grade, when sun rays peeking on top of the main building pierced through the morning haze. His was an intriguing and memorable face, but the first words escaping his lips were even more memorable.
“Wanna be friends?” he asked on that first day of school. Those aren’t the usual greeting words in this day and age.
I said yes and studied him curiously. The top of his curly blond hair glistened in the sun, his face an unreadable expression.
“Come on,” I said with a smile, and patted the grass next to me to gesture for him to sit there. This was before Johnny and I became close friends, so really, Lucas Mallie was my first friend in middle school.
It’s interesting now as I look back: ours was never an obvious friendship in school. Over the next months and years, we would grow very close; but in school, according to our own gangs, we were mere acquaintances. Where our budding relationship transformed into something more, almost always, was outside of school, studies, friends and teachers – outside of our “main” lives. There was always a secrecy there, even in the earliest moments, when what we did together was far from transgression. Perhaps somehow, in our younger preteen minds, both of us were subconsciously aware of where our path would lead.
But on that very first day, we just sat in silence, savoring the smell of our surroundings and each other, and looking at our school over the small hill.
If you ask me when it all began, I’ll always go back to the same memory. By now, I must have relived it a hundred times, in daytime and in nighttime, sometimes even allowing my wild imagination to add certain details or prolong the experience. It’s possible that my re-imaginations have blurred reality, but here’s what I remember: one day in late October that year, we had a casual disagreement under the oak tree.
“Anakin’s definitely stronger. I mean, just compare what he did over the course of the prequels to what Luke did in his films.” Lucas – or Luke as he preferred – hadn’t always been a Star Wars fan, but in the short time I’d known him he had been converted from a non-believer to a total fanatic.
“And don’t you dare use that argument against me!” He was referring to the argument where I told him it was no mere coincidence that the Jedi and he shared the name, and he would be demeaning his own name by arguing against it.
“Luke’s more powerful,” I said matter-of-factly. “It’s just that the special effects were crappy back then, so they couldn’t do the epic scenes they wanted.”
“Now that’s just an assumption! I only believe what I see on screen.”
“Oh yeah?” I smirked, and without warning wrestled him to the ground, trapping him and tickling his armpit aggressively.
“Stop!” He cried, altering between laughter and mock anger.
“I’ll give you one more chance. Who’s stronger, Anakin or Luke?”
His determined eyes were fixated on me. “You cannot force me into submission.”
I stared at him, doubtful at first, but eventually relented. In the two months we’d known each other, one quality of his stood out easily: he could be very stubborn whenever he was in that serious look of his, which he now had.
When we picked ourselves off the ground, our hair was messy and our t-shirts were creased. But my attention was on the bulge on his crotch, and his was on mine. He blushed sheepishly before swiveling toward the building. I followed a few steps behind him as he walked, feeling something stir in my stomach. I would never view my friend the same way again.
On a Friday night, a week or two before Thanksgiving, Luke and I had our first sleepover. His folks, out of town for some reason I’ve forgotten, was afraid of leaving their son alone in their house unsupervised. They asked my folks, who immediately agreed that Luke would stay with us until Sunday night. His parents insisted on leaving two hundred-dollar notes, which mine refused at first but later accepted with the condition that I would stay over at their house in the future.
“It’s kind of like the real thing,” Luke said. We were in my room and lying on the bed. The lights were off, the curtains were drawn, and we were looking up at the night sky on the ceiling.
“Doesn’t it give a nice glow in the dark?”
“It’s beautiful. Wish I could sleep over every night.” The thing with Luke is that he rarely hid what he felt. What would the world be like, if every one of us was like that?
I chuckled. “You can sneak over.” His house was just at the end of our short street.
His eyes lit up at the thought, though I didn’t know if he was actually considering my ill-conceived suggestion.
It was October, but the cold came early that year. Naturally, we snuggled up to each other under my blanket. In the beginning, my eyes were closed. Then, as I opened them, I saw that Luke was looking at me with an intent gaze. Though I would come to know otherwise mere seconds later, I thought I was hallucinating then: in the pregnant air, his blue eyes held a desire.
First he smiled. Then he wore a nervous expression. Finally, as he touched me, I saw outright fear in his eyes. Despite our inexperience, we were both aware that we were crossing a line. And even by not doing anything, I was as willing a participant as he was if I let him do something.
“What’s this?” He broke the silence with a silly question, partly to lighten the mood and partly to see my reaction.
An unfamiliar excitement grew in me as he applied pressure to my bulge. Like the amateur he was, he palmed my clothed erection in an unskilled manner. But everything else – our closeness, his minty breath and the thrill of the first time – made up for it.
“It feels good,” I said in an honest whisper, making his one-sided advance our mutual misdeed.
Encouraged, he tightened his grip and quickened his strokes. Later, Luke would tell me that our first night together was his third time handling the organ, but the first time he handled someone else’s.
Reluctantly, I emitted a faint moan.
“Tingly?” he asked.
“Do you trust me?”
I nodded again without a second thought.
As he reached his hand inside my boxers and cupped my hardness, I was bursting into songs inside.
“Just let the incredible feeling take over you. Leave it to me to do all the work.”
Skin to skin, stroke after stroke, a pressure was building in my groin. I felt something inevitable approaching.
“Just let it happen, Neal.”
Eventually, my hyperventilation ended with a gasp, and I took my first deep breath after the two minutes of action. Luke rolled my foreskin back and caressed the glans, giving it a gentle tap before withdrawing his hand. In that moment, I knew I had taken a great leap forward in my life, reasoning that these overwhelming sensations had to be my first glimpse into the joys of sex. Little did I know that I had only stepped my toes across the boundary between the innocent and the knowers.
Luke’s index finger neared my mouth in an inviting gesture. “Have a taste,” he offered, the start of smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
I obeyed by extending my tongue. There was a slight wetness there, but I thought it was only his saliva, which I really didn’t mind tasting after the intimacy of the past minutes.
“It spurted from your thing,” he said, smiling deviously. It didn’t take long for me to understand what the “thing” referred to.
“How did it taste?”
I considered the question. “Honestly? Tastes like nothing really.”
“Prolly ‘cos there was too little of it.”
“Yup. The stuff of babies. But in your case, it was just pre-ejaculate.” He teased, “You’ll have to wait like ten more years for the real thing.”
A sly grin formed on my face. “Can you do any better, then?”
Visibly excited, he said, “Was that a challenge or an offer?”
Carefully, I weighted the pros and the cons. The decision was made in seconds. Instead of simply wanting to return the favor, I was curious, too, and immediately grasped the opportunity to make my friend feel what I had just felt.
I was surprised to find Luke’s naked member waiting expectantly under the blanket. Somewhere in the process of my exhilaration, he had removed his whities without my knowing. The arousal, as shown by his stiff pride, was apparent.
I wasted no time. Mimicking his previous movements, I pleasured my friend to the best of my abilities. I paid close attention to his breathing pattern as well as his facial expressions, and adjusted the pace of my strokes accordingly.
In the final moments preceding his release, he wrapped an arm around me and pulled me closer. Our torsos touched and we heaved for breath. As the hot air he blew onto my shoulder returned my flaccid organ to its half-mast form, I yearned for even more bodily contact.
In addition to my strokes, I was creating as much friction between us as possible by pressing myself against him and brushing my thighs against his. Our legs were intertwined, and our arms were held tight around each other’s back. Moving in unison, we reveled in the pleasure and anticipated the ever-closer end, which arrived with little warning. He finished a few seconds before I did, but didn’t forget about me in the heat of the moment. His final strokes, forceful and rapid, sent me over the edge with ease.
We were silent afterwards. There was a tranquility in the room, and neither of us was willing to let words ruin it.
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FINALIZED ON 22 Oct, 2017