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June, 1981

I grew up alone.

I had never made many friends at my grade school, but when I had gotten into middle school, I had tried harder. Over the first few months, I had made several friends, but one became a very good friend. We liked the same kind of bad science fiction movies, and the same rock music. We liked the same books. And Dungeons and Dragons. We even secretly liked the same country songs. The irony was, I had been going to school with him for years.

By the end of seventh grade, we started spending almost all of our time together. He had an older brother that was an ass, so we usually ended up at my house. We rode our bikes to the arcade, or the movies, or just around all day. He slept over at my house almost all summer long, and almost every weekend during school.

I finally had a best friend.

As eighth grade ended, we both had other friends, but we usually spent our time together. Sometimes one or more of our friends joined us for an overnight, or riding bikes, or a movie, or for just nothing, but usually, it was just us.

Trey was almost like a brother as we started that summer before high school. We had started calling each other by our nicknames, but usually only with each other. While we were with other friends, we were Alex and Trey. Or sometimes, depending on which of our friends we were with, other names. Billy and Terry called me Rex and Trey was Tee. Ron, Brad, and Wally called me Lex, and him, The T. We had nicknames for them, too. But together, just the two of us, we were X and 3.

Trey was just a normal kid, not fat, not skinny, not tall, not short. He had blond hair, brown eyes, ordinary features. There wasn't much about him that stood out. Unless you found yourself a boy about his age who was beginning to be concerned that he found other boys attractive. In that case, Trey had the most wonderful blond hair, all wavy and unruly, eyes so soft and brown you wondered if they felt like felt or velvet, the cutest nose that turned up just a tiny bit, red lips so perfectly shaped that they belonged in magazines or on television. When he smiled, it made you wonder how anyone else would dare smile and reveal how weak and tepid their own was. If you were a boy who was beginning to worry that you might like boys instead of girls, then Trey had the cutest butt on earth, and was beginning to fill out the front of his pants in ways that made your breath come short and fast – and made the front of your own pants suddenly feel tight and constraining.

I guess that if you were a girl our age, you would find him cute, too. But I know that I did.

We were both in puberty, and we were both fighting acne. He was winning, for the most part, but I often found myself having to fight much harder. I wasn't nearly as perfect as he. Trey was a little bigger than me, but that was normal. I was one grade ahead of other kids my age, having skipped fifth grade. I'd started puberty early, while Trey was pretty much on time. So, at four months shy of fourteen, he was a little taller than me, as I was only half way through thirteen. I was smarter than him, but he was better looking than me. Trey didn't care about any of those things. He didn't care about any of my foibles. He only cared that we got along, that we had fun together, that we were blood-brothers.

Yes, we had done that. One day between seventh and eighth grade, in the little shed behind my house, we had cut our palms and held them together, our blood mixing, and swore we would always be brothers. Until death. That was also the day we had made up our private nicknames for each other. Blood-brothers had to have private, secret nicknames.

They had to have secrets, too.

I knew Trey's. Or, I knew his biggest secret. He wet the bed. Not often, and usually only when he stayed up really late and drank a lot of soda. But I kept his secret. Even when we had our fights, even when we fought and took sides with our other friends. Those times were rare, but they happened. Brothers fight. But I never betrayed his secret. Even after . . . what happened.

He never betrayed mine, either. Not until that horrible summer of nineteen-eighty-one. And it was the only time he had ever let me down. Ever.

That was another thing I found so wonderful about him; he was so caring. He never teased me more than just to get a laugh from me. He never let anyone else tease me at all. He wasn't a fighter, or a bully, but he would gladly throw down on anyone that threatened me. It had only happened twice that someone was threatening my well-being.

Steve Chandler, a class ass, had pushed me down on the sidewalk outside of school and threatened to pound me into the concrete back in February. I hadn't bowed to his threats earlier in the day and that had angered him. I was on my butt, looking up at him in fear, worrying how badly he was going to kick me, when a blur came from nowhere and Steve was gone. I followed the direction that blur had been moving and saw Trey and Steve rolling along the snowy sidewalk.

“Fucker!” Trey yelled several times.

“Get the hell off me you asshole!” Steve got out before Trey closed a hand over his throat.

“You fucker! Nobody fucks with my friends! And nobody fucks with Rex!”

Trey punched him in the face and I saw red suddenly appear there.

Trey pulled back to hit him again.

“NO!” I yelled.

Trey snapped his head to look at me.

“Why not? Nobody fucks with my buddies! Not you . . . either!”

Steve made gasping and choking sounds.

“T! Don't! Just let him go. He won't bug me no more! Will you?”

Steve shook his head.

Trey jumped off of him and kicked his leg.

“You ever do, and I'll beat you so bad your momma'll wish she had an abortion!” Trey turned to me and asked, “Did he hurt you any?”

“No, thanks.”

“Don't thank me. Glad to.”

He smiled one of his cute smiles at me.

Steve scrambled to his feet and never so much as looked at me again. Ever.

The second time that Trey had thrown down on someone over me had been Brock. Nobody knew his last name, or maybe it was his last name and nobody knew his first, but he was only called, Brock.

He was huge. One of the tallest kids in our grade. And fat. Not hugely fat, but one big, round, massive dude. And a major bully.

It was only a month after Trey had torn Steve off of me and bloodied his nose. Brock had wanted money. He saw me paying for my lunch, and I guess he saw me use a twenty and get back the change. Just as lunch was ending, and I was walking out of the bathroom, Brock pushed me back in.

“Give me,” he said bluntly.

I began sweating. I knew what he wanted. The other kids ran out of there.


“The money, dip-wad. Gimme.”

He held his hand out and walked toward me. I backed up against the wall.

I swallowed and considered my choices. Give up my money, or get pulverized. I pulled out my wallet and handed him my money. I showed him that it was now empty.

“You better start packing lunches. I want your money from now on.”

He shoved me against the wall. Hard.

He turned to leave.

There was a loud whacking sound.

He fell.

Trey was standing there, a scowl of anger on his cute face.

He kicked Brock three times, then bent down, and without a word, took my money from his hand. There was blood on it as he handed it back to me.

“Here,” he said simply. “Let's go. Did he hurt you any? Even touch you?”

“No,” I said, still stunned.

“I'm gonna fuck you both up!” Brock said from the floor.

Trey turned around and swiftly put his foot into Brock's groin.

Brock curled up with a loud, “O-h-h-h-h-h!”

“You're gonna what?”


“Thought so.”

He kicked him again, this time in the hands that were holding his groin.


“Fuck with my friends and I'll fuck you up. You hear me?”

He only moaned.

“You fuck with me, or Rex, and I'll kill you.”

Trey kicked him again.

Hear me!”

“Trey, don't,” I said softly.

“Yeah, okay,” Brock groaned.

Trey put his arm around my shoulders and walked me toward the door. When we got there, he held the door open for me and followed me out into the hallway.

“Man, T, thanks!” I said, my breath returning.

“Don't thank me, Rex. Glad to.”

He grinned that cute grin at me. I wanted to kiss him. At least hug him. I knew not to.

So, was it any wonder that whispered rumors began about Trey and I?

I hadn't heard those rumors until the last month of school. Dan Burton told me. He said that for weeks it had been whispered that Trey and I were boyfriends. Queers. Homos. I couldn't say anything for long moments. I wanted to deny it, laugh at it, make fun of the very idea.

Instead, I stuttered and stammered, “W-w-w-what? S-s-s-says, who?”

I had to immediately take control of my breathing and body, and calm myself.

Dan stared at me.

“Oh, my gawd,” he said slowly, his eyes going wide, his mouth falling open. “Is, is it true? Are you guys . . . like that?”

“No!” I yelled at him. “Fuck you!”

“They why did you go all retarded?”

“I'm fucking pissed! That's why! Now tell me who!”

“No way! I'm not gonna be the one that gets him fucked over.”

“So, a friend, huh?”

“No! I mean . . . no.”

He was lying, and I could easily tell.

I sighed.

“Look, I don't know where this crap is coming from, but I don't want it following us to high school, so I want it stopped, now. Okay? You hear anyone saying that shit, you tell them you know better. I find out you didn't, or you said that kind of shit when you know it ain't true, and me and Trey will come after you, friend or no friend. Got me?”

I tried to sound mean, or threatening, and I was hoping that I had, but I didn't know for sure. He didn't look scared or worried, though.

He shrugged.

“Okay. I mean, I didn't think so.”

“Didn't think so? What? You gotta take video of me and ten chicks doing it all night to know I'm no homo? Or what?”

He grinned.

“I ain't seen you and the ladies spending a lot of time together. At all. In fact, you and Sam seem, kinda, close, if you know what I mean.”

His eyes widened.

“You know we ain't . . . yeah, okay. I get ya.”

He nodded. I nodded.

“Just thought you should know,” he added. “I said I didn't think so.”


It was the beginning.

I told Trey. It didn't go well.

“What? Who? When? Where? I'll fucking kill 'em!”

“No, wait! I told you so you'd know. That's all. I got guys slapping it down, telling anyone who says something like that that they know it's a lie. Okay?”

He calmed, but not entirely.

“It's okay, Three. Just stupid rumors. You know how they go. Be forgotten next week. With graduation and all that shit, it'll be all forgot.”

He nodded.

“Maybe we should go to the prom together tomorrow?” he asked, the grin starting.

I laughed.

“Yeah, but who wears the dress?”

We laughed.

“We both can. Go as lezzies!”

We laughed some more.

Things went back to normal. I tried not to adore him, but failed. It was only getting worse. I'd found out that I liked masturbating while thinking about him last year, but now I was having dreams about him. Those kinds of dreams.

I didn't know if I could hide it from him much longer.

Then Mom and Dad told me that we were moving. They wanted me to go to a better high school than the one my middle school led into.

I was devastated. I had finally gotten friends, and a best friend, but I was moving so far away that they would go to a different high school. I would never see them again.

I was never one to scream or yell at them, but I did fume for an entire week. I hardly talked to them. I only answered them when I had to. I understood that they wanted me to go to the high school that would give me the best education, but that didn't ease the hurt.

I had a month before we were going to move. They had already found a new home, and it was still being built. It was due to be ready for us to move into by the beginning of July.

Trey asked more than once why I was so moody lately, and I wanted to tell him, not just disappear, but I couldn't. Every time that I tried, or decided it was the right time, I would choke up. He would know that I was going to cry and tell me that it was okay. He told me to tell him when I could talk about it.

I loved that about him. He cared. He didn't mind showing it, either. I loved him. I knew it. I began to realize that I was going to be gay.

I struggled with that fact for weeks. And the fact that I was falling for Trey, and that I was going to move away from him. And my other friends. Forever. I would never see them again.

It was a miserable month.

Trey stayed at my house as often as his parents would let him. I wanted him to as often as they would let him, even more often than that. I wanted to tell him, but I couldn't. It hurt too much to even think about, talking about it was impossible.

I let the time go by.

We had fun, we joked, we laughed, we wrestled, we slept over at my house, we rode our bikes to the mall, the arcade, the bookstore, fast food shops, nowhere in particular. We sat around my place watching television, listening to music, playing games, doing nothing in particular. We studied after school, then did anything and everything together. It seemed as if he knew. He was only away from me when we were in different classes at school, he had to go home for dinner or some other reason that his parents insisted on, or went home on school nights.

On the weekend before the prom, I tried to tell him that I had to move away. I got as far as telling him how much I liked spending time with him, and how I thought he was my best friend ever. He said I was his blood-brother and that I could tell him anything. I almost told him that I was almost sure that I was gay and that I was almost sure that I was in love with him. It seemed easier to tell him that than to tell him that in two weeks we would never see each other again. Instead, I choked on the next words and started crying.

He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “It must be something awful, X. Take your time. If you can't tell me yet, I'll understand.”

His voice was so soft, so gentle, so caring. His face was so beautiful.

I could only wipe at my eyes and choke out, “I can't.”

The night of the prom, we went to hang out at Archer's. It was a local hangout where guys with hot cars would park and talk about them. We both loved classic sixties hot-rods. After a couple of hours walking around and admiring the cars, he wanted to go to Red Gate Woods. It was quiet there, even on weekends. It was basically just a small patch of woods surrounded by the suburban sprawl of Chicago's western suburbs. We liked going there to just sit and pass time talking.

A large creek ran though it, and we liked to sit in a certain spot that had no path to it and seemed to be secret. The water was always moving, making a soft sound. The traffic along the interstate not far away made a soft, sighing sound. We went there all year around, even with snow covering the ground and ice on the creek. That night, though, was hot and humid. We ended up taking off our shoes and socks and putting our feet in the water. We had rolled our pants cuffs up, but they were getting wet.

“I'm gonna take the jeans off so I can put my legs in, too.”

He stood up and did so. I tried not to stare, or even look. No matter how badly I wanted to. I'd seen him in underwear more than a few times during sleepovers, and recently he had started changing from his jeans and briefs into his pajamas without going to the bathroom. He never did so directly in front of me, would always do so while a commercial break was on if we were watching television, or some other convenient time by sitting on the bed behind me. But right then, in the woods, it seemed so incredibly sexy that I popped wood in an instant.

He sat down and stretched his legs out into the water with an, “A-h-h-h-h,” of pleasure. I kept looking across the creek into the darkness. I could see his bare legs in the corner of my eye, and the flash of his white briefs. I was so hard it hurt.

“Gonna?” he asked.

“Nah, I'm fine.”

I hoped that he couldn't see the tenting occurring in my jeans. It was horribly uncomfortable, but intensely sexual, too. It wasn't the first time I had been so intensely turned on around him. Far from it.

Like I said earlier, he often spent the night at my house. Weekends during the school year, and almost all summer long. With so many nights together, and being thirteen and fourteen, sex was almost always a topic of conversation. And almost as often, on our minds but unspoken. And staying the night together, it came up a lot.

Wrestling was nothing new to us, at all. Once we had become friends, he would often wrestle me to the ground to win an argument. I soon learned to argue the wrong side, just so that he would have to physically get his point across. He was far more physical than me, anyway, and being larger and stronger, he would never mind using those advantages. And I would never mind his taking advantage of them.

By the time we started eighth grade, we tended to wrestle a lot. It usually ended with him on top of me, usually straddling me. I didn't mind at all. Especially when it was late at night during a sleepover with just the two of us. Because he wet the bed sometimes, when he slept over, he always brought pajamas. Just in case. He would change into them just before we actually and really went to bed. And he didn't wear underwear under them. I loved wrestling with him then. For very obvious reasons I don't have to tell you, right?

So, sitting there on the creek bank, him in his underwear, was only new in that it was somewhere almost public. We talked about school, and plans for our summer, and girls.

“Oh, man! Sherry Timmons is getting the biggest tits!” he said gleefully.

“I know! Like watermelons!”

“Yeah. Man, I'd love to put my face between them and just lay there.”

He sighed. So, I did, too.

“I'm getting a major woody,” he said suddenly.

I looked over, by accident. His hand was down the front of his briefs, moving.

I swallowed. I looked away.

“Dude, I got to take care of it. Be right back.”

He stood up and walked around the large trees to the right. I tried not to look that way. I tried not to listen intently, trying to hear something. I failed.

I waited. I was so hard it did hurt.

I couldn't stop thinking of what he was doing just a few feet away.

More than once during a sleepover, I had wondered if he was doing the same thing. He sometimes took forever in the bathroom. Sometimes I woke up in the night during a sleepover and heard him sighing, or a repeated brushing noise. Or him breathing quickly.

But right then, I knew what he was doing, and he was doing it just a few feet away from me. It was driving me crazy.

When he came back, he was grinning cutely. He walked toward me in only his white briefs. He jiggled in them. I tried not to look.

“Feel better?” I asked with a short laugh.

“Yup,” he replied, also laughing shortly.

He sat down and put his jeans back on.

“Want food. Hungry?”

“Sure,” I said.

We put our shoes and socks back on. I stood up once he had turned to walk out of there.

I adjusted myself secretly and then caught up with him.


Casiani's had the best polish sausage and great root beer. And it was on the way to my place. Once we had eaten, we rode to my place.

It was another great sleepover. Until I made a huge mistake. I argued that, “The Thing From Another World” was better than, “Forbidden Planet.” But not until he had changed into his pajamas. I was still in my jeans, and always was when he slept over. I never wanted him to see how excited he made me. I used to sleep in my underwear until some time in seventh grade, when he started making me so excited.

It ended up with him straddling my chest, the opening of his pajamas giving me that awesome peek through them. He wasn't hard, but he wasn't entirely soft, either. And his balls had lately begun making themselves more obvious, too. I grew very hard.

“Now, you were saying?” he asked, grinning a cute grin.

I said, “I was saying, that Forbidden Planet is a waste of celluloid,” around my laughter.

He bounced on my chest.

“Say what?” he asked, laughing.

He had such a cute laugh.

“I was saying, Forbidden-ugh!”

Another bounce.

“Say what?”

He held my arms down tighter and then rocked his butt up and down my chest, making it hard to breathe.

“Okay,” I said, merely a whisper due to his movements and my laughter.

“Okay, what?”

“The Thing sucks!” I managed to choke out.

“Say what?” he asked, surprised.

“It sucks,” I repeated.

“No it doesn't! Just not as good as Forbidden Planet,” he said, still surprised. “What's the deal?”

I looked again. He noticed. He rolled off of me.

He looked at me strangely. His face turned red.

I could see him swallow.

I knew I had just fucked up in a big way.

He rolled onto his sleeping bag and pulled his sheet up over himself without a word.

I slunk into my bed, feeling like I had just hurt him.

I had a very hard time trying to fall asleep. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to pretend it hadn't happened. I wanted to explain that I had only looked that one time he had seen. I wanted to hear him laugh. I wanted to see him smile.

I had to fight not to cry.

When I woke up early the next morning, he was gone. I felt awful. I wanted to call him. He had never left in the morning before, except the first time he had an accident during the night. I had called him the next morning and made him come back. I had put the sleeping bag in the washer, and it was in the dryer when he got back. I told him my parents had no idea. I told him that I had a cousin that still did that, and it wasn't anything new to me. I told him I didn't care. He had smiled at me and we went on with our day together, laughing and having a good time.

I wanted to call him.

I didn't.

He had left his copy of, “Dune,” behind. It lay in the middle of the floor. I leafed through it several times, fighting tears. I put it to my nose, hoping to smell him on it. That angered me, and I threw it against the wall.

Saturday went by without him. For the first time in almost two years.

Then Sunday.

Then Monday. Four more days of school, then summer vacation and I would move. Then high school.

We had several classes together, and in the first one, I sat down next to him like normal.

“You okay? Why did you leave?” I asked, just as I planned, looking curious and unworried.

He didn't answer.

I got worried.


He crossed his arms and ignored me.

I had never hurt so much before. My breath came ragged, my eyes and cheeks grew hot. I fought not to cry.

We had fourth period together, too. And we sat together, too.



Our friends were normal at lunch. It seemed that Trey hadn't said anything to them. I was so relieved I almost cried from it.

Sixth period.



I didn't try in eighth period English. I just sat down and remained silent. We normally would have walked out together, gone to our lockers together, one at a time, then walked home.

I walked out alone, went to my locker alone, walked home alone.

I cried as soon as I got into my room.

I prayed. I rarely prayed, and hardly believed, but I prayed. I prayed that Trey would call me and that things would be okay again. I prayed that Trey would laugh it off and forget it. I prayed to have my best friend back.

I ate dinner.

I went back to my room.

I prayed more.

I cried more.

I fell asleep.

It was the same on Tuesday. We took finals all day, and I stayed silent. He never looked at me.

I went to my locker alone, I walked home alone.

I cried alone.

I ate dinner.

I went back to my room and cried and prayed. Alone.

Wednesday, Wednesday I died a little.

When I walked into home room, several kids laughed. One pointed and said, “Fag!”

I glared, trying to look mean or intimidating. It didn't work.

“I'm not gay,” I said as I sat down.

“Not what I heard,” Max Courtland said with a laugh.

Others laughed.

“What are you talking about?” I asked as angrily as I could.

“I heard you like looking at guys junk,” he said, laughing still.

“Probably from that homo, Trey. He pulled his junk out and started beating off right in front of me. We went down to the woods for something to do, and he just, did it. What a fuckin' fag,” I said.


“You heard me. The fucker pulled his junk, right there in front of me. We were talking about Sherry's huge tits, then the next thing I know, he's jackin' it, right in front of me. I told him to go home, get away from me. We ain't talked since.”

“You serious?”

“Ask him. See how he reacts. Bet he gives it away.”

It looked like he was believing me. I felt relieved. I hated to do that, but I needed to cover my own ass, and obviously Trey had opened his mouth about what happened in my room Friday night. I had to do something, right there and then, and it was all I could think of. I felt like a traitor, and a heel, and an asshole.

“You didn't check out his shit?”

“Dude, we were talking about Sherry's tits. Why he wanted to show me his shit, I don't know. Maybe he didn't wanna show me, maybe he just wanted to jerk it. I don't know.”

I shrugged.

He nodded and looked thoughtful.

I repeated the same story three times that day. I never sat next to Trey, either. I moved to an empty seat in every class I had with him. Our friends seemed quiet around me at lunch. I was glad he didn't have the same lunch period.

I walked home alone. I cried alone. I ate dinner, but barely. Mom asked if I was feeling okay. I said that tests were rough this year. I went back to my room and cried alone. I prayed, alone.

Trey called.

I heard the phone, but didn't care. Mom came to my room and said my best friend was on the phone.

Thank you, God! I almost said aloud.

I shook all over. I started to sweat. I walked slowly to the phone in the kitchen. I picked it up and told Mom that I had it. I heard her hang up.



“I'm sorry I left.”

I didn't know what to say.

I just wanted to be friends again. I wanted my best friend back.

“I, I . . . didn't mean it.”



There was a long silence.

“I didn't care. I was . . . just, surprised.”

“Why'd you leave?”

“I, I want to talk to you. Okay? Please? Meet me, at, Red Gate, the creek? After school tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Okay.”

“Cool. See you then.”

He hung up.

I exhaled violently. I stopped shaking. I wiped sweat from my face.

Thank you, God.

I felt better, but still worried.

I didn't cry the rest of the night, but I had a hard time falling asleep.

No one said anything about it on Thursday. Our friends acted normal at lunch, and talked to me like normal, and Trey wasn't mentioned. We talked about summer vacation, and plans to do this and that.

When the final bell rang, the building was rocked by yells and screams.

Papers filled the hallways. Lockers were left hanging open.

I walked home alone. I got on my bike and rode to Red Gate. I walked to the creek. I waited.

I worried. I tried not to be sick. I made up my mind to tell him that I was moving in a week. I didn't care what he said before I did, I was going to tell him. Finally. I almost hoped that he was coming to tell me that he knew, and that he didn't want us to be mad at each other for our last week together.

I heard him coming through the woods.

I didn't look up. I began shaking violently and sweating profusely.

He sat down next to me.



We were silent for a while.

“I didn't care. That you, looked. I . . .”

“I'm sorry.”

I felt like throwing up.

“Are you, gay?”

I wanted to lie, but I didn't want to lie to him.

I nodded.

I wasn't sure, but I was sure. Sort of.

I belched wetly, vomit not far away at all.

I couldn't stop the tears that started falling silently.

I could only wipe at them.



“I . . . I think I, love you.”

I made a soft, squeaking sound in my throat. I coughed to clear my throat.


“I, think, I think I love you, X.”

He looked right into my eyes. He tried to smile.

I squeaked again.

“I don't know. But, I . . .”

He sighed deeply and pounded his fist into the ground.

“I, want to know, though. I got to know. I, will . . . “


“Will you kiss me? To, find out?”

I squeaked again.

“Just once? To find out?”

I nodded.

I leaned toward him. I couldn't believe it. My heart raced. My breath stopped. I shook. I closed my eyes as my mouth neared his.

My lips touched his. Soft. Warm. He pressed them harder into mine. I felt his hand on my thigh, and felt it move upward.

I heard laughter.

We jerked apart.

“He is a fag!” Dan yelled, coming out of the brush.

“Fag!” Rob said, laughing.

His friends stood there, laughing at me, pointing at me.

I didn't know where it came from, but I hit Trey. Hard. I brought my left arm around and struck him firmly on the mouth. It hurt my hand, so I know that it had hurt his mouth. His eyes went wide and his hands covered his injured lips.

The very lips I had just kissed.

I saw a red trail form under his hands. His eyes were huge, and they looked hurt.

“You mother-fucking ass-hole!” I yelled. “I hate your fucking guts!”

I jumped up and ran. I ran away from Rob and Dan, then cut back toward my bike. I saw Trey's bike there, and I kicked it over then jumped onto the spokes and rim of his front wheel several times. Dan and Rob had ridden a moped. I picked up Trey's bike and beat the moped with it until it fell over and I smelled gasoline. Then I rode as hard and fast as I ever had. I cried as hard as I ever had. I had to wipe my eyes over and over, or risk running into things. I threw my bike down and ran inside. I locked the door behind me and ran into my room. I threw myself onto the bed and cried until I heard someone come home.

I cleaned myself up and pretended nothing had happened. I ate dinner. Mom asked if I felt well. I said I was tired from studying so much and I would be fine after resting all weekend. She laughed and said I wouldn't get much rest with Trey coming over to stay all week long. I told her that he wasn't coming over. She was surprised. I told her he had other things to do, something about family coming up, or going to see family, or something of the sort.

I went back to my room and cried.

It never happened, I told myself. I'm moving. No one there will ever know. Thank you, God. But the trick of why he called was cruel. But thank you for getting me out of here!

We had less than a week until we moved. I started packing things that night. No one came over. No one called.

We packed things in the garage the next day, then started on things we wouldn't need for the next couple of weeks. No one came over. No one called.

Six days later, no one had come over, no one had called. My room was empty, the last things on the moving truck. The only thing left in my room was a thick, paperback book that lay in the middle of the floor. I had put it back exactly as I had found it two weeks ago. I sat there next to it and stared at it for a long time, not wanting to cry. I called up all the memories of Trey that I had. I visualized them soaking into the book, leaving me forever.

Finally, finally, I was as empty as my room. I stood with aching muscles and heart, and without looking back, I walked out of my bedroom for the last time.

I closed my bedroom door for the last time.

Six days after Trey had tricked me into meeting him at Red Gate Creek, and had tricked me into kissing him in front of his two other best friends, we left the house on Emerald Avenue for the last time.

I had lived there for many years, but I had only lived there for the last two years.

But now, I had never lived there at all; not in my memories.

I had never known anyone named Trey.

I had never kissed a boy.

I had never loved.

I was alone.


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