Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This story is about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Go to some other Internet Site. (Of course some people actually cultivate being offended; if that's the case, read right on). As far as detailed descriptive sex acts, I think you may find some good ones in other stories right here on Nifty, but as of now I do not envision a lot of explicit detail in this one.

If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence four. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our callipygians.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it (whatever for I wouldn't know), please e-mail me and also give proper attribution. As of now no one has permission to put this story on another Internet Site.

This story is almost entirely fictional, and autobiographical ONLY in the sense that many of the incidents in the story really happened, but in some cases to different people and under different circumstances. In other words I've simply adapted things that happened in my life to a fictional story. In fact, some aspects of both main characters are in part modeled from my own experiences. Some of my family members are also in this story, and perhaps (definitely) distorted a bit (a lot) at times and sometimes approaching caricature, but since I really don't expect them to sue, I'm taking the chance. All other characters are fictional, except as noted).

I welcome any feedback. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Rocco Paperiello

NOTE:   How come no one mentioned, way back in Chapter 35, that I had Mantle and Maris going after Babe Ruth's home run record a year too early?


PART III -- Confrontation and Resolve

Chapter 75a -- The Start of the Good High School Years (part a)

I was realizing one night just how I was so happy, and I was thinking about how come. It was almost Christmas, and the past three months have flown by so fast that I suspect I hadn't even aged three days. And nothing bad has happened the entire time. -- well nothing important bad at least. The ADA called us soon after the hearing and said, as he expected, Jade's uncle pleaded, and all was left was what he called an allocution. Where he went before the judge and said what he did and the Judge sentenced him. All arranged beforehand. We didn't have to be there. Our TV business has even picked up a bit, though I'm concerned that the newest TV sets which are now almost all solid state won't break down near as much and eventually business will drop. But there are other things and I have been thinking about them. Like maybe small appliance repair. I was pretty good at that stuff, and really, with schematics, it was easy. Also my Uncle Bill now had his own hard wood floor business, and after the big housing project bid it has been booming. Maybe there could be a summer job there. Who knows?

At home things seemed to just go their way with not too much upheaval. Carl has been so preoccupied with college, we were even almost getting along. Well, more like ignoring each other mostly. OK, OK, that's not completely true after all. (I told Jade that I will try to be more honest and I guess that starts with even being honest to myself). Carl has actually been a nicer person to me even if I don't like admitting it. Though he still won't let me use his ham radio stuff. And Dad hasn't said anything to me about Jade for at least just as long. And Dolores has been her usual generally nice self, even if she doesn't talk about me and Jade. Not even the slightest peep.

Of course Jade has been over only a few times, and never when Dad might be home. We just decided not to take any chances. We mostly did our homework over at Jade's house. And yes, still no permanent foster parents. Mom was her usual self, but I just wished that she and Dad got along better. They still argued now and then about stupid things.

I was also just starting to realize it wasn't entirely my Dad's fault either. And this was a sort of revelation to me. I always blamed him when they fought. But just recently I was thinking about one of the things that Mom accused him of and it just didn't make sense. I mean the thing happened but not the way Mom made it appear. I think that she was being a little paranoid about it. Dad said he was going to fix the heater in the basement, but finally he instead had someone come in to do it. And it cost a lot of money, and Mom started complaining that if he fixed it would have been a lot cheaper. That started an argument that ended with the usual. Neither actually answered the other. Mom finished by crying and Dad just walked away. Very typical. But it was Mom claiming that Dad just let his boss at work, (whom Mom really disliked), talk him into letting him have someone come in to do the work because that's what his boss always did since he had much more money and could afford it. But it seemed to me that wasn't right. Why would his boss and he even talk about it? And I think Dad was just so tired and also thought he might not get it fixed right, he decided that to get someone else to fix the heater was worth the extra cost. But he never got his point across. Neither was really listening to the other. It blew me away to think that I actually sided with my father for once. I just wished he would actually explain himself instead of thinking Mom should just take his word that she was wrong. He seemed too proud or something to actually explain himself. And I also wondered that he also realized that she wouldn't listen anyway. I wonder how many times in the past this was the way they got into an argument.

That had me thinking a lot about how they related to each other. Later Jade and I talked about it "So I was just wondering how they got to that point. They never really can explain things to each other. And it hurts me so much when I see my Mom hurt like that. But I think she does part of it to herself."

"My Mama said that the more two people lived together the more they needed to trust each other enough that they were really willing to listen."

"What did she mean trust each other enough? I'd think that if you trusted someone, it should be just the opposite. Then they didn't have to explain themselves."

"Not what my Mama said. She said that you must not just listen, but be able to believe the other person. And at times this actually takes more explaining rather than less."

I didn't quite understand what Jade was getting at and I told him so. We talked a lot about this later on but maybe I didn't have the right experience yet to completely understand. And I told Jade this. One thing we did agree on was that we would always be willing to talk over things, and make sure we REALLY understood the other. I sure didn't want to get to where my own parents were. They didn't seem to really listen to each other.

So as I said, the entire time went pretty well, with no big upset. Except when Dolores and Charlie finally broke up for good. That was an upsetting time for me. I could tell Dolores felt pretty bad over it for a couple months. But Charlie was two years older and wanted to get engaged, and Dolores couldn't see herself making that kind of commitment yet. He really was a nice guy, and it was a shame that Dolores wasn't a couple years older. It may have really worked out different.

And that got me thinking about Jade and myself. The ages were almost comparable. Jade was only a half year younger than Charlie. And I felt so committed, you couldn't GET any more committed. And I always thought that Dolores was more mature than I was. What I was also wondering about was that Jade and I have never had a real fight or even a bad disagreement. I mentioned that to Jade also. He just said that we were too much alike. And we both laughed at that since it was so obviously not true.

"Well, we're alike in the important things. The things that matter."

"I can only think of two things. We are both pretty smart, though you are better at writing and I'm better in math. And maybe we're both interested in a lot of the same things, like nature, and sex." We both laughed at the sex part. "But what else?"

"And you claim to be smart. How about the fact we're both gay? Or you think maybe Consuelo is looking better and better? I saw the way you were looking at her the last time we were all together." But Jade couldn't keep a straight face.

"I'll show you just how much I'm not gay anymore." And I did. And we both enjoyed it thoroughly. Even if we had to take a shower afterwards.

We talked about college and all that grown up stuff and pretty much agreed on what we wanted to do. We both wanted to eventually teach but on the college level. So that meant advanced degrees for each of us. Well, the first step is in getting scholarships. I really wanted to get far away from home, and prying eyes. The problem was just where. Jade and I have talked about this a bit but haven't really decided. Well, it's quite a ways off yet anyways. And then we also talked about some contingency plans just in case the world blew up. I mean our world.

One thing that Jade and I did do was quit the scouts. We almost decided independently of each other. Probably the only thing that kept us both going was that the other was still going. But they never seemed to do the stuff we were really interested in. There were almost no camping trips ever scheduled. And even most nature things were barely even talked about. Jade and I just decided that, except for camping, we could just do the things we liked together without the scouts.

"But how about your wanting to make Eagle Scout? You finally passed swimming, and only need a couple more merit badges."

"I don't seem to really care anymore. I mean my main motivation wasn't to actually make Eagle Scout, but to beat Carl in making Eagle Scout. It doesn't seem that important anymore. How about you?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, I did enjoy Summer Camp, but except for that, I was only in the scouts because you wanted me to be."

So there went the scouts. Strangely, Carl and my Dad even got more involved. They both joined the Order of the Arrow. I found all that stuff boring. And Dad's also got real involved in the Knights of Columbus. Again I saw all that stuff as boring too.

I always felt in the past that I needed to belong. Specifically to what didn't matter. But with Jade and me now having each other, and making plans together, that kind of thing just didn't matter so much any more. I do belong -- to Jade. And for some reason I'm getting along better with some of the kids at school. Maybe we are both growing up a bit, although I'm suddenly starting to think I am so immature in a lot of ways. Jade keeps telling me to just enjoy. So I do. And we do! Nobody has said anything about me and Jade being together so much.

Well, we do have school together and everyone knows that I help with his assignments. And he's getting all A's except in Math and Physics. But right now he's doing a lot better. The big problem was a few really wrong ideas in algebra. He started out pretty bad, but is now coming on strong. I remember that first week.

"Look Jade you just can't do that. It's not allowed."

"But why not? These expressions are exactly the same so why can't you just have them cancel each other out? We did that yesterday with that equation."

"First of all, think of Math as a language with a very limited vocabulary. In fact there are only six different verbs, and cancel isn't one of them! There will only be two more verbs by the end of the course. You can only add, subtract, multiply, divide, raise to a power, and take a root. Notice that each two are opposites, or undo each other. For example, subtracting undoes adding, and taking a root undoes raising to a power. And so on. And that's it. You just can't do anything else."

"But the teacher said that in division we can cancel."

"Well he's wrong! You can only divide, when it says divide. When you do math, pretend the word cancel doesn't even exist. And remember, all mathematicians are inherently lazy. That's why they went into math in the first place, since it's the easiest thing to get a college degree in, and the least amount of actual work. So they like to write in shorthand. This line says divide. And if it's drawn under both these terms, then it means all the terms under the line must divide into all the terms on top of the line. Not just one on the bottom dividing one on the top. And also, even if both the top and the bottom are identical, you still can't just cross them out. For example, what is four divided by four?"


"Good, but what happens to that answer if I just cancel out the top four by the bottom four?"

"You have nothing left, so the answer's also zero! So we just proved one is equal to zero. We'll be famous!"

And I gave Jade a good swat for deliberately misunderstanding.

"OK, stop hurting me, I promise never to cancel again! I promise!" He got on his knees and pretended to cower. Of course putting his hooks together in a guise of supplication just didn't have the same visual effect as someone with his hands together.

We went on. He wrote a small equation down and asked: "Well, how about this equation then. There is a plus 3x on both sides of the equal sign. The teacher said that they can cancel each other out."

I was getting very frustrated with our new teacher. He did keep saying things like that and that caused most of the problems with the students who didn't understand well enough. "Look, he's an idiot then. Remember, what can we do? If it isn't adding, subtracting, mult. . ." I didn't get to finish.

"OK, OK, I promise that's all I will ever do again. But then why did he say cancel?"

Actually what you are really doing is SUBTRACTING the exact same amount from both sides. See. Pretend it's a balance scale. What is done to one side, the same has to be done to the other so it still balances. It just looks like your canceling in this case. But you are really subtracting. And let's say one side has a 3x. When he says move the 3x to the other side and just change the sign is another case of idiocy. What he should say is we subtract 3x from BOTH sides and voila, here is the 3x with a minus sign!" And I think your problems in Physics are actually math. Let's get out our Physics homework.

And so we did. But then I pulled out a paper I got back in English, I didn't hide it in time.

"Holy smoke, Rocco. You got a C-. You can do better than that!"

"I can't figure it out. I didn't make a single spelling or grammar mistake and still only got a C-." Jade grabbed the paper (I'm still amazed how he can do that so fast), and started reading. Eventually Jade got this sinister smirk on his face. "OK, White-boy, it's my turn to rake YOU over the coals. Remember this is supposed to be a creative writing paper. That means you have to be CREATIVE. And now you need to know a lot of vocabulary words, including cancel!" (He was really piling it on, and it was a smirk, and don't let him say anything different).

Jade finished reading it. "Holy smoke, Rocco, look how many times you used the word `actually'." And most the time it's redundant. That means it's not even needed. You use far too many words. When you get done a paper, a good thing to do is go through it again and start CANCELLING OUT as many words as you can and still keep the same meaning."

"But then I won't have a long enough paper!" (And in spite of what Jade insists, I was NOT whining).

"Easy, just write it a half page longer to begin with! And look here. You keep just describing the characters."

"Well, isn't that what the teacher said to do? Develop the characters?"

"Yeah. But don't be boring doing it! Look, some deliberate description is good. It can really give atmosphere. But that's more for describing the location, or what he's wearing, or stuff like that. But if you're trying to describe a character, how about doing it other ways too? For example, how about making the character describe himself?"

"Now I know you've flipped. So instead of me saying he is an evil shifty not-so-nice person, I get him to walk up to the lady, and HE says `I am an evil shifty so and so'." I smiled because I knew I just deliberately egged Jade on.

"Nice try White-boy, but I know you don't really mean that. How about have him say something that proves or at least suggests he is evil or shifty. Or by describing what he is thinking about, to show it. Or the way he answers a question, or just describe how he did something in the past."

I was starting to get the message. "OK, how about I re-write this like the teacher said we could so I can improve my grade, and then you read it again?" And that's just what we did. Another thing Jade suggested was to get a book or two that I liked and just see how those authors did things. And it gradually worked. Though I still struggled a bit at that kind of writing.

The one thing that had me a bit worried in that course, we had to hand in a small short story that was like an historical fiction. The one thing was that it had to use a paragraph or so from some other book, and make the story join with that paragraph like it belonged. We had a lot of leeway and the story only had to be several pages. But I hadn't even had an idea yet and we only had a few weeks left.

And I remember a funny incident in class a few weeks ago. We just got a writing assignment back, (I got an A- that time), and Jade didn't get his paper back at all.

"Mr. Keller, I didn't get a paper," Jade complained.

"That's OK, Mr. Brown. I have it right here. It was done well enough that I thought I'd read it to the class." Jade was really feeling good about that, and I felt good with him. The teacher absolutely loved Jade. He was really good at this kind of thing. And what was also nice, the students in the class were the better ones in the school, so the teacher praising someone didn't get the harassment you could get with most other students -- well you did but it was usually more in fun.

So the teacher read it. I wasn't surprised by how good it was since I typed it myself. When the teacher finished, he talked about how Jade made the reader get an impression of impending doom, without directly pointing it out.

"So, Jade, how long did you take writing this before you typed out the final version?"

"Actually I didn't. Rocco wrote it, AND typed it out!" That got a few gasps and some good murmuring.

The teacher was totally unfazed. "Nice try Jade. And just to stop the mumbling, Jade was deliberately trying to get a rise out of me. I have no doubt Rocco wrote it as perhaps Jade dictated it, and even probably typed it out for him. Let me rephrase. How much time did you put into this paper?"

"About three or four hours scattered over the week we had to do it."

"So what I am trying to say class, is that even though it appears fairly simple in format, anything done well, takes a lot of time and re-doing. Don't expect to write something on the first draft. Not unless you're Steinbeck or perhaps Ian Fleming."

I was even starting to like that class. The teacher was really good and interesting. I just wished it came easier. Maybe I'm too spoiled, and had to work at something for once.

Jade's uncle was transported to Homesburg Prison at the beginning of October. There was visiting hours but I could readily understand Jade not wanting to see him. We started talking about it.

"I know, I know! But it's just plain hard. I'm not this great fantastic person you seem to think I am." Jade was actually scowling, which wasn't usually him.

I had asked about maybe us seeing his uncle if for no other reason than to say we forgave him. But Jade was still having difficulties. "Look, I know how much the whole thing hurt, and he really deserves to be in jail. But it's for US that we need to do this."

We talked some more but with no definite plan. We agreed to at least wait for a while. (Jade mumbled under his breath "or maybe forever").

With football season most of the fall, both Teague and Jimmy had been so preoccupied being on their respective varsity teams, that we hardly saw either of them. Joey has been going steady with his sister's girlfriend so we haven't seen much of him either. And school work and some extracurricular stuff kept Jade and me pretty busy. Unfortunately our school football team came in tied for last, but Lincoln went to the playoffs. Teague scored two touchdowns but in a losing effort. Jade, Consuelo and I went to cheer him on. I tried to talk Jimmy into coming but he said that would almost be like being a traitor. Teague barely talked to us after the game. Boy, does he hate to lose!

And it was my birthday on the 21st of September, but this time we just had a cake at dinner, and a few presents were given. Jade and I did our own kind of celebrating that weekend. And it was during that specific "celebration" when we started talking about doing more than just mutual masturbation.

We were in that after sex glow and lethargy when I started asking Jade about something and realized he wasn`t paying attention. So I mused out loud: "Hay Jade, don't you think it strange how my birthday keeps falling on the same day?" I had asked Jade when it seemed he wasn't paying attention to me. We were just laying there melting into each other and with that after orgasm glow. I asked Jade a couple questions but he seemed to be somewhere else for the moment.

"Yeah, White-boy, whatever you say."

"And I think you should get those points at the end of your hooks sharpened."

"Yeah, OK."

Now I knew something was up. But it took me another ten minutes to get the energy to actually sit up and ask him about it.

"OK Jade. What're you thinking about? You sure aren't paying attention to ME."

Jade than got up and we were both leaning against the wall. "Sorry White-boy, I was just thinking. We haven't really talked too much about having sex. I mean other kinds of sex."

I looked at Jade and smiled. "Well, I've sure been thinking about it. I guess we just got into our routine and I just let inertia keep us there."

"I will not listen to a physics term right now. You used that word deliberately."

Actually I didn't but perhaps it was on my mind. We had just got done studying all Sunday afternoon and part of the evening for the test on Monday.

Jade was on a roll. "And the teachers that think Mondays are a good day for tests should be shot. What a way to destroy an otherwise perfectly good weekend."

"We actually went to Dan and Allen's place on Saturday. And had a good time."

"Don't interrupt when I'm feeling sorry for myself. It's not polite. Now back to sex. You ever think about oral sex, or even anal sex?"

I sure did and I was getting awfully hard just talking about it. "Actually I thought we could maybe experiment a little. Maybe find out what each other likes. But let's just wait a bit on the anal sex right now. Dan said even if you tried to be careful, it could really hurt at first, and you're getting so big, I'd be a little worried right now." We both knew I also was thinking about how his uncle ripped me so bad last summer. But he had been deliberately brutal.

"It's not an inch over a foot." And we both laughed. It was actually about seven inches. Which seemed awfully big to me.

"Well, you're pretty small yet. I could probably accommodate you with not too much trouble."

I pretended to be insulted. After a few not very subtle remarks were sent back and forth about size and function, we even got out a ruler. By this time we were both sticking straight out. Jade was almost 7 inches not counting the foreskin that stretched a bit further. "I've mentioned this a number of times Jade, but I'm really intrigued by the skin you have at the end of your penis. I had never seen a foreskin before. I wished I hadn't been circumcised. I like the look it gives."

We measured mine too and it was only a little over five inches. "Damn, why does everything about me have to be so small?" I was always a little disappointed that it was so small but Jade told me "perfection was in the eyes of the beholder." I hoped Shakespeare wouldn't mind the rewrite. Jade looked and grabbed my penis with his both arms. "I think yours is perfect. I like it exactly the way it is. And it fits my hand perfectly." We both again laughed. This was a private joke that went back to last summer during Summer Camp. Jade mentioned that even being without his hands for over five years, he still every once in a while, when not really thinking, grabbed for something. Only his hand wasn't there. "Well, it's really disconcerting. I was half asleep and I thought I'd just wake you up by grabbing your crotch and my arm went right by. It was my giggling that actually woke you. I was too embarrassed to tell you why I was giggling and you wouldn't stop tickling me until I confessed."

A while back Allen had claimed that Shakespeare was gay, and tried to prove it by talking about some of the sonnets he wrote.

Of course we were aroused enough again that part two of our "celebration." was immediately commenced.

After our part two ended, I was thinking about what we had talked about earlier and said: "Jade, you realize that this is the very first time you've talked about us doing anal sex? Finally past what happened with your uncle?"

Jade sort of got this pained look but eventually said: "Still hurts. I mean emotionally. I still feel guilty and that's the worst. But I guess I think I can get past that. And to answer, I think I could be ready for us to have anal sex, but only if you want to."

"You know, I really would like to hold off until maybe we got really married and all."

But Jade knew me too well. "Now what's the entire reason?"

"Well, I guess I'm just a bit scared. Your uncle, when he did it, really hurt me a lot. And maybe I was hoping to grow a bit yet."

"OK, White-boy, whatever we do we must do because we love each other, not just because one of us wants the sex that way."

I understood what he meant even if it came out a bit garbled.

Well, we decided that over the Christmas holidays we would experiment with oral sex. I had mixed feelings. I was excited and hesitant at the same time. To actually put Jade's penis into my mouth! The idea excited me and scared me at the same time.

Allan and Dan's wedding had been in mid-October. There were only about a dozen people there. Allen, Dan, Allen's sister Mrs. Goldstein, her son Twain, Consuelo, Jade and myself. And the pastor of course, along with his partner. There were also several close friends of Allen and Dan, including one I was surprised to see, Dan's former roommate. I was pretty sure that the only heterosexuals in the whole church were Mrs. Goldstein, her son, and Dan's former roommate. There was a small organ in the back that the pastor's partner played. Pretty well too. Dan wanted to use the traditional wedding vows, but Allen wanted to improvise. So it was actually about half and half. I thought it was great. Consuelo and Allen's sister were the witnesses. Oh, and Dan's "former" best friend from High School, to whom he sent an invitation anyway, wound up coming. It was quite a pleasant surprise for Dan. Until about a week before the wedding, Dan and his friend Esteban hadn't talked for a couple years, ever since Dan told his friend that he was gay. (So OK, make that four heterosexuals). I wondered if I could possibly have people at our wedding. I almost started getting tearful thinking about it, and I had to ruthlessly stop myself.

Several weeks before the wedding, Allen and Dan were talking about their upcoming wedding plans and Allen mentioned that his sister (Mrs. Goldstein) was going to be at his wedding as one of the witnesses, and that she would almost certainly guess about me and Jade simply by our showing up, if she didn't actually know already. So Jade and I talked about it and told Allen it didn't matter if he told her about us. But I was still mostly worried about Twain and it getting back to school. Then Allen dropped a small bomb.

"Actually Abe (his name for Twain) knows about Dan and me too. About being gay and about getting married. It turns out that Abe had asked his Mom about me once when he started to suspect. We talked about it and he seemed like it didn't matter at all. He said I was always his favorite uncle and it didn't matter. Actually, I'm his only uncle, but we really did get along pretty well, especially since our ages weren't that far apart."

I started getting a bit anxious: "You wouldn't happen to know if Twain, I mean Abe, knows about Jade and me?"

Allen didn't even appear to have to consider: "I really wouldn't know, but I doubt it. At least I never told him, and I really can't see Hilary doing so without a really good reason, that is if she actually knows. At home she doesn't usually talk about people she meets in her work."

Jade and I were wondering how to keep our relationship from anyone at school. Jade and I sure weren't going to miss the wedding, yet how about Twain? So I asked: "I would assume then that Abe is going to be at the wedding?"

"Well of course, he said he wouldn't miss it." And then he realized the import of my question. "Oh I see. What do you guys intend to do?"

Jade and I looked at each other and Jade could see my instant paranoia rise to the surface. It was Jade that answered: "Don't know yet; Rocco and I will have to talk things over."

"Well if it makes any difference, I know that Twain is pretty mature for his age and a good kid. If he says he will keep a secret, he will. And also remember he had no trouble with me and Dan. But it has to be up to you two."

Jade and I talked about it off and on all the way up to the wedding. As I said, we had told Allen, that since his sister was putting on the reception, she obviously had to know that we were going to be there. Jade and I finally agreed to tackle Twain on our own. I was almost petrified at the prospect, but Jade kept reassuring me that everything would be OK.

But it was largely my fault that Twain was still in the dark about us right up to the time of the wedding. I kept procrastinating, even with Jade twisting my arm (once literally, and that pincer thing can hurt). But I just couldn't get up my nerve. Finally, when I did say OK, let's do it, Twain was away in California visiting his father. Aargh!

It seemed that right before the wedding everyone was congregating in the small vestibule, including the groom and the groom as Jade jokingly mentioned a few times. Well anyway, there was Twain, greeting his uncle and Dan as they arrived. And when Jade and I followed right behind, Twain looked just a bit surprised. (Well OK, maybe all the way to shocked even).

"My god, how come YOU TWO are here?"

Allen hadn't told his nephew about us. Mrs. Goldstein hadn't either. And then I realized Jade and I had never even told Twain that we even KNEW his uncle!

I finally answered after a few of these thoughts raced through my brain at light speed. "We've been friends of Dan for quite a while since we got to know him because of his sister." I was starting to sound like a puzzle in logic. "Let me start over. Jade and Consuelo went to school together for a couple years and knew each other very well. Then Jade and I got to meet her brother and got to know him pretty well also. We of course got to know Allen, and we were invited to the wedding."

Twain just looked at us for a few moments and finally said: "That makes perfect sense, but then why didn't my Mom just tell me you guys were going to be at the wedding also?"

His Mom came over to us just then and entered the fray. But she was even more enigmatic. "I assure you that my son can keep an important secret, but it wasn't my place to tell it."

That got Twain even more surprised. "What secret? Would just someone for once tell me exactly what's going on?"

Jade and I looked at each other and finally we both sighed a bit at the same time. It was Jade who spoke first: "Well, let's make this as complicated as possible." And he even smiled, although I thought it looked a bit sardonic. "It was Rocco and me who first talked to Dan and Allen about getting married." And when Twain's expression said he was now even more confused than ever I started to answer but he asked first: "Why in the world would you ever talk to my uncle about him marrying Allen?"

So now I decided to have mercy on him. His Mom, I now realized, must have a weird sense of humor. She was almost laughing and I could see she was enjoying us teasing her own son. "Look, Jade said that deliberately to get you even more confused. His sense of humor needs a bit of help. What he actually meant was that he talked to Dan and Allen about US getting married, Jade and me -- Jade and me getting married. We're actually engaged."

A few seconds later, comprehension suddenly lit Twain's face. It only took that long because he didn't want to believe it at first. But that was only a reflex. "Holy shit. Ooops, sorry Mom. I mean I never once suspected! About you two being together I mean. I mean that way, I mean." Twain got a bit red as he seemed incapable of actually saying what he meant to say. "You mean you two are just like my uncle?"

Jade said: "Precisely."

"And I guess you would only kill me if I were to mention this at school?"

I then said: "Precisely."

"Damn. All the best secrets I actually got to keep from telling anyone. Especially at school."

I was finally feeling more at ease. I hadn't realized just how tense I was in telling Twain and worrying about his reaction, and if I could trust him to keep it quiet.

After the wedding, we all went to Mrs. Goldstein's house except for one of Allen's friends that had to be elsewhere an hour ago. And the small reception went really well. It was Consuelo of course that directed everything and almost everybody. (Her brother seemed able to resist for once). Jade and I had a lot of fun and Dan and Allen of course were like most newlyweds on their wedding day. (No veil of course). I thought they couldn't smile any more if they tried. We even found out that they were going to Cape Cod for a week's honeymoon. They had reservations in Provincetown.

I mentioned having been there a couple years ago on vacation. "It's a beautiful area." Our family had even taken a tourist ride over the area in a cloth winged piper. All except my Mom of course who was severely afraid of heights. "I hope no one there gives you any trouble. And don't kiss in public. That might be a dead giveaway." I thought I was being funny, but Dan and Allen just ignored it. And kissed each other right in front of everyone.

As I start to think about how my life was now going I'm starting to realize that basically I was happy. Sure I had worries, and I hated the atmosphere sometimes at home, especially with the fighting and tension between my parents, but these things I just made up my mind to either escape or ignore most of the time. Jade and I were too busy with living our lives, and only gave these worrisome issues an occasional nod.

One of the teachers at school had mentioned recently that during these years teenagers have a lot of trouble sort of growing up and deciding just who they were going to be. And frequently this meant having a lot of trouble with authority and at home. But it didn't seem so to me. Maybe I had all my trouble last year trying to come to grips with my sexual orientation and with my religion. But now I felt good about these things. If someone asked me if I could, would I make myself heterosexual, I could honestly say no. In spite of all the problems I know it will cause. And in spite of knowing I can't have kids like I so much wanted. There was one simple reason. Jade. I could no longer imagine a future without him.

So as I said, things have just sort of settled into a nice groove. My most pressing problem was trying to decide what to get Jade for Christmas.

Chapter 75b -- The Start of the Good High School Years (part b)

Christmas is coming up soon and it seems the worst problem I am currently facing is what to get Rocco for the occasion. The past several months have flown by so fast and the past few months just went by so fast, I could hardly believe it. And I have, for the first time in my life, been at peace with who I am and my place in the world. I see a future and I am in it.

Of course Rocco somehow thinks I am this special strong individual who can tackle the world and all the problems it throws at me and keep on smiling as I overcome everything with pure determination. How wrong he is. And I know I have gotten through some really difficult times the past several years and I started thinking one day just how I have been so fortunate to arrive where I am now. And I was thinking that it was other people that got me here. Not me. First of all of course there's Rocco. I am absolutely certain of his love in my life. He says all the time (OK so he repeats himself a lot -- but I don't care) that he is totally committed to our life together. And I KNOW that this is true. This one thing alone keeps me strong. So when my White-boy says that I give him strength, it is only because somehow any strength I have comes from us being together. And of course there is the foundation of strength given to me by my Mama. And then there all the other people that have helped both Rocco and me including the Krazenski's.

What a great place to live. After having lived with my uncle and the ever-present tension and threat of his outbursts and even worse, I am so much more grateful for what I now have. I actually look forward to seeing the people that l live with. I realized that in many ways I had been sort of putting my life on hold. Like I was afraid to even think about what was really happening, and how bad things were. Now it is so much more like old times with my Mama. Just sitting down to dinner now gives me great pleasure. I know I am not saying this right. But I guess I so much more appreciate what I now have.

And although Mrs. Krazenski seems bit distant now and then, she is at heart a friendly and kind person who totally cares. I just think she doesn't completely know how to handle my relationship with Rocco. And of course there's the doctor. I keep thinking of him that way since he is so much of the time in what I have come to think of as his "doctor mode." Even when we are just talking, he so frequently starts taking apart what I had been saying, or explaining about, or how I had reacted to something, and tries to make me understand not only how come things happened a certain way, but how come I reacted the way I did. Of course he is not serious like that all the time, especially when he has his family with him. And Cher seems to bring out the doting father in him. And that brings me to Cher. She is sure smart, but many unlikable people are smart. Much more important she is just such a good person. I don't think she has ever in her life entertained a hurtful thought about anyone. The whole atmosphere in this house is almost impossible for me to describe. But when my old church used to speak about how families should embody a true Christian spirit, this family could have been held up as a perfect example.

One of the things I have been the most pleased about, both Rocco and I are on the school newspaper. Although we both are required to write up the usual articles on things happening at school, or different school events like football and so on, Rocco mostly likes it when he writes commentary while I like going around and getting people's opinions on what is going on. The people on the paper have all gotten used to me by now and don't give a second thought anymore to my hooks.

Of course there is this big kid named Ted Szamborski who also works on the paper, and is even in our same class, but somehow I can't ever seem to get friendly with. And neither of us could figure out why. Rocco said that he never got along too well with him but at least Rocco and he at least talk about newspaper stuff now and then. But Szamborski seemed to avoid me as much as possible. I was starting to think is was because I was black, but changed my mind when he wrote an article about all the wars breaking out in Africa and I could see that he really wasn't prejudiced after all. Well, I guess it wasn't too important.

And Father Hearn, though he doesn't say anything, keeps giving Rocco and me those looks. Fortunately he isn't in the newspaper office that much any more. It's a new teacher, Fr. Schields, who has mostly taken over.

And Rocco is writing a regular column now. He got permission, so long as it's approved before hand. He writes about teens and school and that kind of stuff and tries to tie it into stuff from the bible. Rocco said he tries to I keep it upbeat and positive. And nothing controversial. He even used the byline as "the preacher." In the first article, he used what those two boys said to me at lunch back near the start of the school year. The article didn't really go after them that much but just used what they said to lead into the column. Rocco said that this being a Catholic school, it was easy to get it approved after he showed Fr. Schields a couple of the columns he had already written.

And of course there's the new upheaval in my life -- and at times I even think of it that way -- my going to Father Judge High School. Now I know that I've been saying how great it is being in the same school and all with Rocco, but it is an upheaval nonetheless. Of course this needs some explanation because it's complicated. (How I am really starting to really dislike that word!) I have certainly come aware very forcibly over the past half year that in some ways I am not a good "change" person. I mean I don't deal with change especially well. I need my security. If I were Linus, you would never see me without that decrepit blanket. The doctor and I talked about this at some length. And I understand this about myself now. But with my transfer to Father Judge, not to mention my moving in with the Krazenski's, it seems that my life has almost been totally rearranged. I am so thankful that I have had one most steady component in my life -- my White-boy. He keeps saying that I am his strength -- little does he know.

And there's another aspect of what I mean when I say things have changed. I really don't think it's Rocco that has changed so much, but now that I see him so much more, especially at school, he's not quite the boy I had come to think of as my White-boy. One thing I have come to realize is that he is "complicated." I don't mean that in a bad way this time. I mean I've seen him in these real serious moods sometimes, but at school he's even more so. He is so serious about so many things that I can never get all that excited about. And he gets in these periods of concentration sometimes that I'm not even there for him for a while. Now I see how he does so well in his schoolwork. But he takes some of this stuff way too seriously; I've got to get him to have more plain fun. That's not to say he don't ever have fun. He does, but he also has a tendency to forget all the rules and doesn't worry enough about consequences.

Like a couple weeks after school started. We had this test coming up in Algebra. And the lunch period before the test he brought his book with him and he would block everything out and just like stare at the book. Not even a pencil in sight. No wonder he stays so skinny (oops, I mean slender), he didn't eat anything at all. Then when I tried to talk to him he just had this weird blank look and said something I couldn't understand, and then looked back at the book. He got an A of course. (I will NOT tell you what I scored). Then in Spanish class later that day, Rocco and his friend Jim Jabloski (or I should say his fellow conspirator), snuck Sariego's notebook out of his grip, and put whole lots of confetti (tiny torn up pieces of toilet paper) all through its pages. Frank has always taken great pride in his note books; they were almost works of art. As class was ready to start there was Frank opening his book with the home made confetti flying all over. There was quite a laugh, especially from Rocco and Jabloski who had to stand up and take a bow -- unfortunately just as the teacher entered the room. After class they were still laughing -- even if it was on their way to detention (or JUG as they called it here). I told Rocco that we had a TV to fix after school but he didn't seem it was as important as the joke they pulled on poor Frank.

I waited until he got out of JUG, and he could tell right away I wasn't real happy.

"Hay Jade, thanks for waiting. Boy, we better hurry if we are going to fix that TV before dinner. We're already late."

When I didn't answer right away, Rocco knew that I was even more than just not real happy. When Rocco is angry about something important, he starts talking more; I'm usually the opposite. I'm not exactly sure why, but one thing is I didn't want to say something I'd regret later. That's not the whole reason though. I also think that with someone that is so important to me, I don't want to upset our relationship. But I was still mad, and I knew I'd have to say something eventually. Rocco and I both talked about how important it was to talk about these things.

Of course if there is one thing Rocco can't stand, is any kind of vacuum. And I was causing a big one.

Rocco must have been thinking hard for a while since he was also quiet all the time we were at our lockers and even out the door. We were well on our way home when he suddenly stopped, looked around to see if we were observed, and then just grabbed my arm and said simply: "Sorry Jade. Sometimes I don't think."

My former bad mood and anger evaporated instantly. I was easily able to understand all the meaning those few words held. I grabbed him and said: "I know."

All was OK again in the universe.

And there was also that time in Religion class. The teacher was talking about sacraments. (I had a hard time understanding how the teacher got all fired concerned about needing to actually EXPLAIN HOW marriage was a sacrament). I mean it's just what it is -- ain't it? You just look at what was written in the bible and go with the flow so to speak. That's how we learned it in my Church. But NO, not here. There had to be this big important explanation about outward signs -- and "conferring of grace" and a whole lot of what I thought of as "mumbo-jumbo." So I did what I usually do at these times. I just started thinking about something else. But all of a sudden I hear a big groan coming from the seat next to me. Rocco was taking it all so serious. He had his hand up and HAD to say something! The teacher finally asked him what was his question and the fireworks began.

"Don't it seem awful strange to you Father, that this explanation is exactly what you would read in some sorcerer's book of magic? And all this time I was just thinking that religion should be more about relationships -- like in the case of marriage, between the two people, and maybe how their relationship can bring them closer to God. This sounds more like some magic spell."

The class erupted. The teacher was NOT happy. He said something about Rocco not understanding the finer points of theology, but I sure thought he had a point. Things sort of quieted down again but Rocco had to have one last say.

"But if Christ instituted marriage as a sacrament, then how come it took the Church over a thousand years to recognize the fact? And how come for centuries, they wouldn't even let marriage ceremonies take place in any church?"

I was wondering where he got all that stuff but I guess with Dan and Allen's marriage coming up he was reading up on it. Rocco was the only boy I knew who actually went to the library and looked things up in the encyclopedias without having to do it for some school assignment.

I just can't seem to get as excited about religion as Rocco, in spite of being raised a good Baptist. Of course now I feel so much more accepted for who I am at Reverend Burrowes' church. And they don't have sacraments either. At least not the way the Catholic Church teaches about them.

And I guess that brings me to the number one most astounding thing that happened in the last several months. Dan and Allen got married! I know a lot of people will never consider it a real marriage but my White-boy has me convinced that it is just as real as between any other two people. Of course it was this happening that caught both of us in a strange set of circumstances. When Dan and Allen gave us an invitation to their wedding, Rocco was instantly happy and excited. And so was I. And strangely, at the time, we never considered the implication of who else would also be there. About two weeks or so before the wedding, Allen and Dan were talking about some of the specifics and when Allen mentioned how OK his nephew Abe (Twain) was with their relationship I then surmised that Twain would also be at their wedding. And then I swear I could see the gears in Rocco's brain suddenly start stripping as a sudden intruding thought brought his previous thoughts to a screeching halt.

After a while I was able to dispel some of Rocco's rising paranoia and we eventually agreed to bring up the subject with Twain of our intention of going to his uncle's wedding. But of course Rocco kept putting it off long enough that by the time of the wedding Twain still didn't know we were going to be there. Rocco was really fretting but I refused to commiserate. It was his own fault. I was just going to watch the fireworks. And the display was even more spectacular than I anticipated. It seems that his own mother didn't even tell him beforehand.

Well the wedding, and the small party afterwards at Twain's house, went very well. Even a friend whom Dan thought he had lost forever came. And when I saw them talking later at the reception, I couldn't make out what was being said but I could see tears in Dan's eyes as his friend gave him a good hug. Of course Consuelo made sure that everything was organized so that things "would go as they should" as she explained. The way everyone actually celebrated Dan and Allen getting married, helped me to reacquire some faith in the human race. (Even if none of their parents would attend). But I had a bit more hope for the future.

On the way home afterwards, Rocco was quite elated and started talking about us getting married some time in the future. "Jade, the only thing I am now sad about -- and don't get that look you get -- is that I had to lie to my parents about where I was tonight."

I immediately stopped looking "that look," and gave my White-boy a big hug. He sure knew what my hug meant.

I was quite excited to have a real Thanksgiving again this year, along with a big dinner and all the happy things that go with it. Even if it wasn`t going to be with my White-boy. (We had devised our own small "thanksgiving" for later in the evening). The doctor's parents were going to be there, along with his younger sister. It turns out that the doctor's sister was seriously affected by Down's syndrome and still lived with their parents.

I was all morning thinking about everything I had to be thankful for and it seemed like every other item had Rocco figured in somewhere. And what had me so happy was that I was certain that Rocco's would have me in his thoughts the same way. I couldn't stop smiling.

"What are you so happy about Jade?" Cher and I were fixing what I now thought of as Rocco's famous turkey stuffing. I guess I was broadcasting at a thousand watts. So I told her just what I was thinking.

Of course, Cher being who she was, started thinking a bit more than normal small girl thoughts. (OK, as she has pointed out more than a few times recently, she was now a teenager). "Jade, I know that I can't quite understand why Rocco has to be a boy exactly, but I am really happy for both of you." And with that she gave me a big hug. I had to surreptitiously wipe the tears from my eyes before anyone else came into the kitchen just then.

Much later that evening, I snuck outside where Rocco was waiting for me. We both had a small piece of our respective turkey dinners and fed them to each other. (And STOP your smirking! To us it meant a lot and I don't care if you thing it too schmaltzy). Later the next day Rocco and I were in my room, with the door well shut. (And we made sure Cher wasn't anywhere near). I suspect that you already know what went on. I will simply say that we expressed our thankfulness for our own special relationship in a way couples have been doing for millions of years.

The following day, when everyone else was out shopping, we met over at Stan's house with a few of our friends and had the first half-ball game in quite some time. Jimmy and Stan were there along with Teague and Joey and even Brim showed up. Apparently Teague was able to separate him from his current girlfriend for more than a couple hours. I got a little razzing from Teague about now living with some "rich white folk" but I could see that it was just in fun. We were playing in the driveway outside Stan's house this time. Rocco's hitting was terrible at first and we lost all our games, but I didn't care. I was realizing that winning was more than in just a score. Of course it wasn't in Rocco's dictionary that way. When we split up black boys vs. white boys, Rocco started getting his usual fanatical determination. He hit three home runs his first three at bats. His team won by one run. Rocco then had to make some remark about white boys being inherently superior to black boys, and he and Teague got into a battle of words. I knew Rocco was just kidding, and I was sure Jimmy and Stan also realized that. But I could tell they were wondering just how Teague and Brim would respond. Of course it brought out Teague's competitiveness to its full expression. He literally put on an amazing show in the outfield, even if it meant diving on the hard pavement, to rob the other team of quite a number of hits.

I couldn't believe when after the game, (which we won by a couple runs), Rocco and Teague were happily bragging to each other about all the scrapes and bruises they got while robbing each other's teams of different hits. I was suddenly amazed even at myself when I momentarily entertained the thought of how Rocco and Teague must have somehow been related.

It took some persuading, but I was able to talk Joey into coming back with me and Rocco to my house afterwards. He said that that little kid Tim from down the block had been asking where I had gotten to. I was thinking that sometime soon I would try to look him up and maybe do something with him. I hadn't seen him since our last trip to the Rosemont Farms.

Of course I had to show him how great it was living with "rich white folk." I had gotten pretty used to all the really nice things the Krazenski's had, but I could see that Joey was really impressed. I also had to show him my color TV, my own phone, and all the other things I had accumulated. But I think what astounded him most was what happened when the Krazenski's showed up when we were back down in the kitchen having a little pre-dinner snack.

I wasn't even able to introduce him to everybody yet when Cher rushed up to me, jumped into my arms, and started gushing about all the neat things they had gotten me for Christmas. (But she couldn't tell me what since it was a big secret).

After disentanglement, I finally did all the introduction stuff, but I could tell that Joey was a bit uncomfortable. I went outside with Rocco and Joey when they left to go home. As soon as we closed the door behind us Joey spun around and said: "Wow! I seen it with my own eyes, but I still can't believe it!"

I was a bit amused. I didn't realize that Joey would be so taken by all the neat stuff I had. "Well, it's just things. I don't . . ." I never got to finish.

"No! I mean that girl. You were hugging a white girl!"

Rocco seemed amused himself at both our expressions. "Joey, that's just Jade's sister."

I guess Rocco didn't fully understand Joey's reaction. And I was so used to being around Cher, it all seemed perfectly normal. But I thought I'd just rub it in a bit more. "Joey, can't a guy and his sister hug each other? And by the way, she was hugging me." I couldn't stop myself from laughing.

Later that night at dinner I told the doctor and his wife about Joey's reaction. Cher couldn't understand how come it was such a big deal. Mrs. Krazenski made some remark about how it was a shame that it WAS a big deal. While the doctor predicted that by the time I had teenagers, the country would mostly see nothing unusual with different races even marrying each other. He said it was about time all the anti-miscegenation laws were taken off the books. Of course Cher insisted on all the necessary explanations.

And it was finally she who took her father's previous remark literally. "And anyway daddy, Jade and Rocco won't be able to have kids."

Talk about bombshell remarks.

A couple weeks before Christmas, and I still haven't figured out what I am going to get my White-boy for Christmas.

Copyright 2006 by Rocco Paperiello