What's The Difference Between Me and You?

By Nick

Chapter Sixteen



Nick sat across from James at the table and smiled at him. James was grinning, and Nick knew why, but he didn't dare say anything in front of his dad, Lori or his papu. Lori had cooked breakfast for everyone before church, and as she was setting it on the table, she must have noticed the grins that Nick and James had, because she spoke up.

"What are you two up too," she said in a joking way, causing Jim and big Nick to turn their attention toward Nick and James. Nick thought quickly, though, and he held his hand up so everyone could see his fingernails.

"James gave me a manicure last night," Nick said.

Lori took Nicks hand in hers and inspected his fingers closely, then she turned his hand over and looked at his fingertips. She looked impressed.

"You did this, James, she asked as she let Nicks hand go.

"Yes ma'am," James answered.

"He did my hair too," Nick said.

"I noticed that your hair was done, buddy," Jim said. "It looks good."

"Thank you daddy," Nick said with a smile. "We couldn't sleep last night because you and papu snore too loud."

"Oh really?" Jim said as big Nick chuckled. "I didn't hear anything."

"Trust me Uncle Jim," James said sarcastically. "You guys were snoring like bears."

Jim reached over and gave James a playful shove and smiled at him, then turned his attention back to his food.

During church, they sat with Taylor and his parents. Nick kept watching Taylor from where he was sitting, and he wondered if Taylor was thinking about what had happened between them that morning when they were looking for wood to build the ramp. Nick couldn't get it off his mind, and the more he looked at Taylor, the more he thought about it. He wanted to sit next to Taylor, but unfortunately, they were sitting about four spaces away from each other. Taylor was sitting between Charles and Cindy, and Nick was sitting between his papu and James.

The service seemed to last forever, and Nick was starting to feel restless. He was ready to go home, but the pastor hadn't even given the invitation to be saved yet. As it wore on, Nick's mind started to wander. He knew that his papu would be leaving on Thursday, and he was sad about that, but he was glad that Taylor would be able to spend the night again next weekend. He tried not to think about what he wanted to do with him, but it seemed useless. He could only think about Taylor, and how much he liked him. Then he decided to pass the time by pretending in his head that he was at church with his boyfriend and his family, who all knew that he was gay and that him and Taylor were together, and who accepted it.

Finally, the pastor had everyone stand and pray, and then he gave the invitation. Nick smiled when he saw people go up to the front of the church to be saved. It made him feel good that he was there, and that this was something that Taylor liked to do. After the service was over, Jim introduced Taylor's parents to big Nick, and invited them over for lunch. Nick perked up when his dad asked them to come over, but they had other plans and said they couldn't, and Nick suddenly felt disappointed.

"Can Taylor come over when you get home," Nick asked.

"Well, you have a visitor right now, buddy," Charles said. "I don't think it's very polite for Taylor to come over when you're trying to visit with you're grandfather."

"It's polite," Nick said, trying to sound convincing. "Taylor can come over when we have visitors."

Charles smiled at Nick and patted him on the head. "We'll see," he said.

"Well, maybe if we're home later, you can call Taylor and you guys can ride bikes," Jim said.

"Yes sir," Nick said feeling disappointed.

They drove home to change, and then they went out to lunch. Lori offered to cook something, but big Nick insisted that he buy lunch, so they drove down to the oceanfront to look for a restaurant. After lunch, they walked down to the beach so that big Nick could get a better look at the Atlantic Ocean. Nick asked his dad if he could go in the water, and Jim looked at him like he had lost his mind.

"Did you hit your head or something boy," Jim asked. "That water is probably 40 degrees. No way."

Nick pouted as they walked along the beach, feeling angry with his dad for not letting him swim. In his head, he was thinking about all of the reasons why he should be able to go in the water if he wanted too, but he knew that his dad would never let him. After a few moments, they made it to a concession area of the beach where they rented four wheeled bikes that would seat up to six people, so Jim and big Nick walked over to the rental desk. When they did, Nick decided that he was going to go swimming, and that if he got in trouble, he would worry about that later. As soon as Jim wasn't watching, he dashed toward the water, kicking his shoes off on the way. As soon as he saw a wave coming toward him, he jumped into it, and he immediately gasped from the cold. He could hear his dad screaming at him, but he had just swallowed a mouthful of saltwater and was trying to cough it up when he was swept out into the water by the undercurrent. Nick tried his hardest to stay above the water, but he still hadn't caught his breath from the mouthful of saltwater he swallowed and more water was going up his nose and in his mouth, and he was instantly scared. He swam toward the beach with all of his might, but he was moving further away from the beach. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he felt an arm around his waist and he was being drug to shore. When they got to the beach, he stayed on his hands and knees and coughed up all of the water he had swallowed as he tried not to cry. He felt his dad hitting his back with an open hand, trying to help him get it all out, and finally, he was able to breathe. When he looked up, he saw his dad, who looked scared and was dripping wet from head to toe.

As Jim helped him stand up, he looked around and saw his papu, James and Lori, who was crying, looking at him. He suddenly felt humiliated, and he turned to his dad and teared up. Jim lifted him up and carried him back to the car, and Nick just buried his face in his dad's chest. He knew that there was a crowd of people watching, and he didn't want them to see his face at all.

"What were you thinking about son," Jim asked as they headed toward the car, but Nick didn't answer. He just cried, not sure anymore what he was thinking when he decided to go in the water, especially after his dad told him not to.

As they got to the car, Jim opened his trunk and took out a jacket that he kept there. He peeled Nick's shirt off and put the jacket on him, which was way to big for him, and he zipped it up. Then Jim made Nick take off his shorts and underwear, but the jacket was so big that it covered his privates, so no one could see them.

Nick got in the car and cried while Jim talked to the lifeguard, who had come up to the car when someone pointed out what happened. Nick could hear his dad telling the lifeguard everything, then he opened the door and the lifeguard stuck his head in the car.

"Are you okay," he asked in a soft voice. Nick nodded sadly and looked down. "That water is too cold for anyone to be in right now, and I hope that the next time your dad tells you not to get in, you listen."

"Yes sir," Nick said through his tears. The lifeguard took his head back out of the car, and Jim closed the door again. After a few more moments, everyone got back in the car and they went home. Jim sat in the back seat with Nick, and Lori drove. The ride back was silent, and Nick felt horrible. He had ruined everyone's day, and he knew it. He worried that his papu probably couldn't wait to get home now and that he might not even want to come back to visit for Thanksgiving.

When they got home, Jim took Nick upstairs right away and they got in the shower together. After their shower, Jim wrapped Nick up in a towel and had him wait on his bed while he got dressed. When he was finished, he carried Nick to his room and dressed him. As he was putting Nick's clothes on him, he spoke.

"Son, I'm really upset with what you did," he said. "You purposely defied me and you almost drowned. I don't know what was going through your head, but whatever it was, it's earned you a spanking."

"I'm sorry," was all that Nick had time to say. Jim turned him around and used a belt Nick didn't even know he had hit his bottom three times.

"The next time I tell you something, you'll listen," Jim said. "Otherwise, you'll get another spanking. Is that understood?"

Nick didn't answer. Instead, he lay on his bed and cried into his pillow.

"I want an answer," Jim said, but Nick still didn't answer him. He felt the belt hit him a forth time, and Jim spoke again.

"Do you understand what I told you," Jim asked forcefully. "Answer me before you get another one."

"Yes," Nick cried loudly. "Don't hit me again."

Jim put the belt down and sat on the bed, where Nick was still crying in his pillow, and he spoke again.

"You almost drowned today, son," he said. "Do you understand that? You almost died."

Nick couldn't answer his dad because he was still crying from the whipping he got, but Jim went on.

"Son, if I ever lose you, I don't know what I'd do," he said. "You're all I have. When I tell you to do something, it isn't because I'm trying to be mean. I told you that the water was too cold, but you went in anyway. Why?"

"I don't know," Nick cried.

"I think I know why," Jim said. "It's time for you to take a nap. You didn't get any sleep last night, and you need to sleep now."

Jim leaned over and kissed Nick on the back of his head, then he got up and left the room. After Jim left the room, Nick laid still and cried some more, feeling sorry for himself. He couldn't understand why his dad would want to spank him when he was the one who had almost drowned. Thoughts swirled through his head about why he hated his dad, and how he wished he could go back to California with his papu, but soon he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore, and he fell asleep.

Nick felt his bed dip a little and he opened his eyes to find his papu sitting on the edge of his bed.

"Hey little polakia," big Nick said as he ran his hand over Nicks face affectionately.

"Are you mad at me," Nick asked.

"No," big Nick answered. "I wish you hadn't gone in the water when your daddy said not to, but I'm not mad at you. I'm just glad that you're okay."

"I love you papu," Nick said as he started to get emotional.

"I love you too, polakia," big Nick said. "I would be really sad right now if you would've drowned."

"I want to go home with you," Nick said. "I don't want to live with my dad anymore."

"Yes you do," big Nick said. "You're just upset about getting a whipping."

"I didn't deserve one," Nick cried.

"Well, maybe you didn't," said big Nick. "But I bet that the next time your daddy tells you to stay out of the water, you'll listen."

"No I won't," Nick said defiantly through his tears. "I'm going to go further in and drown so that I can't get a spanking."

"You don't mean that," big Nick said.

"I do too," Nick said sadly. "I don't want to be his son anymore."

"Well, dinners ready," big Nick said as he got up. "If you're hungry, you need to come downstairs and eat with us."

"I'm not," Nick said as he sat on his bed and pouted. Big Nick shrugged and walked out of the room, and Nick closed the door and turned on his TV to watch cartoons. After a few minutes, his door opened and Jim walked in.

"Son, it's time for you to come downstairs and eat," he said. Nick acted as if he didn't hear him, and he turned his TV up to try to drown his dad out, so Jim walked up to the TV and unplugged it from the back.

"Let's go now," Jim said angrily, but Nick just looked up at him defiantly and refused to get up. "Okay, if you don't want to listen, that's fine. You're grounded from any TV for a month, and you'll still come eat."

"I'm not hungry," Nick said. "Especially if you cooked."

"I don't care if you're hungry or not," Jim yelled. "You'll do what you're told."

"No I won't," Nick yelled back. "I hate you!"

Jim turned and stormed out of the room, and Nick sat back down on the beanbag in disbelief. He couldn't believe that he just won a fight with his dad, and he couldn't believe the way his dad just gave up and left. He got up and plugged his TV back in, then he turned it back on and laid down on his bed to watch cartoons.


As Nick stepped off the bus behind Taylor, his heart was racing. He knew that his dad was in Norfolk, dropping his papu off at the airport, and that he wouldn't be home for about an hour. James was going to watch him as soon as he got home, but in the meanwhile, he would have to wait at his grandparents. As he expected, Linda was waiting at the bus stop for him when he got off the bus, and as she took his backpack from him, he looked up at her with the sweetest look he knew how to make, and asked her if he could ride his bike to Taylor's.

"We'll see," Linda answered as they walked up the road. "I'm sure you're dad wants you to do your homework first."

"Please, grandma," Nick pleaded. "I always do it when James does his."

Linda sighed and looked at Nick, but eventually she smiled and said, "Okay."

Nick's insides jumped when she gave in and he threw both of his arms up in the air like he had just won a race, then he gave her a long hug.

"I love you grandma," he said.

"I love you too, sweetheart," she replied. "I want you to make sure to be back when your father gets home. Is that understood?"

"Yes ma'am," Nick said as he made his way between his grandparent's house and his house to the backyard. He used his key to go inside, then he locked the back door behind him and walked through the house to the hallway, where he went into the garage and got on his bike to ride it out the side door.

When Nick rode up to Taylor's house, he expected him to be waiting for him out front, but instead, the door was closed and Nick thought he could hear crying from upstairs as he walked up the sidewalk through the yard to ring the doorbell. After a few minutes, Cindy answered the door, but she looked upset about something.

"Hi Nick," she said quietly. "How are you doing today?"

"I'm doing fine, Miss Cindy," he answered. "How are you?"

"I'm doing okay," she said. "Let me see if Taylor can come to the door right now."

Nick felt confused about not being invited inside the house like he usually was, but he just shrugged and waited. Finally, after a long wait, Taylor came to the door, and he looked like he had just wiped tears from his cheeks.

"Hi Nick," he said as he came outside and closed the door behind him.

"What's wrong," Nick asked, feeling nervous about the way Taylor and Cindy were acting.

"Nothing," Taylor said as he looked down. Nick knew something was wrong, but he didn't say so. Instead, he held his helmet up and asked, "Can you ride your bike?"

"Let me ask my mom," Taylor said. "I'll be right back."

Taylor went back inside without inviting Nick to come with him, and as he stood on the porch and waited, Nick wondered what the problem was. Finally, Taylor came back outside with his helmet in his hand and without a word, he led the way through the gate to his backyard where he got on his bike and rode it back out the gate. Nick got on his bike and followed, and soon they were on the trail. Nick sped up to get in front of Taylor, and then he made a quick turn back into the trees where they could hide. Once he got far enough into the trees, he stopped.

"Are you okay," Nick asked as Taylor got off his bike and threw it down.

"Yes," Taylor said in a grouchy voice that hurt Nick's feelings.

"Are you mad at me for something," he asked, feeling uncomfortable.

"No," Taylor snapped as he pulled his deck of Pokemon cards out of his pocket and started to thumb through them.

"Why are you talking to me that way then?" Nick demanded.

"I'm not!" Taylor yelled, causing a rush of anger to run through Nick's body. "Why can't you shut up?"

Nick glared at Taylor for a moment, and then he did something he never thought he could do. He worked up as much flem as he could and spit it out, right on Taylor. As soon as he did, he felt sorry, but he didn't have a chance to apologize. Taylor ran up to him and pushed him to the ground, then he spit back on Nick, then on his bike.

Taylor was picking his bike back up as Nick made it to his feet, and just as he was about to climb on, Nick ran up to him and punched him in the stomach as hard as he could. Taylor bent over, holding his stomach and fell backwards, sitting down to try to catch his breath. Nick stood and watched as he rolled over and started to cry.

"Why did you do that, Nick," he asked through his sobs. "I thought you were my friend."

A feeling of guilt came over Nick as he watched Taylor cry, and he was speechless. Taylor's crying got louder and harder as he started to catch his breath, and the look on his face was too much for Nick to handle. It was a look he'd seen before on James' face. And when he saw it on Taylor's face, he felt like dirt.

"I'm sorry I did that, Taylor," Nick said softly as he sat down on the ground next to his best friend. "I didn't mean to hurt you."

Taylor didn't look at him. Instead, he buried his face between his legs and cried. Nick put his arm around him and started to rub his back, but Taylor's crying didn't stop. Finally, after a few minutes, Taylor looked at Nick with a devastated look and said, "I want to go live with my mom."

He put his head back down in his lap and started crying again, and Nick felt helpless. He didn't know what to say or what to do, so he just sat there until Taylor stopped crying.

"Taylor, I'm sorry I was mean to you," Nick said. "I thought you were being mean to me, so I got mad."

"I didn't mean to yell at you, Nick," Taylor said as he started to sob again. "My mom called and I didn't get to talk to her."

"Why not," Nick asked.

"She forgot to ask to talk to me again," he cried. Nick felt so horrible for his best friend, but he had no idea what to say or do to make things better. Not only had he spit on him and beat him up, but now he couldn't even find something to say to try to make him feel better. They sat quietly for a long time while Nick rubbed Taylor's back, trying to do anything he could to make things better.

"Let's ride our bikes somewhere," Taylor finally said.

"Where to," Nick asked, willing to do whatever Taylor wanted to do if it would make him smile.

"Let's go to your house," Taylor said. "We can play Tekken 3 on your Play Station."

Nick stood up and held out his hand for Taylor to take. He pulled him up, and then they dusted each other off before they got on their bikes. When they go to Nick's house, they put their bikes in the garage and went inside. James was on the phone with a friend, so they went upstairs to start the game. They had just relaxed on the beanbag and started to play the game when they heard Jim's car. The music was louder than usual, so even from the back of the house, upstairs; they could hear him pull into the driveway. Nick got up and went downstairs to greet his dad, and when he ran up to give him a hug, a familiar scent took him by surprise. He looked up at his dads face, and his eyes were bloodshot and almost closed.

"Hey buddy," Jim said as Nick let go of the hug. "How was your day?"

"It was okay, except that me and Taylor had a fight," Nick said.

"An argument," Jim asked.

"No," Nick said. "We had a fight."

Jim stared at the ground for a long moment, as if he were thinking about what Nick told him, then he looked across the room and used both of his hands to rub his eyes, as he seemed to focus again.

"What for," he finally asked.

"We were arguing about something, then we spit on each other, then we had a fight," Nick explained to his dad, who seemed to have drifted off again. "We made up though."

"That's good," Jim said in a voice that said he was listening but not paying attention.

"We're in my room playing Tekken 3, okay." Nick said.

"Okay, babe," Jim said as he turned and made his way toward the kitchen. Nick made it up the stairs but he stopped at the top and sat down for a minute. He knew what his dad had done on the way to taking his papu to the airport. He wasn't too shocked, but he was definitely feeling disappointed. He hadn't seen his dad get high since they were on their way to Virginia. Jim would hide in the bathroom at the hotels they stayed at to smoke a joint, but it seemed like he had quit since they moved. Now his dad was downstairs, in their new house, and he was definitely stoned. Nick wasn't sure how he felt about that.

He got up and made his way back to his bedroom, where Taylor was playing without him and yelling at his man because the computer was winning.

"I don't think my controller's working," he said as he reset the game. Nick smiled and sat down next to him and watched as Taylor played. After resetting the game a few times, Taylor gave up and turned off the Play Station.

Nick," Taylor started as he settled back down on the beanbag next to Nick after turning the TV off. "I'm sorry about earlier."

"Me too, Taylor," Nick said softly as he scooted closer to his best friend. "I didn't know that you were having a bad day."

"Do you forgive me," Taylor asked with a hopeful look on his face. Nick smiled at him and nodded, then he put his arms around Taylor and gave him a long hug.

"Let's never fight again, Taylor," Nick said.

"We won't," Taylor answered. "I'm glad we made up."

When Nick got off the school bus that afternoon, he wanted to spend the afternoon with Taylor so that they could cuddle and kiss, which was something they hadn't had the chance to do all week long while his papu was visiting. Now that he had Taylor in his room, that was the furthest thing from his mind. The only thing he wanted to do was sit with his best friend and feel his warm body up against his. It wasn't just the fact that they were snuggling together that made Nick feel so good. It was the fact that he was there with Taylor sharing something that he couldn't describe. The feeling he had wasn't about how cute Taylor looked, or about how sweet his voice was, or about how good Taylor made him feel whenever they were with each other in private. It was about him being there with Taylor, and about Taylor being there with him.

"I thought we weren't going to be friends anymore," Taylor said as he laid his head on Nicks shoulder. "I thought I made you hate me."

"You didn't," Nick said as the reality of what Taylor was telling him set in. "I don't know why I got so mad. I just felt like you were yelling at me for no reason, and I got mad. I'm sorry for spitting on you and hitting you."

"It's okay, Nick," Taylor said as he used his hand to rub Nicks back. "We both got mad."

Taylor lifted his head from Nicks shoulder and smiled sweetly at him, and when Nick looked into his eyes, he suddenly understood what it meant when people said that they had butterflies in their stomachs. That's when he lost control of himself for a moment and planted a kiss on Taylor's lips. He didn't try to move in with his tongue again, but he did hold it there for a while as he felt his lips tingle.

"I love you," Nick said as he pulled his lips away from Taylor's.

"I love you too, Nick," Taylor said. They sat together on the beanbag for a while and just snuggled. Nick felt like the happiest person in the world while he was sitting there. They didn't have to mess around that afternoon, or do anything with each other. Just having that private time alone with his best friend, his brother, was enough. The fact that they weren't blood related was a minor detail to Nick, and he could feel in his heart that Taylor felt the same way. He knew that today, right there in his room, his relationship with Taylor had grown again, in a way that was more important than ever before. Kissing Taylor today wasn't about being attracted to him, or about being gay. It was about caring about his friend, and when he told him that he loved him, he meant it in a way that he would've told James or his dad that he loved them.

Nick was lost in thought when his door opened and Jim walked in.

"Hey guys," he said. "Is everything okay?"

"Yes sir," Nick said, looking up at his dad for any sign that he was stoned. "We talked about what happened."

"That's good, boys," Jim said. "Taylor, your dad's here."

"He is," Taylor asked, looking almost alarmed as he stood up.

"He's downstairs," Jim said. Nick got up and followed his dad and Taylor downstairs, where Charles was waiting in the family room.

"Hey sport," Charles said with a smile to his son.

"Hi dad," Taylor said nervously. "Am I late?"

"No, I just wanted to come get you so we could talk," Charles answered.

"What about," Taylor asked.

"Why don't we put your bike in the back of the truck, " Charles said. "We'll talk about it on the way home, okay?"

Jim led Charles out to the garage where Taylor's bike was and the two men talked out front while Nick and Taylor waited inside. From the house, Nick could see his dad shaking his head with an outraged look on his face as Charles spoke. Both men seemed to be equally disgusted, and Taylor looked down when Nick faced him.

"They're talking about my mom," Taylor said sadly. "I know it."

"Why," Nick asked.

"My dad hates her, and he says bad stuff about her to people," Taylor said with a look on his face that let Nick know that he was being overcome with sadness.

"How come he does that," Nick asked.

"Because he doesn't want me to live with her when she moves back here," Taylor said almost defiantly. "But I'm going too. He can't stop me."

Just as Taylor was saying this, the door opened from the garage into the hallway and the men came back inside the house. Charles looked at Taylor sadly and held out his hand.

"Come on, sport," he said softly. "We need to get going."

Taylor didn't argue with his father. Instead, he took his dads hand and walked out the door with him as Nick watched. At that moment, whether it made sense or not, Taylor looked like the bravest person Nick had ever met in his life. He felt scared for Taylor because he knew that things weren't okay with his mom, and he wondered if going to live with her when she moved back to Virginia Beach was a good idea. He looked out the window again as Charles and Taylor got into the truck, and he expected them to drive off. Instead, they sat in front of the house and talked for a long time, and as Nick watched, he felt bad for Taylor. Even though he didn't know what they were saying, he knew that they were having a serious talk, and he could tell from the look on Taylor's face that he didn't like what they were talking about.

"Come on, buddy," Nick heard his dad say as he felt his hand on his shoulder. "They're going to be fine."



If you like what you've read, go check out my hosted page at Gay Authors by clicking here: The Official Home of Nickolas James

While you're there, don't forget to VOTE for my site

You can also leave your thoughts in my forum by clicking here: Stories at Gay Authors -> Nickolas James's Forum

You can also email my at

You can also find my other work at Nifty by following these links: 


My Jump Off


Check out my latest short story here