I cant figure out why Im sleepwalking. Ive never done it before. When I woke up tonight I was downstairs, in the bathroom, on my butt on the floor. I had a bruise on my forehead, and it hurt. I remember a dream in which I was running, and I fell. Thats when I woke up. But this is supposed to be a happy time. I should be happy, sleeping, rested. And Im not...
The next few days we spent together, but not always. I had promised Id help Becky Decker pick out a birthday present for her dad. We went shopping at hardware stores, a jewelry store and a mens store. Obviously she had no idea what to get him. Since they lived on a farm and he did a lot of the maintenence on their equipment, she thought something along the automotive line would be good. But he had almost everything she could afford. She decided on a pocket watch. Mr. Decker was a nice dresser, and on Sundays he put on his best clothes for church. She got him a watch for him to slip into his vest pocket. It wasnt a great watch, but it had a nice design on the cover.
When we were done we went to get a malt. There was a soda shop downtown, believe it or not, called Snyders, and lots of kids hung out there. But that afternoon, we were the only kids there. A few adults were having coffee.
"Thanks for helping me, Justin," Becky said.
"Sure," I replied, taking a spoonful of malt. They were so thick there you had to about suck your brains out to get any through the straw. (Mental note: Practice for Danny by drinking malts at Snyderss.) It was easier to start with the spoon till they melted a little.
"Do you think you and Danny will ever be friends again?" she asked. I choked on the malt.
"Well, yeah, why?"
"Geez, you guys havent spoken since before school got out. Ive never seen you apart for so long. What did you guys fight about anyway?"
Oh, god. I hate lying. I really do. I dont do it well. And I dont feel good afterward, either.
"He....I mean, I...." I must have looked scared.
"What? Whats the matter?"
"I mean...I cant tell you." Whew. Well, it was the truth. It was.
"Sure you can."
"I really cant."
"Becky, Danny and I made up the other day."
"Really? Oh, Justin, thats great."
"Yeah, and we promised we wouldnt discuss it any more." Okay, one little lie. I can handle that one.
"Well, Im really glad. You were becoming a real prick," she said.
"WHAT? I mean, what?" Several heads turned to look, but most must have had their hearing aids turned down. "What do you mean a prick?"
"Well you were," she insisted. "You never laughed any more, you were always in a bad mood. And that night at my party, you were really out of it. What got into you that night?"
"Becky, I-yyyyyyyyyyyy.m not sure."
"Yeah, whatever. Well, Im glad you guys are back together."
"What do you mean together?" Dont panic now. She didnt mean anything by it.
"I didnt mean anything by it. I just meant, Im glad you guys are friends."
"Why? What did you think I meant?"
Dont even try to answer that, Justin.
Just then the door opened -- it had a little bell that tinkled when it opened. Yeah, I know. Small town, remember?
"Omigod," Becky said, "theres Taylor and Rhonda."
"They split up a month ago. It looks like theyre back togeth......" She stopped and looked at me with wide eyes. "Back together," she said slowly.
"Huh." Oh, brilliant. I didnt care. I sensed danger. Becky was perceptive.
But she just grinned. "Looks like its the season for making up."
I made that loud, rattling, slurping noise you get when you reach the bottom of your shake through a large straw. The really, really loud one. Becky cringed.
"Okay, if youre done, lets go. I gotta meet my mom in a few minutes."
Whew. Bullet successfully dodged.
Danny had a basketball camp to attend during a couple of days. It was at the local junior college. I rode out there with him each morning on my bike -- my good one was fixed -- and watched him go inside.
While he was there I hung out with some of the other guys. Richie, Kyle and Greg were all guys from our neighborhood, and we had all pretty much grown up together. My folks moved to the neighborhood when mom was pregnant with me and the subdivision was brand new. Fifteen years later the trees were maturing at the same time we were. We were all good friends, but we sort of divided up over the years. Danny and me, Richie and Kyle, and Greg just sort of hung out with everyone. I dont mean that Richie and Kyle were like Danny and I were now. They were just real good friends, and the five of us did a lot of stuff together. They knew about the swimming hole, played in our neighborhood baseball games, went to the same schools, things like that.
"So, I see you and Danny kissed and made up," laughed Richie.
Shit! It was obvious?
"What the hell do you mean by that?" I asked with just a little more anger than was called for.
"Nothing. I just mean you guys seem to be friends again."
"Oh, yeah. Yeah, we patched things up." Sounds like a stuck CD, doesnt it? Its the only answer I could come up with. I honestly didnt know what else to tell people. Saying as little as possible seemed the best route.
"Yeah, well Im glad," Kyle said. "You were gettin weird." Geez, enough character assassination.
"I was not!"
"Yeah, you were. You never wanted to do anything. Youve been no fun at all this summer."
"Oh, stop it. So lets do something," I said.
"Well, how about a game of two-on-two basketball?"
"Youre on," Greg said. "You and me against Richie and Kyle."
We rode over to Gregs. He had a long, double-wide driveway with a basketball hoop and backboard above the garage.
We played about two hours, till we were covered in sweat. Richie and Kyle won three games, Greg and I just one. Greg and Richie went in to get some pop and something to eat.
"Good games, man," Kyle said.
"Nah, not really. I just cant do this game. Not like Danny can."
"Neither can I. Thats why hes at camp and Im not. Or maybe I cant play that well BECAUSE Im not at camp," he laughed.
"I have no desire to go," I said.
"So what did you guys fight about anyway?"
"Cant tell you," I said for the second time that day. It was like the Inquisition.
"Come on. Did he hit on a girl you liked?"
"Didnt think so," he said with a smirk.
"You dont have a girl."
"Who needs one?" I said lamely.
"Well, who was the last girl you dated?"
"Becky." Thank god for Becky.
"Oh, yeah. I forgot."
Had I dodged another bullet? Richie and Greg came out with Cokes and chips. I was home safe.
We joked around for another half hour, and then I got up to ride out to the junior college and meet Danny.
By late afternoon, it was one of those beastly hot Midwestern days, with the humidity thick in the air. The college was on the edge of town, surrounded by corn and soybean fields. The joke around here was that the humidity was tough on people, but it was great for the corn. Fuck the corn, I thought, as I rode past it on the edge of the highway, I want it to cool off.
I had to wait another 15 minutes for Danny, who came out all sweaty, too.
"Hey, Justin," he said with a smile.
"Hi. Youre a mess."
"Hah. Youre no prize either, pal."
"Race you back to your house."
"The hell with that," he said. "Im gonna ride nice and slow. You ride ahead so I can watch you."
"Sshhhhhh!" Geez. Were gonna get caught, I know it. "God, Danny, lets just go."
We rode in silence for a while. I had a lot to think about. I mean, Becky and then Kyle. Did they see something I didnt want them to? How could they? Dannys mom, too. I checked the mirror that morning. There was no giant "G" on my forehead. Was I acting different? Gay? I wasnt really sure how gays acted. We didnt have any in my town. Not that I knew of.
"Youre quiet today," Danny said. He was really getting chatty these days.
"Lots to think about."
I didnt want to bring them up here. "Ill tell you later."
We got to his house and walked in.
"Into the shower, both of you," Mrs. Shaw said as soon as she saw us. "Dont touch a thing with those sweaty bodies until youre clean."
We went into Dannys room, and immediately he grabbed me around the waist. We kissed, long and short ones, till we were down to little smacks.
"I missed you," he said.
"Did not. You were too busy. You cant fool me."
"Okay, I was busy, but every time the coaches started to explain something, I thought of you."
"Lets get in the shower," he said with the grin.
"Mom told us to."
"No, she said Into the shower, both of you. She didnt say anything about at the same time."
"Cmon, itll be fun."
"Yeah, it sure will. Loads of fun. Loud fun."
"Well keep it down."
"Not if you cum like you did the other day."
"Why? Whatd I do?"
"Just a little on the noisy side. It was sexy and all, but there wasnt anyone home to hear you. I think it might not be as sexy with your mom down the hall."
"Ill be quiet."
"But Im not sure I can be," I said.
"Party pooper," he said. But he got me back. He stripped his shirt over he head seductively, pulling it just above his belly button. He twisted it back and forth around his torso a couple of times, hid his navel, then revealed it again. I was already hard. He slowly slid it up over his abs, which were fairly well developed. His tummy was flat, smooth, tasty and I knew how it felt on my fingers and my tongue. Then he stopped just before he got to his nipples, began to lower the shirt again, twisted it back and forth around him, then raised it again so half his nipples showed, just below the hard nibs. He lifted it over his left nipple first, then his right, trailing his thumbs over them, just where I wanted my tongue to be. In fact, I think I involuntarily wet my lips when he did it. As he pulled his shirt over his head, he raised his arms and his whole body stretched, making him even leaner, sexier, more desirable.
But the show wasnt over.
He slid both hands into his shorts, down his jock strap, and began rubbing himself. God. I was just gonna burst. I knew it. My balls would explode, coat the whole room in white goo, and Id be lying in the middle, dead. The first known victim of self-exploding gonads. He rubbed his erection some more, then pulled it up so the very tip of that slender, delicious head peaked above the waistband. He used the backs of his hands to pull his shorts down, and once over those sweet butt cheeks, they fell to the ground. That left only his jock strap hiding the treasure, with a hint of his magnificence peaking above. Then he rubbed his thumb around the top of the head back before taking it in his fingers and rubbing the whole head back and forth across his stomach. He thrust his hands down into the jock strap again and massaged his balls in there. I knew there couldnt be much to massage, since the strap had held him bound for about six hours. Again he used the back of his hands to lower the strap, and again it pooled at his feet. That left only his Nikes and socks. But now he did a slow turn, so his back was to me. Then he bent over to untie his shoes. I watched in amazement at his sweet ass. Firm, but pliable. I wanted it in my hands, but I knew there was trouble in that. And as he bent over, the pink puckered hole came into view. It was something Id never seen before. And I wanted it. My cock was straining against my shorts and I wanted Danny so bad. He wiggled his butt as he untied his right shoe, then straigtened up, and did the whole thing over again to untie his left. I had never seen anythign so erotic before. To this day I remember every move -- right shoe, then left. He turned around to face me again, sat on the floor, and unrolled his left sock down his calf, over the heel, down the arch, past the ball, and off his toes. Those tender toes. He repeated with his left, and as his toes came into view, I grabbed a pillow, hugged it to my mouth, thrust my hips forward and came. Again in my shorts. Again in front of Danny. But not in front of anyone else.
As I fell back onto the bed, Danny giggled, grabbed his robe and went to the shower.
I think when he got back and said it was my turn he expected me to put on a similar show. But I didnt. I just walked down to the bathroom, closed the door, stripped my soggy shorts off with the rest of my clothes, turned on the shower, pulled the curtain closed behind me and let the water beat away some of my tension. The water in our town was really, really soft, and a little soap made a mountain of bubbles. I scrubbed myself all over. When I went to wash my hair I was confronted with three kinds of shampoo -- one for his mom, one for his sister, and one for the guys. I chose the guy shampoo.
I knew I had stayed in too long when the water started getting cold, and turning up the hot didnt help. I rinsed my hair in lukewarm water, then shut everything off and stood there dripping dry. Danny had been nice enought to get a towel for me, and I dried myself, wiped some of the steam off the mirror and tried to comb my hair, wrapped the towel around me, gathered up my dirty clothes and went back to Dannys room. Id stayed over so much that his mom had a spare supply of my clothes, and I dressed unembarrassed in front of Danny, who was lying on his bed reading a computer gamer magazine. I sat down next to him.
He didnt say anything.
"Danny, I love you."
He looked up and into my eyes. He had a pissed-off expression, but as he looked at me, he softened.
"Whats the matter, Justin?"
"I need to talk to you."
He went pale. "About what?"
"I dont want to he..."
"No, Im not breaking up with you. Its not that."
I told him about my conversations with Becky and with Kyle. I told him I was afraid people were already suspecting something about us. I told him maybe people could see something in me, and that they would connect us.
"Danny, if they havent figured it out already, theyre going to. How about your parents? And my parents? And Charlie?"
"Justin, I dont know. I wish I could tell you everything was going to be all right. I wish I could tell you it was going to remain a secret for ever. That wed never have to tell anyone, and that wed live happily ever after. Some people do, you know. They never tell anyone theyre gay. But I dont know whats going to happen to us."
He got up and walked over to his window. It looked out to their back yard, where there was a rusting swing set and a bare patch of lawn that used to hold a sandbox. In the corner, a big maple tree grew. We used to climb it when were were younger.
"Justin, I want to tell my parents. I need to. But I wont if you dont want me to."
I didnt know what to say. Maybe it would be good to have allies in this. But what if they werent allies? What if they turned against us?
"Are we sure its love?" I ventured.
He turned around and his eyes drilled me.
"I am. Justin, Ive known you forever. I know every single thing about you. I know what you did most of those days after our fight. I know how you lie when you fall asleep. I know what finger you pick your nose with. I know how long your finger nails get before you bite them off." (Bad habit -- Im working on it.) "I am in love with you."
"Its not hormones?"
"No, Justin, its not hormones. Its not infatuation. Ive known you too long. I would have gotten over it by now. I love you because you are Justin Christopher Reynolds. I love your sense of humor. I love how you love to compete, but not blindly. I love how you balance your life. I love your concern for others. I love your brilliance in English and your struggle in math. I love the way you part your hair. I love how you took care of me after the accident. I love how youve given me a second chance. I love our conversations. I love the silence. I love your knees. I love....I love your touch, Justin. I Love You."
I could have said those same things about Danny. Hes better at math than English, and his knees dont do a thing for me. Those toes, though. And he never parts his hair. And doesnt bite his finger nails. But he is such a good person. So were Kyle and Richie and Greg. But not in the same way. We all had a mischievous streak, dont get me wrong. We had a lot of fun. A lot of it. But I knew everything about him. I loved him.
I drew a deep breath. I could smell fried chicken coming from the kitchen.
Danny was still looking at me, and I at him. I stood up and walked to him, put my arms around him and drew him toward me for a deep kiss.
"Okay, Danny. I trust you. I love you. Im scared, though. What if what I feel isnt love. What if its infatuation? What if its just the sex? What if I fall in love with a girl? What if Im not really gay? Cuz, Danny, I know I love you. But I dont know if...." I couldnt find the words.
"If its a total commitment love," he finished. His eyes were locked on mine. I nodded.
"I dont care, Justin. I know teenage loves dont usually last. We may drift apart. And youre right, maybe youre not gay. But I know one thing: I love you. I do, Justin. And if you love me now, thats fine. If you love me forever, thats great. And if you fall in love with another, all I ask is that you tell me and not lead me on. Ill fight for you, but Ill let you go if its what you want."
God, what have I done with my life to deserve that? How could I not make a commitment? I pulled him close for another kiss, tender, lots of tongue, saliva, the whole bit. Then we just held each other, standing in his room.
There was a soft knock on the door.
"Boys, dinners ready. Justin, are you eating with us? Youre welcomed to."
"No, Mrs. Shaw, Im going home for dinner. Thanks, though."
She opened the door. She had waited just long enough for our boners to deflate.
"Youre always welcomed to eat here, but Im glad youre spending time at home. She looked at the two of us standing there.
"What?" Danny asked.
"Nothing. Youre just both getting so big." She sighed, just like Danny. She came into the room. "We have to be gone part of the weekend, Danny. I was just thinking, if you dont want to go, we can leave the two of you here. Justin, your folks will be home, wont they?"
"Yeah, as far as I know."
"Well, Danny probably doesnt want to come, and I dont want to burden your folks. If its okay with them, Danny can stay home, and you can stay with him, if you two promise to behave."
"Wow, thanks, mom," Danny shouted, jumping in the air. He hugged her. "Wow. Home alone! Wow!"
"I hope youre old enough. Ill tell Justins parents to keep an eye on you two so you dont burn the house down. Well leave Saturday morning, and be back Sunday afternoon. Come on and eat."
When she left, Danny planted his lips on me. "Woohooo! Two days together, all alone. Wow."
I giggled, gave him another kiss, and went home. We had ham and baked beans. I love that. And homemade bread. It was from a bread machine, but homemade is homemade. Afterward, dad took us for ice cream.
_My head hurts. Im confused. Im freezing. And Im going to bed and snuggle against my lover and sleep. For a long, long time. _