I had thought no ones’ face could ever get the deep shade of crimson that hers was currently, as we sat there next to each other on my bed, but I was sure mine was worse. I could feel it, like my face was on fire, and the total shock of her last question was making it difficult for me to look her in the eye. Friends talk about stuff like this all the time, especially best friends, but I think she surprised herself when the words ‘So what have you guys done then? I mean, have you seen him naked?’ came tumbling out of her mouth just a moment ago.
Maybe the reason I was having trouble answering her question was because, I had, and the way I saw Jesse’s face in my mind; how he had looked naked and wet with the droplets of water randomly rolling down his perfect skin in the shower the other day made it difficult to look at her, let alone answer her question. Besides, I wasn’t sure that telling her that I had been in the shower with him, with my hand wrapped firmly around his hard cock, was the best way to start our exploration of this new side of our friendship.
It wasn’t that I was ashamed or that I was afraid of what she would think, she had made it perfectly clear earlier that me being gay wasn’t going to change anything between us, but this was sort of personal. I had felt so much relief when she made sure I knew things weren’t going to be any different between us just because I happened to think some of the same boys were cute that she did, in fact, she was cool with it. More than cool really, because we had just spent the last fifteen minutes running through almost the entire senior class, discussing everything from the great smile on Brandon Walters to the way Marc Summers looked in that pair of jeans he wore last Thursday that looked like they were probably two sizes too small, leaving hardly anything to the imagination except maybe what color his obviously small briefs were.
But this was different. When you’re talking about yourself instead it’s harder, and as much as I had already told her, I wasn’t ready to tell her that much. I had already admitted that we had spent the night together twice, even though I assured her that we definitely hadn’t had sex yet, and made sure to look completely horrified that she would even ask in the first place. I told her that we had first gotten together that Monday after the dance where he kissed me in his room, although I kept the part about him being only half dressed to myself.
At one point, she did finally ask me how long I had known that I was gay, and I told her that I had known for sure for a few years now. She grimaced after hearing that, because we both knew how much time and effort she had put into making sure I knew she liked me, and I promptly took advantage of the situation. I took my chance to point out to her that I did love her, but she was like my sister, we had grown up together. She was my best friend and I eventually ended up apologizing to her for not being honest and up front with her all this time, while she apologized for being so wrapped up in her own crush, that’s what we were calling it now, that she hadn’t realized that I didn’t ever go out with girls or look at any girls. I didn’t talk about them or have stories to share, like most guys did, swearing that they had done this or that on their date last Saturday night, but not me.
But now, she must have realized that her last question was more than I was ready to answer from the way our faces looked so similar in color, or maybe it was the way I still hadn’t been able to look her in the eye and give her a straight answer. Either way she knew, and decided to save me.
“You know what? I shouldn’t have asked you that, I’m sorry,” she apologized.
“No, it’s cool. I mean I did tell you to ask me anything…” I offered, trying to make it clear I didn’t blame her, even though I couldn’t help myself, exaggerating the last word.
“So who else knows? About you guys?” she asked, ultimately finding a safer question. One I could answer much easier and definitely without any further embarrassment.
“Just my dad and his parents, and now you,” I told her, and the way her eyes flickered when she heard that almost made me miss the way she was trying not to let her smile take over her face. I guess she was happy I told her, but to be the first friend to know made her feel special. She was special though, just like she’s always been.
“Thanks for trusting me enough to tell me,” she managed to say. “You know I won’t tell anyone right?” she assured me, her serious tone making it almost possible to believe her.
“You can’t Jules,” I said seriously. “I don’t want anything happening to Jesse, okay. He already gets shit from people all the time, he doesn’t need anymore, especially from some of the dumbasses I know, who will think they need to protect me from him or prove that I’m not gay,” I explained.
“Okay, I understand,” she agreed. “But, what about Sean?” she asked.
“What about him?”
“Well, he already thinks something’s up anyway, and if we’re all gonna hang out together…, I guess he’ll probably need to know,” she said as I eyed her carefully.
“He does?” I asked, mostly to find out what Sean thought he knew, and what made him think that.
“Well, we saw him come over the other night. We were sitting on my porch talking when he drove up, and we saw you at Henry’s yesterday, and the whole lunch thing, plus… well, I told him that I saw you taking him home once,” she admitted, almost like she had added fuel to the fire.
I was skeptical at this point. All that could be easily explained away if need be, but the truth was, I really just wanted her to tell me that Sean would be okay with it too. That way, we could all hang out together if we wanted, or at least, not have to hide from everyone. I hadn’t really considered it before, since the possibility of coming out at school was something I wasn’t even ready to think about, but maybe having a support system of people wouldn’t be a bad idea. This way it would look more normal if Jesse was with us, more than if he suddenly was with me all the time.
“What did he say?” I asked her, looking for some clues as to how he would react, how he felt about it. I knew he was already friends with Jesse so it’s not like he had a problem with gay people, but knowing about it and actually seeing it occur in front of you are two very different things and I was trying to get away from the place I was currently in where I had all these stipulations on my relationship with Jesse.
I felt more truly and more genuinely with Jesse when I wasn’t always worrying about other people finding out what was going on, and he should have my full attention anyway, instead of me always worrying who’s going to discover our secret next. That just wasn’t fair to him. He already gave up so much in choosing me to be his boyfriend, instead of someone who was out like he was.
“Nothing really,” she answered, but the look I was giving her urged her to say more, this would require a more detailed explanation from her. “ I mean, well, he just said that you and Jesse seemed to be spending a lot of time together ever since he had Jesse do that interview for him, and that Jesse was a cool guy,” she elaborated.
I smiled. “He is a cool guy…” I started to say before she cut me off.
“Who is a great kisser, if I recall correctly,” she interrupted, repeating my words from earlier in the conversation, which is why I currently had a shocked expression across my face… again, causing her to giggle at my expense.
“Well, yeah,” I retorted, trying not to smile like crazy.
That was three days ago, on Tuesday night, but now it was Friday afternoon and we were all seated at our normal lunch table. Jules and Sean had pretty much told everyone at school that they were together now, an official couple, and she only got a few comments from people about how they were surprised since they knew she had liked me forever, but at least they had the decency not to say it in front of Sean. Jesse was with us again, seated next to me which had become the normal place for him.
Jesse had made a point to thank Jules on Thursday night when he showed up at my house after dinner. We hadn’t had much time alone lately, he and I, and it didn’t seem like we would that night either because Jules had randomly shown up. It seemed that things between us were getting back to normal when she came walking into my room that night, her open invitation being used more frequently since our talk on Tuesday evening. I think she got a little more than she had bargained for though, when she came through the door and found me snuggled up against Jesse on my bed.
He was leaning against the headboard of my bed and I was seated in front of him, my back to his chest, and it wasn’t long before I was wrapped comfortably in his arms. I loved sitting like this with him, no one to hide from, no judgments or comments being made, and even my dad couldn’t find anything to complain about when he had come in to check on us earlier, but when Jules walked in and saw us sitting there together like that, she apologized profusely before turning and walking back out the door she had just come through only moments ago.
Jesse told me to go get her and bring her back, and I’m so glad I did because the three hours that followed that night were necessary. Jules got to see Jesse and I together, as a couple, for the first time and I got to see her smile, genuinely happy for me, for us. We laughed and blushed, all of us did, but that was probably because she was watching us, how we behaved toward each other, and we knew she was watching. It’s not like we were making out in front of her, but the longing looks, the subtle touches, the not so subtle ones too, were all obvious to her now, unhidden. We had nothing to hide or to fear in front of her and we took full advantage of it.
At one point Jules brought up the fact that my birthday was coming up soon and Jesse shot me a look that clearly said ‘how come I don’t know about this?’ but I just shrugged at him as she rambled on about how we should have a party, that I couldn’t just not do anything. I guess she was right too, since it was my eighteenth birthday. Repeatedly, she had asked me what I wanted to do, how I wanted to celebrate, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. It was then, that she suggested that she and Jesse plan the party together saying that they could get to know each other better at the same time. I was ready to back up Jesse if he didn’t want to do it, but he agreed to help, and that was fine with me too.
Jules had brought up the fact that my birthday was coming up that day and informed everyone that she would be throwing a party. Of course, everyone had their own suggestions of what should happen or where it should be, and that’s how we ended up in the current conversation that had gotten completely out of hand. Bobby was adamant that we should get a stripper. He said that I needed to get laid, and then, after that, I wouldn’t even need any presents, but I profusely vetoed that suggestion, besides, I like presents. Rachel and Melodie had suggested we all go to the new club that had just opened up a month ago downtown, but I pointed out that it was an eighteen and over club and that I would be the only one allowed in anyway, and they looked horrified. Jules was still sure she wanted to ask my dad if we could just have a big party at my house again, until Jesse said that his parents had a big cabin by the lake, about two hours away.
That sounded perfect to me for lots of reasons. We wouldn’t have to worry about being too loud or partying too late and there was plenty of room, it sounded like, from the way Jesse had described it, so people could just crash there. We could even drink a little if we wanted, and no one would have to worry about driving home inebriated. We could swim if we wanted to; although by the end of November it was usually too cold for that. We usually go to the lake a couple times a year, my dad and me, on Fourth of July to watch the firework show and Linda always prepared a huge picnic. The five of us went every year to celebrate the start of summer and to enjoy the warm sun.
“That’s so awesome Jesse! Do you really think your parents would let us have a party there though?” Jules asked, trying not to lose the small grasp she still had on reality.
“Well, maybe, I can ask them… that is if Stephen is even interested,” he said as he looked over at me. I guess I had been unresponsive up until that point as I sat there thinking of the possibilities his offer held.
“Of course he’s interested, right man?” Bobby pointed out as he abruptly smacked my arm from where he was seated on my other side before he leaned around me, allowing him to see Jesse more clearly. “How many people will fit in there?” he asked Jesse as if it was all decided then.
“Bobby,” I interrupted before Jesse had a chance to answer, “let him ask his parents before we go planning the whole party, and yes,” I said, directing my attention to my other side where Jesse was seated, “I’m definitely interested if you’re offering.”
He nodded, “Okay, good, then I’ll ask them,” he said smiling like always.
It wasn’t until we were running our laps after practice that anyone said anything else on the matter. Bobby was running with me like always and he was already trying to decide which girl he should bring as his date, or if he even should have a date. He seemed to think that his chances increased exponentially if he didn’t have just one girl he would be stuck to all night. In the end, he decided we shouldn’t have dates, and now that Jules and Sean were together I could take advantage of the situation and ‘get some’, as he put it.
We were changing after practice, in the locker room, and it wasn’t very crowded but there were a few guys from the team scattered around. By this point, Bobby had a mental list going of what girls we should invite, and he decided that we should definitely invite more girls than guys making it even more likely that we’d see some action that night.
“It’s pretty cool that Jesse is going to ask his parents to let us have a party in their cabin. Dude, my parents would never agree to that, ever. I wouldn’t even bother to ask. I wonder why he’s being so… nice, I guess,” he said, choosing his words carefully.
“I don’t know, but he’s pretty cool,” I replied, obviously downplaying how I really felt about Jesse. I could tell where this was heading, and I wasn’t happy about it.
“Yeah, I guess,” Bobby said and then, almost as if he was thinking out loud he said, “I wonder if he like…. likes you or something.”
“Does it matter?” I asked, trying not to let my fear or frustration come through at all. “I mean, he’s pretty cool and he’s doing something nice for us, for me, so…,” I trailed off, shrugging.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Bobby agreed before going on about the game that was now, less than a day away. I agreed that we should stay focused, besides, my secret was safer that way.
That night after dinner Jesse came over again and after spending a few minutes visiting with my dad in the living room we excused ourselves to watch a movie in my room. We were trying to decide on what to watch, but it became pretty clear that neither of us really cared what the movie was, we were just glad to have some time together alone, away from everyone else. I finally slipped a movie into the player and turned around to head for the bed where I thought Jesse had retreated to, only I found him standing next to it instead, waiting for me to join him.
“Hi,” he said softly as I walked over, stopping just in front of him, his hands landing on my hips where I felt them gently squeezing.
“Hi,” I responded, as if we were just seeing each other for the first time that night, and in a way we were. “I’m glad you came over,” I offered before he smiled at me in agreement.
“Me too,” he managed to get out before his mouth landed gently over mine making the unnecessary words impossible to speak. I felt his arms come up around me, his hands sliding along my back with just enough pressure to make me aware of their movement as his tongue slid against mine and my arms landed comfortably around his waist. His fingers slid into the hair at the back of my head at the same time he managed to turn us in just enough time so that when he stepped toward me and I fell backward I landed on the bed. I think I was too lost in the way his thumbs had been forceful enough against my neck to get me to dip my head more to the right that I almost felt dizzy as he turned us, and it wasn’t until I felt the bed underneath me, that I realized what was happening. Jesse smiled over me at the somewhat shocked expression that came across my face, but that didn’t last long when I decided I wanted his lips back where they had been before he decided that he preferred us horizontal instead of vertical.
He had been holding himself up, probably in an effort not to crush me as we fell over each other and, subsequently, the bed as well, but when I tilted my head slightly to the side, perhaps in an attempt to look seductive, he dropped his chest down onto mine, his mouth roughly coming over mine. The moment I felt his lips on mine I opened my mouth for him, needing to be as close as possible to him, and it wasn’t until I reached out and grabbed him by the hips, puling his body against mine tightly that I realized he had the same need. It had been four days since the last time we had been this close and as I felt his hardness pressing against mine and my fingers tightly holding his body against mine, urging him to get closer still, as he settled in between my slightly spread legs, he released a groan that echoed in the back of my throat.
Fifteen minutes later, when the knock on my bedroom door forced me to pull my lips from his, they felt almost bruised as I let out an exasperated sigh provoked by sexual frustration and tension. There was no need to ask who it was, it didn’t matter, because whoever it was probably wasn’t expecting to open the door and see us in our current state. As much as I wanted Jesse to stay right where he was, specifically his lower region and the way it had been stimulating mine, I reluctantly pressed my palms against his chest in an effort to move him off of me so we could sit up.
“Come in,” I called out once we both had ourselves and our obvious excitement situated. I was a little surprised to see Jules walk through the door with Sean instead of my dad, but I tried to remain calm as I exchanged slightly worried glances with Jesse.
“Hi guys,” Jules said excitedly when she saw Jesse seated next to me.
“Hi,” we both replied hesitantly as she took the opportunity to plop herself down on the end of my bed while Sean stood behind her.
“What’s up?” I asked, trying not to sound at all put out by the invasion they had just made.
“We just came to check what time your game is tomorrow,” Sean answered simply.
“Oh, cool. It starts at three o’clock, but I have to be there at one,” I offered. “You guys coming?” I asked. Judging by the looks on their faces, that was a stupid question, and I guess in all honesty, I had fully expected them all to be there.
“Of course we’re coming Stephen,” Jules said, as if my temporary lapse in judgment, probably due to the fact that I was wishing I was somewhere else at the moment, was shocking.
“Cool, I’ll be there too,” Jesse said, trying to ease Jules’ somewhat insulted expression and I was glad for the time to regroup.
“Hey, we’re going to Joey’s after the game like always right?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s the plan Coop,” Sean answered. I looked at Jesse in an effort to find out if he wanted to come with us.
“Do you guys think you could take Jesse with you then so he doesn’t have to wait for me?” I asked, trying to avoid another situation like the last time. “Then I’ll bring Bobby after we shower like always,” I added.
Jules looked at Sean to answer and Sean said, “Yeah no problem man.”
“Thanks Sean,” Jesse offered.
We gave up our attempt to watch the movie and eventually when Sean and Jules left Jesse said he had to get going too and I frowned that our time together had been interrupted again. He agreed whole-heartedly, and suggested we plan a date for Sunday, far away from any little sisters, parents, or best friends. He didn’t need to ask me more than once.
I walked Jesse to the front door, quickly realizing that my dad had fallen asleep sitting in his chair in front of the television. We were whispering, I think out of respect for the person asleep in the next room, or maybe because we wanted to assure ourselves a moment of privacy to say goodnight.
“So, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at the game,” Jesse said in a hushed tone.
“Yeah, I’m glad you’re coming Jess,” I whispered in return. “I like knowing you’re there, even if I can’t pay any attention to you,” I added as I began to blush.
“Well, I think I pay enough attention to you in that uniform for us both,” he teased quietly. I blushed even more. I hugged him, burying my pink cheeks in his neck and he didn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around me tightly in return.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I said as I forced myself to retreat from his arms slightly.
“Okay, night baby,” he said before his lips landed gently on mine. When he pulled away from me finally, he said, “Love you.”
“I love you too, night Jess,” I said as I he stepped through the open door.
We won the game that afternoon, the score wasn’t even close when we started the ninth inning, but we had worked hard all season and we expected to win so we were all satisfied that our efforts paid off. We would start the official season, four months from now, with the top ranking in the league, and everyone was really proud of that fact as we celebrated in the locker room that night when it was all over.
We showered, rough housed, laughed, tossed jokes back and forth; the usual locker room stuff, and when we finally managed to get clean and changed, Bobby and I headed to Joey’s to meet up with Sean, Jules, and Jesse. When we arrived it was busier than usual being a Saturday night, but Jules and Sean were sitting at a table with Jesse waiting for us and when we walked up Sean and Jesse were laughing about a guy form the other team and how his face had looked when one of my pitches got a little too close to his head for his liking. The guy deserved it though, he was crowding the plate and he knew it.
I wasn’t going to hurt him, or actually hit him, I had amazing control over the ball, but I had fully intended to scare him a little, and it seemed to work since after that, he backed off a little, probably trying to avoid a repeat performance from me. According to Sean and Jesse, they could see the incredulous look the guy had as he realized what had happened. Once he calmed down enough to realize his head wasn’t going to be hit and glared at me for what he though had been inaccuracy, the smirk I had on my face told him clearly that I had meant to do it, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. That was all it took, one well placed pitch next to one baseball players’ overgrown head, to let him know that I was in charge and I wouldn’t be rushed or crowded, and that he didn’t scare me in the least.
Bobby and I sat down with them and we laughed a little more about random things that had happened at the game. There was always a whole part of the game Bobby and I never saw, which was what happened in the stands, and we always got to hear the gossip from Jules. This time it was about Elaine and Andy and how she was mad that he spent more time with Jason, his best friend since elementary school, than with her. I must have missed the part where telling everyone, but your boyfriend, how much you think he sucks helps the situation improve.
People continued to show up throughout the night, looking to hang out or to see if anybody knew where a party was, normal Saturday night occurrences, but it wasn’t until the rest of the team showed up that night that Jesse seemed to look worried for the first time. I hoped that the scene outside the locker room with Justin that happened last time wasn’t what was on his mind. I had invited him here, and I wanted him to have a good time. We were surrounded by friends, some who even knew about us, and I just wanted him to relax and have a good time, but the look on his face told me he was too anxious and worried to enjoy anything currently.
There was nowhere for us to go, no quiet place where I could reassure him that I wanted him there with me, that I would protect him, that I was more than okay with him sitting there next to me, so all I could do was silently try to let him know all of those things. I had been ignoring most of whatever it was Jules was going on about, and Bobby had went in search of some girl with the promise of returning soon, so I took the opportunity to try and remind Jesse that I loved him. The small smile I got in return from him spoke volumes. He was uncomfortable and I knew it. He was enduring this place and these people he didn’t know or feel safe around for me, because he loved me, and I knew it.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about that though. On the one hand it made my heart feel like it was going to explode with pride and just, pure happiness, but on the other hand it made me feel like I was being entirely too selfish by asking him to come here. It was almost like he had a big sign on him that said ‘please fuck with me’ and even if he did proudly wear the one that said ‘I’m gay and I love Stephen’ he didn’t deserve the shit he got because of it… no one did.
I didn’t get the chance to find a way to thank him for making the effort, taking the chance to come here, even after what had happened before though because as we sat there talking with Jules and Sean, a group of guys from the team walked past with Bobby who was returning as promised. Bobby reclaimed his seat at our table just as Jesse almost fell out of his own. It didn’t surprise me that he almost hit the floor, but the way Tim had shoved his chair made it clear it was no accident.
Tim wasn’t known for his subtlety, and this time would be no exception either, as he gruffly asked, “Hey Cooper, what the fuck are you doing over here man? Come sit with us. Why are you sitting here with this faggot anyway?”
That was all it took and I was on my feet...