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Nathan and Me

by c m

The reason I'm standing here looking slightly shocked is that Nathan has just asked me to kiss him. We've just come in from kicking a football around like we do most Saturday mornings, and taken our sweaty shirts off before hopping in the shower…and then he suddenly says 'Eth…would you kiss me'.

And I'm shocked because…

I'm shocked because the truth is…

…because the truth is that I want to kiss him. Assuming he drops the football so that I can actually reach him.

And it's all a bit of a surprise because…well, maybe I should go back to the beginning.

Nathan and I have been friends for a couple of years now – since he came to my school and was given a seat at the desk beside me. He just held out his hand, gave me the biggest smile and said 'Hi, I'm Nathan. Can we be friends?'

Well…how can you say 'no' when someone asks you that so simply and with such a lovely smile.

I reached out a hand. "I'm Ethan. Nice to meet you, Nathan."

His smile got even bigger. "Ethan and Nathan. See – we already overlap."

We soon became firm friends. It helped that we both enjoyed playing football – and that helped Nathan meet some of the other boys in our year with whom he also developed friendships. But nothing as close as his friendship with me. I was firmly installed in the 'best friend' box, and he pretty much stuck to me like glue – not that I was complaining. Nathan turned out to be funny, intelligent and fun to be with - when he wasn't being a total prat.

The trouble…the only trouble…with Nathan is that he doesn't have any filters. If he wants to do something, he does it. Something pops into his head…and he says it. Someone gives him a dare, he goes after it, heedless of any thought for the consequences. And who is usually left to pick up the pieces? Me, little old Ethan. Yeah, thanks, Nathan.

I've lost count of the times I've decided that this is finally 'it'…that there is no more forgiveness to be offered. And then he goes all puppy-dog on me and swears things will be different and he looks at me with those big blue eyes and I still say 'no' and then they go all teary and I can't help but put my arms round him and give him a hug and tell him that it's OK…but say that if he does it one more time then our friendship really will be over.

And then he's all contrite and things are fine until…until he fucks things up again. And the trouble is he knows that despite my rage and frustration at the time, I'm never going to stop being friends with him. I like him too much.

And he doesn't really get relationships either. Or at least, not the ones I have with people other than him. It's not jealousy or any desire to control me, it's just that in Nathan's world he and I are best friends and that means that whenever he has a great idea (or thinks he does) and it involves me, then I should be there immediately to help him make it happen. Patience is another thing Nathan doesn't have.

He certainly doesn't get my relationship with Harriet. She's a girl at our school who really likes me – and I like her too. She's blonde and pretty and our parents know each other, so we often end up at the same barbeques or events outside school as well as in class. Harriet quite likes Nathan, but I sometimes think she's pleased when he's not there when she and I are together. Before he arrived she and I spent a lot more time together than we do now that he's around. I didn't really have a friend like Nathan until he arrived; and now I just like spending time with him, mucking about, laughing and doing all the boy things I never seemed to get to do before. Anyway, a month or so ago Harriet asked me if I'd kiss her. I'd never kissed anyone before (well, excluding my mother and that doesn't really count) and I gave her a tentative little peck on the lips.

"No silly, like this," she said, and gave me a smacker of a kiss that lasted maybe five or six seconds but felt like an eternity. "There, what do you think?" she said, her eyes all bright.

I've been brought up to be polite and so I said "Yes, it was great, thanks." But in truth it had been a bit of a disappointment. I wondered what all the fuss had been about. Kissing a girl is a big deal at our school – it pushes your credibility ratings way up - and I'd just got to kiss one of the prettiest ones. So how come I'd felt nothing? Well, I just figured it must be something that gets better the more you practice...I mean the first time people play the violin it sounds terrible but that doesn't mean it can't eventually be wonderful. I hoped kissing was the same.

Anyway, I told Nathan about it. He just shrugged. "I wouldn't want to kiss her anyway," was all he said, "and anyway it doesn't count unless you use your tongues."

"Do what?" I said.

"Use your tongues…you know…open your lips when you kiss and put your tongue in each other's mouth."

"Ugh…that sounds terrible. And how do you know all about that anyway?"

"My cousin told me. I caught him kissing his girlfriend once. He was fifteen and I was ten and I was curious, so I asked what they were doing."

Now that I could believe. Standard practice, in fact, for 'no filters' Nathan.

"So he told me. I asked if I could try it with his girlfriend and they both just laughed, but showed me what they did close up. I thought it was just weird, but Danny – that's my cousin – said that that was the only sort of kissing that counted."

"Well it sounds a bit weird to me too. Do you think Harriet would want me to do that?"

"Dunno – but I don't think I'd want to try."

"…unless someone dared you, of course."

Nathan's eyes grew big. "Wow, yes…maybe then."

I shook my head. I really shouldn't have even put the thought in his mind.

When it comes to sports, Nathan and I both enjoy playing football. He's a really good goalkeeper and I'm a kind of OK striker – which works well when we both want to practice. We both play on the same school team and (of course) he always sits next to me on the coach if it's an 'away' match. He also always chooses the peg next to mine in the changing room, so we've got used to seeing one another naked almost from day one. But we go about changing a bit differently.

Nathan's approach to it is about as uncomplicated as it gets. He strips completely naked and then puts his sports stuff on. I wish I was that confident – but I'm a bit more shy than that. I take my shirt off, then put my sports shirt on, take my trousers and socks off, then put my games socks on, then when I shuck my briefs off it's with the shirt pulled down past my waist and then I wriggle into my jock or swim shorts as quickly as I can. I don't know why I do this; I don't have anything to be ashamed about in that way. Quite the reverse really.…and if Nathan - who is even more developed than me – can do it, why can't I?

He embarrassed me about it once. I know he didn't mean to, but there we were in the changing room. We'd just come in after football, and he'd stripped unselfconsciously as usual ready for a shower. He saw me still sitting in my kit, as I do, waiting for the showers to clear a bit and just said, out loud,

"Come on Ethan, I don't know why you're so shy. You've got a really good body. You should be proud of it."

I turned scarlet and about half the team had heard what he said. A chorus of 'yeah get 'em off' and 'don't be all shy' and worse rang out. I was so embarrassed. But that's Nathan – he just says what's on his mind. Thanks, Nathan.

But afterwards, I realised it was a bit of a compliment. And actually, it's sort of turned out OK as I think I am definitely a bit less shy now, and I'm much more relaxed about the other guys seeing me naked – and I usually head for the showers right alongside Nathan. And if what he said about my body is true, then it's even truer of his. I mean, we're both pretty skinny but he's getting muscles in all the right places. And as for…'down there'…he's definitely ahead of the game compared with almost all the other boys I see in the showers. And I have to confess that I do like to see what everyone's got. I don't know if that's normal but I hope so – and I'm certainly curious to see what a naked girl looks like too.

We also like to ride bikes. Nathan has this really cool one with a blue and yellow frame that he's allowed to keep in his room. My parents wouldn't dream of letting me keep my bike in my room – but then I tend to let it stay all muddy after we've been riding, whereas Nathan always washes and polishes his so that it looks like brand new. And he's a whizz at stripping it down and making sure everything is working properly. He's rebuilt my bike a couple of times too, though the last time he'd taken it all apart - and before we'd had time to reassemble it - it was time for him to go home. He said he'd be back the next day to fix it, but then he got an invite to go and stay with his cousin and, being Nathan, he just took off for a week to do it. I had to get my Dad to help put the bike back together. He wasn't best pleased. But that's Nathan.

I could give you dozens more examples – but friends like him don't come along too often, and he's kind and generous and he looks out for me. Sometimes it feels he's more like my brother than just my best friend.

Except brothers probably wouldn't just come out with stuff like 'How often do you wank, Ethan?' Yeah, that's what he said one day. And it came out of nowhere; we were playing football and he's just made a really good save from a shot I thought I'd got past him, and as he gets up with the ball in his hands, that's what he says: 'How often do you wank, Ethan?'

"What kind of a question is that, Nate?"

"Sorry. Didn't mean to upset you. I'm just curious. I mean, I wank at least once a day, often more. I wondered if it was the same for you."

I just looked at him.

"Well…is it? Fuck, Eth, you're my best friend, if I can't ask you, who can I ask?"

I closed my eyes. "Err, yeah…about the same I guess," I said.

"And does it feel better when you do it with your right hand or your left?"


"OK, OK…but what's the big deal…we all do it."

I just shook my head. "Geez…umm…can't say I've noticed any difference, Nate. Maybe left. Now can we please talk about something else?"

He just nodded. Didn't say anything else. And that's Nathan; curious, says what's on his mind, and then just files it away. At least he hadn't asked me in public – which, given his lack of filters, he might easily have done.

But talking of masturbation, he and I have sleep-overs at each other's houses sometimes. We have separate rooms but the last time I stayed at his place, when I went into his bedroom in the morning like I always do, I obviously interrupted him in the middle of having a wank. He had his eyes screwed shut and so he didn't see me… but instead of just creeping out and coming back later, for some reason I just stood and watched. He'd pulled his pyjama pants down around his ankles and had thrown the duvet off the bed, and he was muttering and moaning as one hand moved up and down his rigid shaft and the other caressed his balls. It was only when I felt myself going hard that I turned and left. Back in my room, I wondered why the hell I had gone hard. And I still was, in fact. He was my best friend for God's sake. What on earth would he have thought if he'd seen me? But I couldn't help but take my stiffie in my hand and start jerking off. And the picture in my head was of Nathan's beautiful erection…and I couldn't stop thinking that I could have sworn it was my name he was murmuring as I left.

It's not the sort of thing best friends talk about (although doubtless Nathan wouldn't have had any inhibitions about discussing it had he known I'd seen him), and so I thought no more about it. It didn't happen again, although I found that the picture of what he'd been doing kept popping back into my head when I jacked off. Not all the time, but increasingly often. I told myself to get a grip, and decided to try kissing Harriet again.

My chance came a few weeks later. My family had been invited round to her house for Sunday lunch, and after we'd finished the roast beef followed by rhubarb crumble, our parents went and sat in the lounge to have coffee and Harriet invited me upstairs to her room.

"So, Ethan…alone in my bedroom…what would you like to do," she said .

"Could I kiss you?" I asked

"Mmm," she said "that would be nice."

She stepped forward and put her arms round my neck. Our lips touched – and then I felt her tongue flick against them. Shit. This must be what Nathan had talked about. I opened my lips and felt her tongue touch mine. I wish I hadn't jerked back at the sensation, but I couldn't help myself.

'"What's wrong, Ethan…don't you like me"

"No…no…I mean, yes I like you. It's just…I haven't...that is…it felt kind of weird."

She just looked at me. "I really like you Ethan. Some of the girls say you and Nathan must be gay, but I don't believe it."

"WHAT? You think Nathan and I are gay?"

"I said I didn't believe it. It's just some of the girls see you and him together like ALL the time…and he doesn't seem to have a girlfriend even though he's kind of cute. But like I said, Ethan, I don't believe it because, well, because you like me and because…well, we have time to prove that you like me right now."

My head was in a whirl. I couldn't believe what I'd heard. And I was certainly keen to knock that sort of rumour on the head. Then I realised what she'd said.

"How do you mean, 'prove I like you'?"

"Well…we could do more than kiss. I really fancy you, Eth. Would you like to see me naked? I'd love to see YOU naked. I'd let you touch me too. All over."

My mind was in a whirl. First the idea that people might think I was gay. Then the fact that Harriet wanted to get naked. And I was aware my mind was fighting. Part of it was saying I wanted to see what Harriet looked like naked and part of it was saying I didn't really want her to see me naked. Which was a bit weird in itself. But I reckoned the best way to stop the rumours was do what she'd suggested.

"Are you sure we've got time, Harriet? I really don't want to get caught naked by either of our sets of parents."

"You worry too much, Eth. It will be fine. We've got plenty of time. We can go into my bathroom and lock the door. It'll be fun. Come on."

She took me by the hand and we went through into the en-suite bathroom that led off her bedroom. She locked the door.

"So," she said, "who goes first?"

"Would it be OK if it was you?"

"OK…top bit anyway."

She pulled her shirt off over her head exposing her bra. The top of her breasts were just visible. She turned round. "You'll have to undo the strap Ethan."

My hands were shaking as I fumbled with the little clasp. The strap came apart and she turned round, the bra falling to the floor as she did so. Her breasts were small and firm with a pinky-brown nipple in the middle of each one.

"You can touch them if you like."

I was standing virtually paralysed and so she took one of my hands in hers and guided it to her breast. I was shaking as I felt its warmth and firmness under my fingers. Harriet mistook my abject terror for passion.

"My, you're shaking…I can see you like them. Come on…your turn."

Numbly I pulled my shirt off and she was immediately running her hands over my chest. Her fingers felt soft and warm as they ran over my chest and then down over my stomach. I felt her hand slide down to my waist, the fingers trying to slip behind the waistband of my trousers.

"Nice…very nice…but it's what's down here I really want to see, Eth." She smiled up at me. "It's OK…I'll go first."

When she'd first talked about getting naked, I'd felt my cock start to thicken, but I'd decided by now that I really didn't want to do this - and my cock was rapidly losing whatever extra size it had gained - but it was way too late for that. Harriet unpopped the stud on her jeans and stepped out of them. A small pair of lacy pants was all that she was left wearing. She put her fingers in either side and pushed them down around her ankles, kicking them off, and then stood back up. A small 'v' of dark, wispy hair lay between her thighs and I had to admit that she was even more beautiful naked than I'd imagined. She took hold of my hand again and pressed it between her legs. She felt warm and moist and she sighed as my fingers touched her. But I felt none of the excitement and arousal that I'd expected.

"You can explore down there a bit more later… but right now Ethan, it's my turn to see you."

I swallowed hard and screwed my courage to its maximum as I unbuckled my belt and let my trousers slide down around my ankles. I suddenly wondered if she would expect me to be hard – and I sort of wondered why I wasn't. But there was no time to worry about that as she stepped forward.

"Would it be OK if I pulled your briefs down, Ethan?"

I nodded miserably, and felt her fingers take hold of the material on either side. She pulled them down slowly, as if to enjoy the gradual exposure of my genitals. She sank to her knees as she did so, meaning that as my briefs finally reached the floor, her head was only inches from my cock. I heard her gasp.

"Oh my God, Ethan…it's bigger and more beautiful than I've dreamed of. May I touch it?"

By now nothing could have made matters worse and I nodded. I felt her finger wrap themselves around me and squeeze. She let go and took hold of my balls instead, feeling them in their tight, wrinkled sack. She went back to my cock and squeezed it again.

"Shouldn't it get hard, Ethan? Is something the matter?"

"No, nothing's the matter," I squawked, "it's just nerves…I'm sorry. So sorry. And I think we should get dressed."

I saw her pout with disappointment.

"Alright…but next time we'll do it when we're on our own and can have a proper feel of each other –and maybe more… that would be good, wouldn't it?"

"It would be great, Harriet. And thanks." I said, trying to sound enthusiastic.

I dressed as fast as I could and we went back downstairs just as my parents were getting up to leave.

"Hi you two. Have fun?"

I nodded and hurried ahead of them to the door. I wondered with the benefit of hindsight whether I'd actually made things worse. Now that we'd done what we'd done, she'd expect more. And if I said no, she'd wonder why. And what if we did and I couldn't get hard? Fuck. And maybe I needed to create some space between me and Nathan. I sighed. I would have to talk to him.

"So what if they think we're gay," was Nathan's response.

"But we're not. We're friends."

"I know. But why would it matter if we were gay? Would you stop liking me? Would we stop being friends?"

"No, Nathan, of course not. But that's not the point."

"It feels like the point to me. Anyway, I'm going to have it out with her and her friends."

"NOOO, Nathan, please. You'll just make it worse. Please?"

But I might as well have spared my breath. And the fall-out was spectacular. And the details of my naked session with Harriet were soon spread all round the school. Thanks, Nathan.

And that was what we were talking about as we kicked the football around that following Saturday. I asked him why he'd done it. I asked him if he cared that my reputation was in pieces. Whether he cared that Harriet was too embarrassed to come near me.

"Do you really mind that, Ethan?…be honest with me. I don't think you really liked her – or not in that way anyway. I mean, you said yourself that you didn't get hard."

"That is so not the point Nate. People now think you're gay and that I'm in on it in some way and…shit...why do things always turn out this way with you? Can't you just stop to think before you act? For me if not for you."

He went all quiet at that – which is unusual for him.

And then we went inside and took off our shirts ready to shower…and that's when he turned to me and asked me to kiss him.

"Umm…what?…and why, Nathan?"

"You said you didn't enjoy kissing Harriet. I want you to see if you'd enjoy kissing me. Because if you do…I think we'd both be on the road to something new and something wonderful. Now, will you kiss me or not? Just think of it as 'practice' if you want."

I looked into his eyes and I knew. I knew that the reason he didn't care if people thought he was gay was because he was.

He seemed to know what I was thinking.

"And I'm sorry if I've made things difficult for you, Eth. But if any good can come out of it, it will be that you realise what you really want."

And I knew that he was right. I knocked the football out of his hands and stepped in, putting my arms round his neck. He leaned forward and his lips touched mine. And then I felt his tongue flicker over them. And with him I didn't jerk away; I opened my mouth and let him inside. And as his tongue touched mine it didn't feel weird…it felt wonderful. And when the kiss eventually ended and our lips parted, a little loop of saliva still joined us.

"I love you, Ethan. I always have," he whispered, wiping it away.

And when his hand went inside the top of my track suit pantsI didn't stop him. And I felt myself harden in expectation of his touch. And when I reached out, tentatively, to touch him back, I found him rigid and waiting for me.

And afterwards we showered and then lay on his bed…and touched each other all over again, discovering each other in a whole new way. The touch of his fingers and his lips on every part of me was electric, and the feel of his skin under my fingers was like velvet over steel. And after we'd given in to the lust that inevitably followed, we just lay there, happy and satisfied, and he stroked my hair and held me close to him.

"How did you know?" I asked.

He smiled at me. "I didn't – but I hoped. And that time when you came into my bedroom and saw me wanking and just stayed and watched…yes, I knew you were there…I thought maybe, just maybe, my hopes might be more than just hopes. And I'm so pleased that they were. You're so beautiful, Ethan. I love you."

Then he saw the tears start to roll slowly down my cheeks.

"What's the matter Ethan?"

"I'm scared, Nathan. What will people say? What will they think? What about our parents?"

"We'll cross all those bridges when we come to them."

"But I know you, Nate – your way of dealing with everything is just to come out and say it. And how long have you known you were gay anyway?"

"Couple of years, maybe. I think my parents may have already guessed – and maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised by how well your parents will react."

"Maybe. But what if they don't? And what about our friends?"

"If our friends stop liking us and wanting to be with us, then they weren't ever real friends to start with."

"It's not that simple, Nathan."

"It is in my world, Eth."

"I know…and that's what scares me."

He propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at me. "I'll be there with you, Ethan. It's not you and me…it's us. And I think our friends will be fine." Then he went quiet.

"…that's assuming you want to be with me, Eth."

I looked up at him. I was scared. Shitless. But I knew he'd opened the box deep inside me I'd been refusing to acknowledge even existed. And he loved me. So how bad could things be?

I nodded slowly. "Oh yes, Nathan, I want to be with you."

"Then that's all that matters."

And so, without irony for the first time, I can now say…..thank you, Nathan. Thank you for showing me what I am. And thank you for loving me. And thank you for being you.


This story is part of the 2017 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: In His Room". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 26 September to 17 October 2017 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

In His Room
Please rate Nathan and Me with the impressions it left you with

Either while reading this story, or afterwards, I found it to be/had/made me (Tick all that apply)

An emotional read
Written with rhythm and pace
Thought provoking
Technically well written
Written with good use of grammar and syntax (this does not mean pedantic use)
Easy to read
It invited me in
I could not put it down
It felt like it was about me. I know it wasn't, but it felt like it
There could be spelling/grammar/punctuation improvements
Interpreted the picture well
Took me somewhere I never expected to go

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