It was amazing how quickly life settled into a routine over the next couple of weeks. I still didn't refer to it as home but things did take on a sense of familiarity. I guess it felt more like what you experience on an extended vacation. At first everything is new and different but then you learn your way around and things became familiar but they're not home. The difference is that you go home from a vacation. I wasn't going anywhere.
It wasn't all bad. There were some good things that took my mind off my problems if only for a short time. I still ran with Mike most mornings. Becky and I went out a few times and I met some more kids through her. She knew a lot of people. Sometimes she would come over after school and we would study together. I also hung out with Chris and Ryan quite a bit.
There were things that weren't so good too. My parents made me go see a new counselor. I guess he is okay but I don't really like him. All he wants to do is talk about my feelings and tell me things will get better in time. That's all everyone says. He seems okay with me being gay but I'm not sure he fully believes it either. He keeps wanting to talk about how I felt about Becky.
I think he was convinced when I told him what happened at a school dance we had gone to. Becky and I were dancing to a slow song and she kept pushing against me. She wasn't really grinding but it was close. Maybe it takes two to grind and I definitely wasn't so I guess we weren't technically doing it. The thing was while I enjoyed dancing I didn't have any other reaction. Certainly not the reaction most guys would if a beautiful girl was rubbing against them. Me? .... Nothing. We laughed about it later. She really didn't mean anything. She said she was testing me. She just had to be sure. Maybe I should have been mad but I had to laugh. I'm not sure I passed her test or not. We're still good friends though.
I also hadn't kept in touch with my friends back home. That was something I needed to fix but didn't really know what to say. Jason had sent me a few emails and seemed to be getting pissed that I hadn't responded. I wanted to but he'd know I wasn't telling him everything. It's not that I didn't want to tell him but I didn't want to put things in an email either. Maybe I'll call him.
Sleeping wasn't any easier either. I actually dreaded going to sleep. I'd have strange dreams. I'd start out dreaming about Aaron. We'd be doing the things we always did. That part was pretty enjoyable if you know what I mean. The bad part was that sometimes I'd be kissing Aaron and then realize it was Josh. What the fuck was up with that? I didn't think of him that way. I never thought of anyone like that except Aaron. I felt cheap especially since I enjoyed it. The first time it happened I woke up with a raging hardon. I was really messed up. Did I think of him like that? Could I? I admit he was growing on me but how could that work? Besides, he's probably straight anyway.
We really didn't talk either. Of course that is mostly my fault since I had decided to ignore him. At one point he tried being friendly. He'd say hello and try to talk. I pretty much just grunted one word answers. Eventually he gave up and now it seems he's really pissed. He gives me a disgusted look every time he sees me.
Of course I can't blame him, I know it's my fault, but it still hurts. It's like Aaron is pissed at me. That only happened once. Those two days really sucked but it was fun making up.
The problem is I can't get him out of my head either. Like I said I'd start off thinking about Aaron but end up thinking about him. Sometimes when I laid in bed at night I'd try to imagine what he was doing. I pictured him laying in his bed. It was really vivid in my mind even though I'd never seen his room. It really bothered me the few times I did jerk off and realized I was thinking about him. I knew I had to do something about it but at this point didn't know what to do.
My parents knew something was wrong. At first they thought it was just because of the move. They keep asking questions and I've probably more moody than normal, whatever normal was these days. They haven't pressed too much though.
Besides all that, Phil Clayton seems to be getting worse. We had a few more confrontations at school but they usually end with only words being exchanged. It's really getting old. There was one time when he did throw a punch but I ducked and he just punched a locker.
That happened one day I was going to the office to turn in a form. I turned the corner and saw Chris and Ryan walking down the hall --- holding hands!!! As luck would have it Phil was coming down the other corridor. He would have seen them too if I hadn't stopped so he saw me first. I stopped so quickly he almost bumped into me.
"Get out of my way faggot."
'That was to be expected,' I thought. It did have the desired effect however since I saw Chris and Ryan turn when they heard Phil. Phil wasn't going to let it go though.
"I don't like you Johnson."
"Thanks for the news flash asshole. I guess we do have something in common. I can't say I like you either."
"You're dead Johnson. I'm going to fuck you up so bad."
I saw him clench his fist and draw it back so I ducked just as he was bringing it forward. Instead of hitting me he was met by air and his momentum carried his fist into the locker behind me. He didn't just hit the door of the locker either. He hit where two lockers come together so there wasn't much give. He screamed in pain when his hand hit. I just smiled.
"Maybe that will improve your passing but if you really want to help the team you should quit and let that freshman backup take your slot. He looks better anyway."
"Fuck off Johnson."
"I'll see you around Clayton. Have fun at practice today."
I just walked away leaving him holding his hand. That pissed him off even more and I thought he might come after me but he didn't. Chris and Ryan caught up with me and said they saw what happened. I laughed.
"I saw you guys standing there. What are you up to?"
"We're going to the office."
"That's where I'm headed. I need to turn in some paperwork." I didn't mention seeing them holding hands.
Phil didn't do anything else until he decided to fuck with Mike. He didn't like Mike being friends with me. He and I were still running four or five mornings a week even though it was getting colder. We'd run anywhere between three and six miles. It would depend on what time we got up, how tired we were, how cold it was, and in Mike's case how hungover he was. That really only happened once but it was something I wouldn't want to repeat. Mike had gone to a party at a teammate's house. The guy's parents were out of town.
He had told me about the party and that he would be drinking. It was the first time he had ever mentioned drinking so I didn't know if it was a regular thing for him or not. All I said was to be careful and not to drive. He laughed and called me his mother but did agree to call me if he needed anything even though he planned to spend the night. That is why I was surprised when my cell phone rang at one-thirty in the morning. At first I thought it was time to get up but quickly realized it was still dark. I saw Mike's name flash on the caller ID.
"Dan, I nnneed ... your help. I dddon't know where I am. They just left me."
He sounded really drunk and scared.
"Calm down Mike. Take a breath. Are you hurt?"
"No, jjjust cold. I'm somewhere in the pppark by the school. I dddon't feel so gggood."
He was really slurring his words and then I heard what sounded like someone getting sick.
"Mike? Are you still there?"
"Yea ... sorry .... I'm sssorry to wake you up. Cccan you ccome get me? I'm ccold .... and sick."
"Don't worry about it. I wasn't sleeping anyway. I'll be right there. How do I find you?"
"I'm in the pppark somewhere. Those assholes ... llleft me here. I'm near a road."
"Alright, I'll call when I get there. Look for my lights."
I don't know why but one thought that went through my mind was that it was a setup. Mike was a friend but he was also friends with Phil Clayton and the rest of the football team and Phil Clayton was always saying he was going to teach me a lesson. I debated whether to wake my father but decided that I could take care of myself and I really didn't think Mike would do something like that. Besides, it did sound like he was really sick. I put that thought aside as I got dressed and sneaked out of the house to my jeep. My parents definitely wouldn't be happy if they knew I went out at one thirty in the morning.
Needless to say I didn't see Mike when I got to the park. His cell phone just went to voice mail after a few rings. From the way he sounded on the phone he was probably passed out somewhere and I didn't really know where to look. It isn't a very big park but there are a couple of trails and a small pond. Hopefully he wasn't near there.
It was pretty dark out. There weren't any lights and it was a cloudy night. I grabbed a flashlight and started to walk around. I kept calling his name as well as his cell phone. I spent the next twenty minutes looking for him. Each time I called his phone it went to voice mail but I was hoping I'd hear it ringing if he was nearby. I was beginning to think he was either playing a prank or told me the wrong place when I heard his phone down an access road. I found him laying face down in some mud.
"Mike?? Are you okay?"
I rolled him over and realized it wasn't mud and that he was laying in his own puke.
"Mike, what have you done to yourself?" I asked more to myself since he was pretty much out of it. I shook him gently. "Wake up buddy. It's time to go."
"Huh? .... What? ..... Where? ....... Dan? Is that you? I knnew I cccould count on you. Help me ppplease. I don't feel so good."
"I'm here Mike. I'll take care of you. Don't worry. Try to sit up."
Even with my help he had difficulty. As soon as his head came off the ground he turned and started puking again.
He groaned. "Just let me die here"
"You're not going to die. You might be one hurting dude for a while but you're not going to die. Come on now, get up. ... Let me help you. ... That's it. ... I've got you. ... Just stand still and get used to it."
I grabbed his coat and cell phone and held him up, letting him lean against me.
"I got sick Dan."
"No kidding. You don't smell so good."
"I threw up on my shirt."
"It smells like you did more than that man."
"Stop moving Dan. Everything is spinning around."
"I'm not moving. Come on, take a step. Hold onto me, I won't let you fall."
"You're a good friend Dan. I knew I could count on you. Not like those other assholes."
"You'll be okay. Let's just walk around a little. See if you feel better. Then I'll take you home."
"I can't go home. Not like this. My parents will kill me. ... Oh God Dan, I'm going to be sick again," he said just as he leaned over and puked again. It wasn't really puke. His stomach was probably empty and he just dry heaved. He still leaned over retching as I held him.
"My jeep is over here. You better not get sick in it or I'll leave you on the side of the road," I laughed.
I wouldn't have done that but I also didn't want to clean the inside of my jeep either. Especially since I was going out with Becky the next night. I grabbed a blanket from the back and wrapped it around him before helping him into the passenger seat. I got in the driver's door and opened the windows.
"Man, do you stink. What did you do? Crap your pants?"
"I farted," he moaned.
"I think you did more then fart," I laughed.
I was relieved he was alone. I had half expected Phil and Ron to run out of the trees and jump me. It didn't take long to get to my house. I didn't speed ... too much ... but I wanted to get home and Mike out of my jeep as soon as possible. When we got there I left the windows open and ran around to the passenger door to help him out. I took him to the edge of the backyard near some trees and told him to take his clothes off.
"My mother will kill me if we track shit through the house."
I had to help him. He was a mess. He really had crapped his pants when he puked. I didn't understand how people could drink so much they got this sick. I'd really never seen anyone this bad before since I didn't drink and didn't hang around with people who drank much either. I was really surprised Mike let himself get so bad. It wasn't like him. At least I didn't think it was but I hadn't even known him a month yet.
After we got his clothes off I hosed them and him down. The water was probably cold so I didn't really spray him hard but I did get most of the stuff off. I also got to see his cock while I was doing it. I certainly had the answer to the question I had that first day. Mike certainly didn't have anything to be embarrassed about. He wasn't huge but he didn't have a micro-dick either. Of course I really didn't have any interest in it, especially in his current state, but I had been curious.
He jumped a little and screamed when the water hit him but I told him to be quiet. "The last thing we need is for you to wake my parents," I said.
"That's cold," he said.
"Live with it," I said. "Just be quiet."
After I hosed him off I wrapped the blanket around him. It seemed like the cold water had sobered him up some or at least made him more conscious. "There you go. Let's get you inside. You can take a hot shower and get some sleep. I'll wash your clothes for you."
"I'm sorry Dan."
"I won't say it's okay Mike because it isn't. I don't understand how you could do this but you're my friend and you can count on me."
"It isn't what you think. Phil did this to me."
"What do you mean Phil did this to you? How could he make you drink so much?"
"He and Ron held me down and Phil poured a bottle of Tequila down my throat, maybe more. Then they left me in the park."
"What?? I know the guy is an asshole but why would he do that? What did you do to him?"
"I'm friends with you Dan. That's enough."
I could feel the anger flowing through me. I couldn't believe Phil would do this because Mike and I are friends.
"He did this because you and I are friends?"
"He said it was payback. .... Everyone on the team was there Dan. Nobody helped me."
"Mike, I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault. I knew what type of person he is. Ron too. I was surprised by the rest of the team though. I thought some of them were decent. I also knew how he felt about you. I could have walked away from you or the team. I was trying to have it both ways."
"He'll regret this."
"Don't do anything Dan. I'd warn your other friends though. He's crazy enough to do something to them. I think he thinks it'll hurt you more than just beating you. He'll probably wait to do that although I think he's scared to do that. You stand up to him."
I was pissed. If Clayton was here I'd make him regret what he did to Mike. I knew that was probably what he wanted but I wasn't going to let him hurt my friends either.
"Come on," I said. "Let's get you inside. You can take a shower and get warm."
"Thanks Dan. I knew I could count on you. You're my real friend."
I got Mike inside and into the shower. He was still a little unsteady on his feet so I had to help him a little. Seriously, I just steadied him. There might have been a split second when I saw his naked body that I thought about other things but I knew nothing could or should happen. That would have been a good way to end our friendship.
The next morning Mike woke up early and wanted to go running.
"You're crazy," I said as he sat down hard on my bed. "Go back to bed. You couldn't run ten feet. How can you have so much energy? Five hours ago you were puking your guts out."
"Come on Dan. Please?? ... Lend me some shorts and running shoes and let's go."
I didn't think we'd get too far but decided I'd humor him. Slowly I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to take care of business. After getting dressed we went downstairs to get some OJ. My parents were sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee when we walked in. They were surprised to see Mike. They looked at me skeptically when I told them he came by late and slept in the guest room. I said he fell asleep on my bed until I kicked him out and made him go to the guest room.
I'm not sure they bought it but it was the best I could come up with on short notice. Mike and I just drank some OJ and went outside to run. As I expected he wasn't in any shape to run. After about a hundred yards he stopped and put his hands on his knees.
"My head is killing me."
"I wonder why? Come on, let's just walk. The fresh air will do you good."
"Thank you for helping me last night. You won't tell anyone I crapped my pants will you?"
"Of course not. They're clean now. What people find out will be whatever you .... or Phil tell them."
"I'm quitting the team on Monday."
"You sure you want to do that?"
"Positive. None of those guys lifted a finger to help me so it's not like I'll be letting any of my friends down. Besides, it's the end of the season. There are only a couple of games left along with the Thanksgiving game. I'll miss that. It's one of the only games when people show up. We play the same team every year. It's not really a cross-town rivalry since they aren't the same town but it's fun to kick their asses anyway."
"From what I've seen of our team it isn't the other team's asses that will get kicked."
"Yeah, we do suck pretty bad."
"What about Phil?"
"What about him?"
"You going to let him get away with what he did? He could have killed you. It's not good to have that much alcohol. He should pay for what he did."
"I just want to forget it. Besides, there's no proof. It's his word against mine and the whole team will back him up."
"I'm not going to forget it Mike. Sometime he is going to pay. I don't know how but he will. Right now I'm worried he might do something else either to you or someone else."
"You should warn your friends but he might not do anything, at least right away. I went to a party trying to be their friend. I know I shouldn't have now but yesterday I thought some of them were my friends."
"Mike, I'm not trying to defend the rest of the team but think what you would have done if it had been someone else. Would you have rushed in and confronted Phil and Ron if nobody else did?"
He just looked at me for a minute. "I'm pretty sure I know what you would have done. That doesn't make me a very good person, does it?"
"Maybe it wouldn't at that moment but overall I think you're okay. If I didn't I wouldn't have rushed out to help your sorry ass."
"You had to clean my sorry ass too. That must have been pretty gross. I'm really embarrassed."
"Don't remind me. I'm about to eat breakfast. Let's go do that and then we'll go find your truck. Where is it anyway?"
"Oh shit, it's at Paul's house. At least it was. I don't have any idea where my keys are. They were in my pants."
"Relax, they're in my room along with your wallet and cell-phone. You didn't even lose that condom you keep in there. When did you get that thing anyway? I didn't think they made that brand any more," I laughed. I really hadn't looked in his wallet but had to give him a hard time anyway.
"Fuck you asshole."
"I'm glad you're feeling better but you're not getting near me, not with that condom. It would probably break it's so old. Not that I'm interested."
After breakfast I drove Mike to get his truck. Fortunately nobody had done anything to it. He had to give me directions since it was in an area of town I hadn't seen. As soon as we got there Paul came out of the house asking Mike if he was okay. He said he was sorry for what happened. I smiled when Mike told him to fuck off and got in his truck. He yelled that he'd see me later as he backed up and drove away. Paul had to jump out of the way or else he would have lost a foot.
I left Paul's without saying anything to him. I glared at him as I got in my jeep. I knew if I said something I wouldn't be able to hold back so it was better just to leave. After leaving I drove over to Chris's house. It was still early and he could still be asleep but I had to talk to him. My mind was on overdrive.
Chris's mother was surprised to see me when I knocked. "Good morning Mrs. Walker. Is Chris here?"
"Good morning Dan. You're up early. Chris is still in bed. Ryan slept over. They need to get up, Ryan has to get home. You can go up if you want."
"Thank you," I said as I walked towards the stairs. I knocked on Chris's door rather than just barging in. If Chris had been alone I might have barged in and woken him up but since Ryan was there too I didn't want to surprise them. Chris, Ryan and I had become good friends since I had been here. We hung out a lot at each others' houses playing video games, pool or watching movies. We even went swimming a couple of times at my house since my father got the heater fixed. It was getting a little cool but there were some sunny afternoons.
I waited for a response before opening the door. It took a couple of minutes but finally Chris answered. All kinds of images went through my head as to what they had been doing.
"It's time for you two to get up," I said smiling as I went in. Ryan was at Chris's desk in shorts and Chris was still in bed. There was a sleeping bag on the floor next to the bed but it looked like it hadn't been used.
"Dan? What are you doing here?"
"Sorry to interrupt .... "
They seemed nervous. It was probably a good thing I knocked. "It's okay, we were just getting ready to go down for breakfast."
"I need to talk to you. Actually to both of you so it's good Ryan is here." I was a little jealous of their closeness but I was happy for them too. Even though we had become friends they still hadn't told me for sure they were together. I was sure since I had seen them holding hands but I didn't press them either.
I gave them an abridged version of what happened to Mike. I told them I couldn't tell them everything since I promised Mike but I wanted to warn them.
"I don't know if Phil will do anything but Mike said he did what he did because he and I are friends. He didn't know if it was just him or if Phil would do something else but did think I should warn you."
"Is Mike okay? He's not a bad guy."
"He's fine, still a little hungover but he's doing okay and you're right, he is a good guy. He just wanted to fit in with the football team. Maybe I'm over-reacting but I wanted to make sure you guys are careful. Can you tell Tim? I guess anyone who sits with us at lunch should be careful too."
"I'll tell Tim but I wouldn't worry about him too much. He's into that karate shit. Phil knows it and pretty much stays away from him."
"Is he any good?"
"I guess. He's been doing it for a few years. He's got all kinds of different belts hanging in his room."
"He should be able to take care of himself then but we should tell him anyway. What about Josh? I know he hates me but Phil might still do something."
"Josh doesn't hate you."
"Whatever, I still wouldn't want to see him get hurt."
I probably shouldn't have said Josh hates me. I knew it was my fault and I didn't really want to talk about it. It seemed a wall had gone up between us over the last few weeks. We'd look at each other but never say anything. I'm sure he knew I still watched him in class. He must think I'm a freak. It was strange though, the longer I knew him the more I liked him. I don't know why. He looked like Aaron and he had the same mannerisms but he wasn't really like him. He was different, not different in a bad way, just different. I still couldn't bring myself to talk to him though.
"Phil doesn't really bother Josh," said Chris. "I don't know why but he just seems to leave him alone."
"That's good but will you warn him anyway. I would but ..."
"Yea, we'll talk to him but you could talk to him too. He doesn't hate you, he thinks you hate him."
I sighed. "Can you do it? He and I don't communicate very well but I don't hate him. It's just ...," I started to say and stopped. "Never mind. I'm sorry you guys are in the middle. I can't explain and don't really want to talk about it. Just warn him, okay?"
"Sure Dan. But you should talk to him. He's a good kid and he doesn't have many friends. His father is a real asshole and seems to like making his life miserable. Don't you do it too. Okay? He's our friend."
I really did need to do something but didn't know what. My strategy of ignoring him wasn't working but I still couldn't bring myself to talk to him. I knew that if he and I were friends then I'd eventually have to tell him about Aaron. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad but I didn't know how or exactly what to say. He'd definitely figure out that Aaron was more than a friend not that I cared. I just didn't know how he and I could be friends. I also didn't know what type of friends I wanted us to be.
I must have been lost in thought because the next thing I remember was Chris saying: "Earth to Dan ..... It's okay, we'll talk to him. Do you want to stay for breakfast? We were just going downstairs."
I smiled and was grateful they changed the subject. "Sure, I can stay for a while. Thanks. I'm not doing anything until tonight. I'm going to the movies with Becky."
Ryan stood up and grabbed his pants. He was in his boxers but I did see the outline of his cock down his leg. He definitely had a lot to be proud of. He also looked good. I definitely had a thing for smooth, lean guys. Too bad he was taken. Chris too for that matter. He looked good when he sat up too.
Chris's mother made pancakes which she served with real Maple Syrup. It was good. I had it a few times before but not very often. It's pretty expensive not that that would stop my parents from buying it. It was just that we never used it. After saying good-bye to Chris I hung around my house until it was time to pick up Becky. Scott and I played a few games of Nintendo baseball. He was happy when he almost beat me. He did do well but I was dragging from being out so late the night before. He was up by two runs going into the last inning but I got them back and won the game. He was a little upset but got over it when I started tickling him. I ended up picking him up and giving him a hug.
Becky and I went to dinner and a movie with a friend of hers and her boyfriend, Tammy and Sean. They didn't go to our school and I wasn't sure how Becky knew them. She elbowed me and told me to be good when she saw me checking out Sean. He was definitely pleasant on the eyes. Fortunately only Becky saw me look down at his ass when he and Tammy were walking in front of us. When I looked at Becky she rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Be good," she whispered.
Sunday was a lazy day around the house. I was still pissed about what Phil had done to Mike. He came over late morning to shoot some pool. I still thought he should do something about what happened but he was adamant. He made me promise not to do anything either. I felt bad for him. He had typically hung out with the football team at school. I assumed he had other friends but wasn't positive.
Chris and Ryan came by after lunch. Mike was still there but he left when they showed up. He looked pretty dejected. We tried to get him to stay but he wouldn't. I think he was embarrassed.
"Sorry," said Chris. "We didn't know he was here."
"It's okay. I feel bad for him. He's pretty down. It would have been nice if he stayed."
"Maybe we should leave. He's probably not ready to hang around Ryan and me. I'm sure he feels the same way Phil does. He's just not as vocal about it."
"I don't think he's like that. I'll talk to him later. What do you guys want to do?"
"We just came by to try again to convince you to talk with Josh."
"I know I should but I can't, please don't ask me to explain,, not now. ... Can we just listen to music and shoot some pool?"
"Alright, but we're going to keep after you until you explain."
I nodded. I knew I needed to resolve things but something wouldn't let me. Maybe I'll talk with Dr. Medford, my shrink, to get his opinion. I'm sure he'll say to talk with him though.
We went downstairs and I put in a CD, Shiny Toy Guns, and cranked it up. Good thing my parents had gone out.
"We didn't picture you as a Shiny Toy Guns type of guy Dan. Don't know why. I guess we never heard you play it before."
I laughed. "A really good friend of mine turned me on to it. Usually I just listen to it when I work out and when my parents are out. They don't like loud music."
"That's in the parent rule book."
"Hey, I've been meaning to ask you. Do you guys know a good gym around here? I've been meaning to sign up."
"We go to Fitness World over on Sadler Street. We should have asked if you wanted to go with us. We usually go two or three times a week. It's just your basic gym, no frills. A lot of kids go there because it's cheap."
"I'll have to check it out."
Mike didn't run Monday morning but he did follow me to school. He parked next to me.
"Mind if I walk in with you guys?"
"Of course not. You sure you want to be seen with us?"
"Why not? It's not like they're my friends anyway. I learned who my true friend is. Friends if you let me," he said turning to Chris and Ryan.
"It's cool Mike. We're sorry about what happened."
Mike made sure he was on my right, between me and his 'friends', as we walked towards the school.
"Don't even look at him Dan. Please, just let it go."
"Alright Mike. I just hope he doesn't say anything."
Phil started in as soon as we got to the door. "It looks like the club has a new member. Pretty soon we'll be outnumbered guys. The fags will take over the school. .... How are you feeling Anderson? I heard you had too much to drink the other night."
Mike just pushed me into the school. "Don't Dan, it's not worth it."
The day went by slowly. Mike joined us at our table for lunch. He still seemed pretty down but everyone tried making him feel better. Phil and Ron just glared at us from across the room.
Chris and Ryan caught up with me after my last class and asked if I wanted to go to the mall with them. They said Josh needed to get something and they were going to take him on their way home.
"Maybe some other time. I'm going to check out your gym on my way home. I'm going to sign up so I can work out after school. Have you talked to him yet? Maybe Phil won't do anything but I don't trust him."
"No, we were going to on the way to the mall. You could come with us and talk to him yourself."
I shook my head. "I can't. I'm sorry. I know it's my problem and that you guys are in the middle but I can't. Just warn him. Okay? Maybe you're right and I'm overreacting but I'd rather be safe than sorry."
"Alright, but we're going to keep after you. Josh is a good guy and he's our friend. I don't know what it is with you two but it's making things uncomfortable. You won't talk to him and he won't talk to you. We just don't understand why. I thought only girls have as much drama as you two."
"Very funny.. Just tell him to be careful. .... Okay?"
"Sure Dan. Maybe we'll see you at the gym. We're going to stop by later. Like we said, it's just your basic gym, cardio, weights, and stuff like that. They also have a small basketball court and a room with weight bags but there isn't a pool or anything."
"That sounds like what I'm looking for. We already have the pool at home. I'll check it out.. It will be good to have someone to work out with once in a while."
"A lot of kids go there."
"That's cool. Maybe we can work out together."
"What did he do? See me coming?" asked Josh before Chris or Ryan could say anything.
"What is it with you two? He won't talk to you and you won't talk to him. He says you two just don't communicate."
"That's bullshit. He hasn't even tried to talk with me. He's maybe said two words to me since he moved here and that's a big 'maybe'. It's probably less than that. ...... Never mind. Are we still going to the mall?"
"Josh, he's a good guy. I don't know what it is but there is something bothering him. If I didn't know better I'd say he's gay and has a crush on you but there is no way so don't get your hopes up. I've seen him with Becky."
"It doesn't matter. Even if he is it's not like he'd like me, not like that. Why would he? Once he saw my father he'd tell me to get lost. I just don't know why he hates me."
"Josh, I don't think he does. It's something else. He came over Saturday morning to warn us that Phil Clayton might try something. He did something to Mike Anderson Friday night just because Dan and Mike are friends. He came to warn us to be be careful. He also made a point of telling us to warn you. Why would he do that if he hated you?"
Josh frowned. "I guess I don't have anything to worry about if Phil is going after Johnson's friends. That leaves me out."
"He was worried. Doesn't that say something?"
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