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Into the Lion's Den

A story by e

© 2002 SunShine DayDreamers UnLimited

DISCLAIMER: This story contains descriptions of sexual encounters between minors that are homosexual in nature. If offended by such things or if you are not of legal age in the country where you live, then read no further. The characters and events depicted in this story are completely fictional and any resemblance to any real persons, places, or events is purely coincidental. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the author.

Chapter 4

Chris and I spent our first real night alone together that night. It felt so good to hold each other, our bodies pressed together, skin to skin. Just to kiss him whenever I wanted. To taste him. We made love most of the night. It seemed we had just gotten to sleep when Cliff came in to wake us up.

"Rise and shine. Well, shine anyway. Doubtful either one of you little lovebirds can rise about now." He laughed as he pulled the covers off the bed.

"Damn, Cliff." Chris and I were both naked.

"You think I've never seen naked guys before."

"Well, this ain't no locker room."

"Yeah, c'mon Cliff. Give us a break." Chris was trying to cover himself as he spoke.

"You afraid I'll notice that you've been keeping each other's wienies wet all night?" Cliff was still laughing.

I just looked at my cousin. I was pretty disgusted, but I really didn't know what to say.

"Man, you guys just aren't any fun."

"Yeah, well maybe tomorrow morning we head upstairs and jump in bed with you and James. Then you'll see how much fun we are."

"Eww, that's not exactly my idea of fun."

"Yeah, well, having you drag us out of bed isn't exactly ours."

"Ok, well, breakfast is in twenty minutes, Mom's expecting ya." Cliff turned and walked out of the room.

Chris and I looked at each other for a second, then both of us burst into laughter. We headed across the basement to the shower and quickly washed each other. There wasn't enough time to fool around, but even if there had been, I don't think either of us could 'rise' to the occasion. We quickly dressed and went up to eat breakfast. Chris had school, I was still suspended.

Maxine took me to my parents' house to pick up some more of my things. She had called first and spoke with my dad who is off work on Mondays. He left the house rather than be there while I was. I fought back tears the entire time I was there. I still loved him. I still wanted his love more than anything else in the world. But I hated him, too. God did I hate that man.

Joey came over after school while Chris was at cross country practice. He seemed like an ok guy but I was still a bit leery of having him as a friend. I just wasn't sure I could trust him. We headed downstairs to my room and he started helping me put my stuff away.

"I don't get it, Joey. How come you're here?"

He looked over at me. "What do you mean?"

I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. "Well, I'm just wondering why you would come over here? I mean, Chris used to be your boyfriend, now he's mine. Why would you want to hang around me?"

Joey's eyes dropped to the floor and the wind just seemed to go out of him. "You don't want me here, do you?"

"Well, you are the one responsible for the whole school knowing about us. If it weren't for your big mouth, none of this would have happened."

Joey took a couple of steps towards the door. I could see a tear rolling down his face.

"No wait. I didn't mean for you to go." I stepped towards him and put my hand on his shoulder. He looked up at me.

"I mean, I don't know why you would want to be my friend. I stole your boyfriend, treated you like shit. I don't get it."

Joey wiped his face with the back of his hand. "Do you want to be my friend?" He was looking at the ground again.

I bit my lower lip and thought for a second. "I think so. I just think I need to understand you better."

"Even after what I did?"

"Yeah, even after." Joey put his arms around me and I returned the hug. "So?" I looked down at him again.

"I, uh, I don't have any friends. Just Chris and, uh, maybe you." He still wasn't looking at me, but I could see the tears again. "I figure I could be mad and not have anybody or I could try and be friends anyway."

I could feel the tears in my eyes now. "C'mon, you gotta have lots of friends."

He shook his head. "Everybody seems to like me, I guess, but nobody wants to really hang out or spend any time with me. I think that's why I hooked up with Chris. He was the only one that would invite me over or just talk to me. Everyone else just laughs and jokes around and stuff, but when school's over, they forget about me."

I pulled him into me and hugged him tighter. "Well, I'm not going to forget about you, Joey. If you want to be my friend, that is."

He looked up at me and smiled. I kissed his forehead.

Chris wasn't allowed to spend the night that night. His parents and my aunt had made an exception the night before because it was my first night at Maxine's, but they made it clear that it would only be allowed when there wasn't school the next day from here on.

I woke up Tuesday morning alone in my bed. It was a strange feeling. At first I didn't quite realize where I was. When I did, the sadness began to creep back in. I had a bed in the corner of my aunt's basement, but was it a home? I felt more like a dog in a dog house. They had just put me somewhere that I would be out of the way for the night.

C'mon Mike, snap out of it. There really isn't anywhere else to put you. It was only a two bedroom house and the room shared by Cliff and James wasn't big enough for a third bed.

I used my hand to wipe away the small tear that had formed in the corner of my eye, threw back the covers and started to get out of bed. It was then that I realized I had a small problem that needed to be taken care of first. I smiled. It was a bit more than a small problem, well, unless you want to believe a couple of naïve eighth grade girls. It had been several days since I'd been able to just lay in bed and casually play with myself. I was already hard and it twitched as I touched it. I just sort of slowly began playing with the skin right under the head, rolling it from side to side. I wanted to enjoy this, not rush the way I normally would in the morning. I glanced at the clock. There was time.

I thought about the first time I was with Chris. God I can't believe I just kissed him like that. It was great. I chuckled a bit as I thought of the girls. Damn. Lisa had wanted to touch me. I should have let her. I wondered if she could have made it feel as good as when Chris did it. I mean, she didn't exactly have one between her legs so how could she know what to do with it? I'd have had to teach her. Let's see, now take it into your hand, like this. See where my fingers are? Now you move them up and down. Yeah, that's it. No don't slide them over the skin. Pull the skin along with them, yeah, see it slides up and down. Gawd. I was so glad I didn't have to do that. I laughed at the thought of Sue standing there watching us. Those big eyes opened wide. I wondered just how much of their annoying giggling I could have handled before I just would have gone limp. Oww. I winced a bit at the thought of letting them fondle my balls. I wasn't so sure I'd want someone playing with those unless they had a pair between their own legs. Damn Mike. You've got a wonderfully sexy and cute boyfriend and here you are thinking about a couple of stupid girls. The image of Chris' dick came to mind. I loved its silk smoothness. I licked my lips and quickened my stroke. I imagined taking it into my mouth, its wonderful flavor, and the smile that would spread across his face as I did. I could feel my balls tighten. I was getting close. Suddenly I imagined that we were in Chris' basement, giving Joey a show. Chris and I playing with ourselves and with each other. The image of Joey's bulging underwear popped into my head. I exploded onto my chest, stomach, and hand as I tried to imagine what that monstrous thing looked like that had been concealed by the thin fabric. Oh God! What a relief.

I was more than just a little nervous about returning to school. I was afraid to see my friends. I was behind in all my classes. And what about football? Coach Chambers had set me up so that Recob could knock me down. I could only wonder what his next move would be. I wouldn't be allowed to practice until my ribs healed, but I figured there were plenty more ways he could make my life miserable. Then there was always Kirshner and that bunch of apes. Recob might even be back. I sure as shit didn't want to run into them.

I walked to Chris' house and he drove us to school, picking up Joey along the way. I was pretty quiet, but once Joey was in the car, no one seemed to notice. Joey was his usual laughing, joking self. He was one horny little bastard, I'll give him that.

"Aw, c'mon guys. You gotta give me something."

"Sorry Joey, that's just a little too much to ask."

"C'mon Chris, if he were a girl you'd be bragging to you friends. Just brag a little."

"Maybe, but not if she were in the car."

Joey sighed. "Man this just isn't fair. You guys are the only other gays in the whole school. I'm doomed to be a virgin 'til I graduate. The least you could do is help me out a bit."

Chris and I just laughed. The kid wanted a "blow by blow" description of our love-making so he'd have some good fantasy material for after school. Sheesh!

We arrived in the parking lot and got a lot of looks and stares as we headed into the building. I walked Chris to class then headed for my locker.

"Hey Frank, Kevin, wait up." Two of my best friends were just down the hall.

They turned. Kevin just stood there and looked at me. Frank smiled.

"Hey, What's up Mike?"

"Nuthin' much. Just wondering what you guys been up to." At least someone was talking to me.

"C'mon Frank, let's get out of here." Kevin was obviously not wanting to be around me.

"What's the problem, Kevin?" I was more than just a little hurt.

"You're the fucking problem, man."

"'Cause I'm gay?"

"Yeah, and you lied to us, man."

"Lied, about what?"

"Oh, like you don't know."

"I don't fucking know. What the fuck are you talking about?" Fuck! What is the sob talking about. I hadn't spoken to him in nearly two weeks.

"About being a fucking fairy, you asshole. You've been pretending to be one of us all this time."

I just stood there, my mouth open. I had no idea what to say to that. I wasn't any different than I'd ever been. Well, maybe I was. But it's not like I had even realized I was gay.

Kevin put his hand on Frank's shoulder, "Let's go, Frank. He's a fucking loser."

I could feel my fists clench. They had gotten so tight my arms were shaking. My jaw tightened. I could feel my face flush from anger and the veins in my forehead felt like they might explode.

"GOD FUCKING DAMMIT, KEVIN! I'm not any fucking different than I've ever been. If you can't take this, you're the one who's been lying. Lying about being my friend all these years." It was all I could do to keep from knocking his fucking head off. Kevin was my oldest and best friend, but dammit I was fucking mad.

"You want some mutherfucker, c'mon. I ain't afraid of no fucking fairy. We'd never have been friends if you'd been honest in the first fucking place." Kevin had taken a couple of steps in my direction.

"Settle down, man. Let's just go." Frank stepped in between us and put his hands on Kevin's chest, stopping his advance. "Let's just go."

I just stared at my former best friend. I was ready to kill him if need be. But Frank had him backing away. Frank looked back at me "I'm sorry." He mouthed the words.

GODFUCKINGDAMMIT!!! Why the fuck does this have to keep on happening? I want my fucking life back. I know it hadn't been much of a fucking life, but it was mine and dammit, I wanted it back. I watched as they walked away. I wanted to cry but I didn't dare. Not in school. Not in front of everyone.

"Hi Mike."

I turned around to see Andrea Johnson.

"Uh, um, er, hi." Andrea hadn't said as much as two words to me, ever. She was one of the most popular girls in our class, a cheerleader, and damn hot.

She giggled. "I thought they were your friends. That sucks."

"Uh, yeah, it does." Come on Mike. Get it together. You used to have a crush on her. Not any more. There's no reason to be nervous.

I started walking to class and she walked with me, shoulder to shoulder, making small talk the whole way. It seemed that she was in my class.

"Well, Mr. Paul. Good of you to finally grace us with your presence." It was Mr. Prather

"Last time I was here it was you who sent me away."

"So it was. You do have your completed assignments, don't you. Suspensions for fighting don't excuse you from your work, you know."

I looked at him and smiled. "Of course I have them. I wouldn't have missed them for the world. You know how I love math, Mr. Prather. There were some things I didn't understand, though. I may need a little extra help." Sucking up to my favorite teacher? Of course. I had to find out if he still liked me. He'd taught algebra last year at the Jr. High. This year it was geometry. I hated math until I was put into his class. He just had a way of making math fun.

"I'd be more than happy to help him catch up."

Oh God. What Chris said really is true. Andrea definitely had a thing for me. No way she would offer to do this otherwise. What the fuck am I gonna do now?

"Well then, that settles that. Andrea can tutor you until you're caught up. I'll check these assignments and she can help you with what you've missed."

Did I say Mr. Prather could make math fun? Well I've just changed my mind. I think I'm gonna be sick. Chris damn near had a fit when I was just teasing him about her. He'll go ballistic when he hears this. Fuck!

I could barely focus my attention for the rest of the class. Mr. Prather droned on and on. It was something about the sum of the square of the two sides and the rights of a triangular hippopotamus. The bell finally rang, but I was anything but free. Andrea followed me out the door.

"You're in last period study hall, aren't you?"

"Uh, yeah. I think so."

"Good. We can sit together and work on geometry."

"Yeah, sure." I must have sounded about as enthusiastic as Christian being tossed to the lions.

"Hey Mike!" It was Frank.

I just looked at him and said nothing.

"Aw, c'mon Mike. I'm sorry. It wasn't me. Kevin's just pissed. He'll get over it."

"Yeah, well maybe I won't." The anger was starting to build up again.

"Just let it go, man. He'll come 'round."

I took a deep breath and started to reply but before I could...

"C'mon Frank, you hanging with us or you hanging with the fairy?" It was Kevin and he had Scott and Jim with him.

I just looked at Kevin.

"Gotta split, man. Just be cool, ok?"

"So you're gonna chose them over me?"

"I don't wanna have to choose anybody, man."

"Well, if you're goin' with them, then you've made your choice."

"Look Mike, it's nothing personal. You're all my friends. I don't want to give any of you up. But if I gotta, well man, it's a choice between three of them or one of you. Just look at the numbers, man."

"Let's go Frank, we ain't waitin' no longer." Frank shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

"It is fuckin' personal." I muttered under my breath.

"What do you want with those dweebs in the first place?" I'd forgotten Andrea was standing there.

What DID I want with those fucking dweebs? What did I want? Fuck! They were my best friends. We'd grown up together.

"They're my best friends."

"They're dweebs. You don't need them."

"Yeah well, if they're dweebs then so am I." Andrea was starting to get on my nerves. I began heading towards my next class.

"You're no dweeb, Mike. No way any dweeb could stand up to Recob the way you did." It looked like she intended to follow me.

"Look Andrea, I'm no different now than I was before the fight. You thought I was a dweeb then, there's no reason not to think that now."

"Maybe I was wrong about you."

"If you were wrong about me then you're wrong about them."

"You proved me wrong about you." She shot me a quick version of that toothy smile of hers that made nearly every guy in school drool. "But maybe you're right. Maybe I am wrong about them. After what I just saw, I don't think they are dweebs."

"No?" I glanced over at her.

"No. They're not dweebs. They're assholes."

Hold back your smile Mike. Don't fucking laugh at that. Shit! It was too late. I was already smiling. Fuck. Andrea was winning. I was starting to like her.

As it turned out Andrea was in my biology class as well and she also managed to convince Mr. Williams that she could help me get caught up. Good thing she wasn't in my other classes. I'd have ended up spending my life with her. Now that wouldn't be such a horrible sentence, would it? Well not really, I guess. I could get lost in that long auburn hair of hers. Shit. You could slide all the way down her back on it. Except that she's a girl. Damn. I bet I wouldn't have to teach her how to play with it. Oh gawd. Now I was horny again.

I met Chris and Joey for lunch. They introduced me to Jeff Lewis and he sat with us too. Andrea joined us and made no secret that she was flirting with me. It was working too. She'd be playing with her hair and would wink or smile at me. I thought Chris would be jealous, but he seemed to think it was funny instead. Jeff turned out to be pretty cool. It looked like we'd end up becoming friends.

Andrea continued her flirting all the way through study hall. But I have to admit she was also a good tutor. Despite her flirting, she was really kind of nice. As much as I didn't want to, I really was beginning to like her.

After the final bell, I headed down to the locker room. I wasn't allowed to practice, but I could still workout with the team. I could run and do some light lifting to keep in shape.

As I entered the locker room, it went silent. The guys just stopped and stared at me. Several of them were wearing nothing more than their underwear or their jock strap. A couple of them tried to cover themselves.

Just fucking ignore them Mike. Just look straight ahead and walk back to your locker. I could feel myself tensing up. I was nervous, angry, and scared. What if somebody wanted to start something? I wasn't in any shape for another fight. I didn't even want one.

"Paul! My office. NOW!" It was Coach Chambers.

What the fuck does HE want? The sob can't even wait 'til I get onto the field to start fucking with me.

I stepped inside and he closed the door.

"Clean out your locker and get your ass out of my locker room." His voice was stern, his jaw, tight, and his eyes cold.

I just looked up at him. I couldn't believe what he'd just said.

"Don't just stand there. You're off the team. Now get the fuck out of my locker room." Chambers was a big man and he took a step towards me as he spoke, one hand on his hip and the other pointing towards the door. He'd claimed to have been a pro ballplayer, though I didn't really believe him. But he was big enough to have been one. I'd swear that if he flexed, he'd rip the seams of the polo shirt he was wearing. Rock solid muscle. And now he was towering over me.

I just swallowed and glared back at him. "For what?" You goddamn mutherfucker. Just because I'm fucking queer. Well I ain't fucking leaving. You're going to have to throw me out.

"For fighting."

Fighting? FUCK! What the fuck am I going to say now? GOD FUCKING DAMMIT! I didn't have any defense for this.

"I gave you two a chance to settle your differences on the field. You chose to take it off the field. I won't tolerate it. Now get your gear and get the fuck out of here."

"And Ron?" That fucking sob had better get the same as me.

"I'll deal with him when he gets back. Now git!" Again he gestured, pointing his finger at the door.

Shit. Why couldn't he have said it was because I'm a fucking little fairy. If he'd said that I might just have hit him. Yeah, he'd have beaten me to a pulp, but who the fuck cares? But goddammit I had been fighting. The sonofabitch was right.

I just walked out of his office, straight through the locker room and out the door. There really wasn't anything worth stopping by my locker to pick up.

Fuck! My life just fucking sucks sometimes. I ain't good at much, but football was one of those things I did well. What the fuck did it matter? I had broken ribs and wasn't even going to get to practice until mid-season.

I walked out to the parking lot, muttering to myself the whole way. I wondered if I should wait for Chris by his car or if I should just walk home. It would be at least an hour to wait. He'd be running five miles for cross country practice. I had my notebook with me, I could hack out a poem while I waited.

I shook my head as I pulled out my notebook and sat on the ground next to the driver's door. I had been ready to rip Chambers' eyes out when he'd told me I was off the team. Anger coursing through my veins. I was so sure he'd done it because I was gay. I was like a wolf ready to take his prey. But then he'd told me it was because of the fight. All that anger. All that hatred. And no place to let it go. It was still inside me, eating away. Unquenched. Unsatisfied. The prey had just disappeared as the wolf launched into his attack.

The words slowly etched themselves across the paper.

Eyes alight with dancing flame,
Teeth bared through quivering, snarled lips,
Saliva drips from bloodthirsty tongue,
Nostrils flared, panting heinous breath,
Pangs of hunger wrenching the gut,
And nothing on which to feed.

It took some re-reading and a little editing, but eventually it said what I wanted, described how I felt. I read it through one last time and scribbled the title across the top; Silent Seething.

It had been one hell of a first day back at school. I'd lost my best friends. I'd found a couple of new ones. Fuck. Andrea Johnson. I still couldn't believe her interest. Gawd. If I didn't have Chris. Fuck Mike. What are you thinking? You love Chris. Not her. You're just in love with the idea that Andrea could make your life normal again.

That's got to be it. Besides, she'd forget about me in a few days. She'd go back to the popular crowd. If I didn't have Chris I'd probably have a nice few days. Maybe I'd get lucky enough that she'd kiss me. Maybe even more. But that would be that. She'd get tired of slumming and leave me hanging. I'm not good enough for her. She'd realize that when her friends start laughing and making fun of her for spending so much time with a dweeb. That was really all I'd ever been to her. As soon as the fight was forgotten, I'd return to dweebdom as far as she is concerned. But it did feel good to have her attention for the moment. She'd been the only girl I'd thought about in the last two years.

I had to chuckle at that. It was true, more or less. I rarely had thought about girls. Most of my fantasies had been about guys. Even my heterosexual fantasies. It was always some hot-looking guy that got the girl in my fantasies. Not me. Damn, I wasn't good enough to get the hot girls in my own dreams. Nope. If I got any, it was with a guy. I hadn't thought much about that before. I'd always resisted. Fuck. I've always been gay. It just took Chris to bring it out and get me to admit it.

"Hey Mikey, whatcha doin' here?" I looked up to see Chris headed my way.

"Nothin' much, just waitin' for you." I stood to great him, dropping my notebook onto the hood of his car. We embraced and I planted a kiss on my lover's lips.

"You guys are fuckin' pathetic."

Chris and I broke our embrace. I looked up to see some kid I didn't even know shaking his head and looking our way as he walked by. I pressed my lips together and smacked out a kiss in his direction. He sneered and made some sort of grunting sound, turned and just kept on going. Chris and I looked at each other for a moment before the two of us burst into laughter.

"Who the hell was that?" Chris beat me to the question.

"I have no fucking idea. I think I've seen him around, though. Obviously he's got no balls." I gave Chris another peck on the cheek, grabbed my notebook, and stepped around the car, getting into the passenger side.

Chris teased me about Andrea all the way home. Even my comments about how hot she is and how much she turned me on didn't seem to phase him. I stayed for dinner at Chris' house. His mom had already called my aunt to say I'd be eating with them even before I'd been asked. I stayed long enough to help Chris wash the dishes.

"I got kicked off the team today."

"What?" Chris nearly dropped the plate he was working on as he looked in my direction. "They can't do that, can they? Because you're gay, I mean."

"It was for fighting Recob."

"That's just an excuse, Mikey. I bet Chambers didn't kick Ron off the team."

"He said he'd deal with that when Ron gets back to school. But it doesn't matter. Everyone thinks I started the fight anyway. They'll say Ron was just defending himself. Not his fault. If that's what Chambers wants."

Chris just shook his head. "That's so fuckin' wrong."

After I helped wash the dishes I had to hurry home. I'd been given more homework than I could do in a month.

Wednesday morning I was back in the car with Chris and Joey on the way to school. Chris had been going on about how unfair it was for me to get kicked off the football team.

"Hey, I got an idea."

Uh-oh. Any idea of Joey's just had to be trouble.

"Why don't you see if you can get on the cross country team with Chris?"

I looked back at Joey. If looks could kill he'd have been dead before he could have finished the sentence.

"Yeah, that's a great idea, Mikey. We could run together." Chris was all smiles.

"Are you guys fuckin' nuts? I hate running."

"Aw, c'mon. It's not that bad. Not like on the track." I could see the pleading in Chris' eyes. "I wouldn't be so lonely that way. I'd have my boyfriend to keep me company."

"Chris." Oh God. I had that whine in my voice.

"Do it Mike. You need to stay in shape for baseball, don't you?"

"Shut up Joey." I didn't need anything more from him.

"C'mon, Mikey. Pleeeease." Chris had puffed out his lower lip and was giving me those sad puppy-dog eyes.

"Oh Gawd."

"He's gonna do it, Chris." Joey was just looking a little too smug.

"On one condition." A sly smile began to slide across my lips.

"Chris gives you a blow job in the showers after practice?" Joey was grinning from ear to ear.

"Not a bad idea, but no." I looked over at Chris and then back to Joey.


"You're joining up with me." Now it was my turn to smile.

Chris was laughing his ass off.

"No fucking way." Joey crossed his arms and fell back into his seat.

I was still smiling. "No fucking choice."

"I think I'm gonna be sick." Joey was covering his face with his hands.

I smiled to myself all morning about the way I'd suckered Joey. Not even Frank could get me down. He'd tried again to speak with me, but again just ended up walking away with Kevin. Andrea's flirtation just put me in a even better mood. I really was starting to enjoy the attention she was paying me. It felt good to have a pretty girl after my ass. That is until she caught up with me in the lunch line.

"Hey gorgeous."

"Hey beautiful." I'd recognized the voice and decided to flirt back just a little.

Andrea took my arm in hers and planted a kiss on my cheek. "Don't you just think we make a lovely couple?" She said to the kid standing in front of us.

"Holy shit!" Was the boy's response. It was Jake Wheeler. He was a little runt of a kid. A year older than us, but he still could pass for Jr. High. "Aren't you supposed to be gay?"

I scowled at him.

"I...I...I'm s...sorry." He looked like he might piss his pants.

I broke into a hearty laugh. "Don't sweat it, Jake."

Jake still looked like he thought I was gonna hit him.

"So you think he's gay, do you?" It was Andrea's turn to have some fun. "Well I bet I can get a rise out of him."

Andrea threw her arms around my neck and firmly planted her lips on mine. I was caught so off guard that I had no way to resist when her tongue slipped into my mouth.

I could barely hear the oohs and ahhs from the people standing around us. My head was spinning. This was better than any jackoff fantasy I'd ever had about her. Before I even realized it, I found myself kissing her back. I have no idea how long we maintained our embrace before she finally pulled back.

"So what do you think, Jake? I'd say that bulge in his pants is a good indication that he's not quite as gay as he wants us to think, wouldn't you?"

I swallowed hard as she turned to walk away. Christ! I was hard as a rock.

I stood there for a moment trying to collect myself when I realized that half the cafeteria was looking at the lump in my pants. Suddenly I could feel myself turning so red I thought I might just burst. I turned away from everyone and tried to pretend nothing had just happened. It was no use. I was just shaking like a fucking leaf. What the hell was I gonna tell Chris? I looked around the cafeteria to see if I could find him. He was nowhere in sight. At least he didn't have to see it.

By the time I got my lunch, Chris was at the table. He just stared at me as I approached.

"I guess you heard?" Stupid question Mike. Of course he's heard.

"Heard? What could I have possibly heard?" His voice was a dagger through my heart and I thought his eyes would burn me to ashes.

I hung my head in shame. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. "I'm sorry, Chris." I closed my eyes as I dropped my tray onto the table. I couldn't face him. I turned and ran out of the room.

How could I let this happen? How could I have kissed her back? Why is this happening to me? I'm such a fucking idiot. Fuck Mike, you are such a piece of shit.

I was sitting on the steps outside the gym, crying when he found me.

"I know what happened, Mike. I saw it." He slipped in beside me and I felt his arms around me.

Mike. He called me Mike. Not Mikey. Mike. It's over. He's dumping me.

"It's not like you had much choice."

"I kissed her back, Chris. I got a boner." I couldn't look at him. I turned away.

"Do you love her, Mike?"

"No." I tried to wipe away some of my tears.

"Do you love me?"

"Of course I love you. More than anything in the whole world."

"Then it doesn't matter, Mikey. It doesn't matter."

"Yes it does. It matters one hell of a lot." Chris and I both turned around. At the top of the steps was Andrea Johnson. "I owe you both an apology. I'm so stupid. Sometimes I get so stuck on myself, I start thinking that I can do anything I want. I'm sorry Mike. Chris. I wanted you Mike. I still do. But you belong with Chris. Please don't break up on account of me. You love each other. You belong together."

"Shut up Andrea." Chris was rising to his feet.

I just looked at them, unable to move.

"But Chris, I..."

Chris grabbed her and gave her a hug before she could finish getting the words out. A huge look of relief spread over Andrea's face. If this hadn't been so horrible, I might have laughed. She actually thought Chris was going to hurt her.

"Oh, Chris. I'm so sorry.

"Look, it wasn't the brightest thing in the world. It was selfish and, and mean. Just don't do it again, alright?"

Andrea smiled.

"And you." Chris turned back towards me. "You've got a lot of making up to do. You can start right after practice this evening and if you're lucky, I'll let you off the hook in the morning."

I had wiped the tears from my eyes and risen to meet him as he spoke. "To hell with after practice, I'm startin' now." I took him into my arms and squeezed him hard as I pressed my lips to his. They parted and I slipped my tongue into his mouth and kissed him until the whole world around us just seemed to disappear.

"Urrm, urrmmmm. Guys. Hello. Boys. Is there anybody in there?" I felt Andrea tapping me on the shoulder. "Um, guys. This is all really romantic and everything, but you're making a spectacle of yourselves."

I pulled back and looked at Andrea. Then I noticed the cheers, and a few jeers, from the small crowd that had gathered at the bottom of the steps. I looked at Chris and smiled. He smiled back. If I was just half as red as he was, we could both pass for fire engines. The three of us started laughing.

The rest of the week was actually pretty normal. Coach Willis had let both me and Joey onto the cross country team. I hated every minute of it, but what the hell. I'd do anything for the boy I loved. And besides, watching Joey gasping for breath as he tried to keep up was priceless. Not to mention that I got to see him in the showers afterwards. My jaw practically shattered on the ground when I got my first look at it. Joey and Chris just about died laughing when they saw the expression on my face. That thing was enormous. It hung almost to his knees and was as big around as my wrist. Limp! He must be bigger than me and Chris combined. No wonder the kid was so Goddamn horny all the time. How could he not be? Certainly there would be no possible way to ignore that once it stiffened up. Jesus. I'll bet you could play baseball with that thing!

Andrea never really stopped flirting, but it was more of a joke now than it had been before. She invited all of us, Chris, Joey, Jeff, and myself to her table at lunch. I couldn't believe it. I was part of the in crowd. I was sitting with cheerleaders, majorettes, and the other most popular girls in school, not to mention some of the most popular guys. The jocks didn't have much to say to me, but guys like Woody and Tom, our class president and VP, didn't seem to have a problem with us.

Frank and I never did get a chance to talk privately. Kevin always seemed to be looming nearby. I wasn't quite sure where I stood with Frank, but Kevin, Jim, and Scott were pretty damned clear. I wasn't welcome.

On Thursday, Recob returned to school. Somehow I managed to avoid him. As Chris had predicted, he wasn't kicked off the football team, though he wasn't practicing yet either. I guess bruised testicles take a little while to heal.

Chris was one of the best of our runners, but I was rather marginal. Not quite good enough to get into a meet, but almost. I needed to knock about thirty seconds off my time. Chris figured the best way to do that was put in some extra running on the weekend. So on Saturday morning we headed across the highway and down the hill to the railroad tracks. He planned to run across Branyan's farm and back. As we scrambled up the hill and jumped the fence...

"Well, ain't this my lucky day."

I turned to see Recob and Kirshner.

"Fuckin' Recob." I was scared shitless, but I wasn't going to show it. At least not if I could keep from shaking.

"Let's get out of here Mikey." Chris' voice was breaking up.

I glanced over at him. His mouth had dropped open. His eyes wide. Chris was scared to death.

"Good advice, asshole. Run while you can."

"I ain't goin' nowhere." My jaw was tight. My eyes squinted. I was giving him my best Clint Eastwood imitation.

"Mikey!" Chris sounded like he was ready to piss in his pants.

"Just hold your ground, Chris. This fucker ain't got nuthin'"

"Please Mikey. They'll kill us." Chris was whining now.

"Better listen to the little fairy, MiKEY." He accented the last syllable and there was obvious mockery in his voice.

"Mikey please, let's go."

Again I looked at Chris, he had taken a few steps backwards. There were tears streaming down his face.

"Please." The word barely escaped his lips.

"Then go Chris." My tone was hard, but I wasn't yelling. He was starting to piss me off.

"Mikey." He was pleading.

"Just get the fuck away from me!" This time I yelled. My voice was full of fire.

I looked back at Recob. He was grinning. I led with a left. It wasn't quick enough. There was a sharp pain in my gut and I felt the air rushing out of me. That was followed by a crippling jolt to my jaw. My legs just seemed to disappear and the ground jumped up and hit me in the face. There was a flash of light, then darkness. A humming sound surrounded my head. Then another sharp pain in my ribs as my breath went away. I could hear a voice.

"That's enough Ron." It sounded like Kirshner.

"I ain't even gotten started with this piece of shit."

"No Ron, you're finished. It's done." His voice was stern, cold.

"This fucker dies. Right here. Right now."

"No!" Came the harsh reply.

"You takin' the little faggot's side against me?"

"I'm telling you it's over. You owed him an ass whippin'. You gave him one. You also owe him your life or have you forgotten that he walked away when he could have fucked you up real bad. Now you do the same. Walk away."

"And if I don't?"

"Then you gotta go through me."

"Don't think I couldn't"


"Uuuurrrggghhh." I groaned as I opened my eyes. My jaw hurt and I didn't seem to be able to open my mouth. Where the hell am I? I was looking at the ceiling, white panels with little black spots. There was a track with gray curtains hanging from it. The curtain was closed around me. I was in a bed that had rails on the side. There was a metal chair to my right. No one there. I heard what sounded like a television or radio, but I didn't see one and couldn't quite tell where it was coming from.

"Where the Hell am I?" That's what I tried to say, anyway. But the sound I made was unintelligible. My jaw wouldn't move and it hurt like hell.

No one responded. I tried to take a deep breath but was met with a sharp pain in my chest. I winced. My nose itched and I raised my left arm to scratch it. Or at least I tried. It was jerked back down before I could get it off the bed. Who the fuck was holding me? I tried my right. Same result. I raised my head and looked down at my wrists. They were strapped down. There were some tubes sticking out of my left arm. I followed them with my eyes. It was an IV. I was in a fucking hospital!

"Help! Somebody! Anybody!" I tried yelling out, but again it only sounded like groans. Then I remembered. Recob! We'd fought. Well, he'd fought. I hadn't been much more than a punching bag.

Chris. Where the hell is Chris? No, wait. The little shit had taken off. Run away. Left me to take on that monster all by myself. How could he do that?

"Cwisshhh!" I called out for him. Maybe he'd been the one to bring me here. That had to be it. He'd hidden until Recob had left, then he'd picked me up and brought me here.

But there was no answer.

"Cwisshhh!" I tried again.

"Are you all right over there?" Finally a voice. I didn't recognize it.

"Noh, hep me."

"What'd you say?"

"Hep me." I was starting to be able to talk, but the words still weren't making much sense.

"I'll get the nurse."

I heard what sounded like someone leaving the room. A minute later I heard someone coming.

"She'll be right here." I heard the curtains being pulled back. When I looked it was a boy. He appeared to be about 11 or 12 years old. Blond with blue eyes. Well one blue eye, anyway. The other had a patch over it.

"Who are you?" I was finally able to say something that could be understood.

"My name's Carl, who're you?"


"How come you're hear?"


"Did you win?"

"Don't think so."

"Yeah, I guess not if you're here."

"He must've been a big guy."

"Weawy big." It seemed that pronouncing 'r' and 'l' was going to give me trouble.

"Why'd you fight him?" Curious little fellow wasn't he?

"No choish. How come you heaw?"

He giggled. "You talk funny."

"Bwoken jaw, I think."


"Alright, Carl. Time to hop back to bed." The nurse had finally arrived.

Carl disappeared and a middle-aged lady appeared from around the curtain.

"So how are we feeling today?"

WE? I doubt that WE are feeling anything. I on the other hand... Oh just shut up Mike and answer the question.


She smiled.

"I guess you're not going to be the next Joe Frazier, are you?"

"Vewy funny."

"Do you remember what happened?"

"Hit by a twain?"

"He was in a fight!" I heard a clapping sound that was probably Carl hitting his fist against the palm of his other hand.

"That's quite enough, Carl"

"Sho whatch da damach?" My jaw seemed to be getting tired and I was starting to have trouble speaking again.

"You are a very lucky young man. If that boy hadn't brought you in here you'd probably be dead."

"What boy?" Please tell me it was Chris.

"I didn't get a name, but he was big, bigger than you even."

Who the hell was she talkin'... Kirshner! It had to be. I remembered he was there. Yeah, the voices. He stopped Recob. Kirshner had brought me here.

"He came back a little while ago. He wanted to know how you were doing."

"How am I doing?"

"Well, as I said. You are very lucky. It seems you have four broken ribs. One of them had punctured your lung and you were barely breathing. If that boy hadn't brought you in, you'd likely have suffocated. You've also got a broken jaw. They had you in surgery all night to set it. It's wired shut now. You won't be able to eat anything solid for a while."

"Oh." Now that she had mentioned food, I realized I was hungry.

"Whad about my pawentch? Hash anyone elsh come to vishit?"

"No one that I know of. Let's see..." She picked up a notebook from the end of the bed. "According to your chart, your father was contacted and he refused to come in and sign the consent for the surgery. It looks like the doctor did it anyway because it was an emergency. Is there a problem with your parents?"

"I wive wiff my aunt and uncle."

"Oh, well. Let me put that in here. What are their names?"

I gave her the name, address, and phone number for my aunt and uncle. She finished her business and left. She had at least unstrapped my arms. Apparently I had been thrashing around in my sleep and they had to strap me down to keep me from hurting myself. Carl's parents had come in while the nurse was there and that meant I was more or less alone.

I couldn't believe Kirshner had stopped Recob and had brought me to the hospital. Why would he do that? It didn't make sense. And where the hell had Chris gone, anyway? He really had abandoned me. He just took off and left me to die. I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes.

"Mom, I think he's awake now."

I turned my head towards the voice and opened my eyes.


"Hey sleepyhead. I guess I'm gonna have to teach you how to duck."

"How 'bout teachin' me to wun instead. Might be safer."

I chatted with Cliff and my Aunt Maxine for about an hour. They'd been worried when I hadn't come home last night. Chris hadn't been home either. Nobody seemed to know where he was. That had me a little worried. Maybe he hadn't gotten away. Maybe he was hurt. I found out they were going to keep me one more might, then I could go home. They didn't say a word about my parents. I didn't ask.

"Well, I've got to get home and fix dinner for your uncle and the boys. Sorry we can't stay any longer. I know you must be lonely in here."

"That'sh ok, I got Cawl over thewe to keep me company. And I'm kinda tired anyway." I was learning how to talk a little better. My speech was clearing up.

They hadn't been gone more than five minutes.

"Oh man, Mike, are you all right?" It was Joey.

"Never better." That brought a smile to Joey's face. "How 'bout you?"

Joey never got the chance to answer.


"Good to see you too."

"Oh shit!" Joey damn near jumped through the wall he was so scared. I wasn't sure that I wasn't scared either.

"Damn kid, settle down. I ain't gonna hurt nobody."

"It's true, then. You bwought me in here."


"And you stood up to Wecob."

"Yeah." A smile crept across Joe's face.


"'Cause I respect you, man. You stood up to him even though you must have known it would end up like this. You stood up to him on the football field, then at school. You had the chance to fuck him up and instead you walked away. That's class, man. I never had the balls to stand up to him. Not until I watched you."


"Don't thank me. If I had the balls, this wouldn't have happened. Besides, this don't mean we're friends. I still don't like fairies." Joe turned and started walking out of the room.

"Well, thanks anyway."

"See ya around, kid."

Joey had all but disappeared while Kirshner was in the room.

"Holy shit, Mike. Kirshner brought you here?"

I nodded, it was easier than trying to talk.


"I guesh I owe him one. Wecob would have killed me if Joe hadn't stopped him."

"Man, I can't fuckin' believe it."

"Where's Cwish?"

Suddenly the amazement and excitement drained from Joey's face. He just looked at me.

"Joey, where's Cwish. What's happened? What's wong?"

"He wouldn't come. He thinks you hate him because he got scared. He said you yelled at him."

"He wan away. Just left me thewe." Chris had run from the first fight, too. When I had to face Recob in school. I had been glad he was gone then. I hadn't wanted to have to worry about him. Why was it different this time?

"Mike, he couldn't have made a difference, Recob would've killed both of you. Is that what you want?"

"Of course not. I would never want him to get hurt." Tears were starting to roll down my face. This time it was different. I had wanted, no needed, my boyfriend at my side. I'd have died for Chris, but obviously, he wouldn't do the same for me. "But I needed him. I needed someone to back me up. Someone to pick up the pieces and bring me here. I could have died, Joey. If Kirshner hadn't bwought me here I'd be dead wight now. Cwish weft me thewe to die."

Joey just stood there looking at me with this blank expression. I looked back through the tears.

"Mike, if he had stayed, Recob would have killed both of you. He wouldn't have been able to bring you here. Don't you see that?"

"I need him now. He's not hewe either. If he weally loved me, he'd be hewe. He wouldn't abandon me."

"What do you want me to tell him, Mike?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all."

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