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Rock and a Hard Place

Chapter 9

By and © Hans Schrieber


I held onto my father for a long while. I didn't really know what to say. I was sad about my mom leaving us, but honestly, I'd felt like she left us years ago. She'd changed from the selfless, loving, caring mother she had been to a selfish bitch. Suddenly, everything had to be about her. After my dad got this big job at the hospital and started making serious money, mom let it go to her head way bad. All she talked about was how things looked. She put me in this stupid private school until I refused to go any more once I got to high school age. I wanted to be with my friends, Dig and Bodie and the other normal kids at the public high school. It made it harder to make friends at high school because I hadn't gone to junior high with any of them. The only ones I knew were Dig and Bodie from sports. It did result in making me tighter with the Screw Crew.

She wanted me to take fencing and art classes and she hated wrestling. She even dragged me to this modern dance class once. I refused to go back. Wrestling wasn't a refined sport in her opinion, or more accurately, in her uppity friends' opinions and those were the only opinions that started to count around our house. I couldn't believe the weird kids she tried to force me into playing with. And then, along came the phony charity crap. She got way involved in all these fringe charities with this group of social class snobs and that was all she did or talked about. She was constantly off doing her charity stuff after that and I was home alone a lot. I didn't mind, though, I sort of enjoyed the solitude. I'd run around naked sometimes just because I could. I always kept an emergency set of shorts hidden around the house just in case I needed them quickly. She continued to pretend to care and would call me "sweety" and "darling" until I wanted to puke over the phoniness of it all. Whenever we were in front of others, she would gush on me; whenever we were alone however, she would pick at me.

Anyway, I'd been grieving over the loss of my real mother since about sixth grade, so I only had a little sadness left in me. I thought about saying something like this to my dad, but decided it wasn't the time to dump those feelings on him. Ultimately, I knew we'd be better off without her.

Dad talked about how much they had been in love at first and how the job had sort of sucked him in. He didn't blame mom as much as he blamed himself. I didn't see it that way. I felt she pushed him to do more and make more, so she could keep spending more to buy things we didn't really need in order to impress people we didn't even like. I didn't want all the stuff, I just wanted us to be together and play and laugh like we used to. I much preferred our picnics in the park, eating hotdogs and potato salad over lobster dinners at a fancy ass restaurant where mom would complain to the waiter that the melted butter was too heavy with garlic. I just listened and gave him an extra squeeze when he got choked up.

When I first met William, I assumed he was a snobby, pompous rich kid like the ones from my old school because of how he talked. He dressed smartly, like he was wearing a private school uniform, but not like all designer. He was aloof, but I came to recognize it wasn't because he was a snob, it was because he was socially challenged. I'm sure he was as leery of me as I was of him. His initial unkind remarks to me about being a jock were undoubtedly the result of bad treatment at the hands of other jocks in the school. I realize now he's actually genuine. He's genuinely weird, but he is genuine nonetheless. That's why I've come to like him, I think.

Finally, dad decided he'd had too much to drink and we both needed sleep, so I headed up to my room. He staggered to a guest room and crawled into bed in his clothes. I supposed sleeping in his bedroom had some sort of psychological barrier for the night for him, but I didn't ask about it. I didn't shower, I just crawled in bed. Before I fell asleep, I had a nagging thought to get up and pray. I argued against it because I was so tired, but it wouldn't leave me alone. I slid out of bed and onto my knees.

"Dear God, I feel like I need to talk to you. Things are getting kind of crazy around here. Please bless my dad right now. Don't let him get sucked into the bottle over this. Give him strength, please. Please don't let him end up like William's old man. Help me know what to say to him and how to let him know I'm there for him. Please keep blessing William that he'll get better and be okay. Forgive me for the stupid things I do sometimes. And ... God, please watch over my stupid mom and take care of her, even if she doesn't deserve it. Amen."

A peaceful warmth spread over me again and I climbed slowly back into my bed. I dropped into immediate unconsciousness. I woke up finally with the light streaming into my windows. The alarm clock said it was ten o'clock. I needed to pee badly. I stumbled into the bathroom and took care of it and heading back to my bed, I heard noises downstairs. I went down to investigate.

"Good morning sleepyhead," my father said, not looking too perky himself.

"Good morning. What are you doing home?"

"I live here, remember?" my dad said.

"Well, yeah, but you always do rounds on Sunday mornings."

"Not today. I was hoping to spend some time with you. I've been thinking I need to do things a little differently. What do you think?"

"Sure. Great, but I did promise to go visit William again and I need to do that for a while."

"Oh, of course. I'll drop you off and go on in to the hospital and then pick you up after I see my patients. How about I fix us a nice big breakfast?"

"Sounds good, but I'm trying to keep weight. I better just have some juice and maybe a couple eggs."

"Oh, that's right. Silly me. All right, juice and eggs it is. Go shower up and after we eat, I'll take you to William's if you'd like."

"Thanks. So are you doing okay?"

"You mean with the divorce?"


"No. It will never be okay, I'm afraid. But, I don't want to burden you with my pity. Someday, we'll talk about it, but not today, all right?"


"More importantly, are you all right? I'll always take time to listen if YOU need to talk. I'm sorry I chased your mom off, Kyle. I know I can't make up for her being here, but I also am not going to abandon you for my job anymore. It's my fault she's abandoned us, I should have seen it coming and I chose to ignore it. I'm not going to lose you or abandon you. I mean that. I really mean it."

I smiled, walked over and hugged my dad. "I love you, dad. Thanks."

"I love you too, son. Forgive me."

"Nothing to forgive, dad. I know you think it's your fault somehow, but it's not. Nothing could please mom. Nothing was ever good enough. I'll miss her and all, but I won't miss some things about her. Sorry if I don't seem all that broken up over this. It's just that, she hasn't been much of a mom for a while now, so I'm just not that broken up over it."

"My goodness, that's tragic. I really had no idea how far things had deteriorated around here."

"Thanks for dealing with it straight up, though. I was worried last night that you were going to keep going to the bottle over it. I need to tell you something about William's family." I let go of my dad and felt sort of weird being that close to him for so long, wearing just my boxers. I wondered If Scotty ever hugged his dad when they were naked. It was a weird, random thought and an even more bizarre image that flashed through my head to go with it.

"Tell me while I start the eggs."

I sat down and checked to make sure Little Rockwas safely tucked away behind my fly. It was all good down there, so I started in. "I visited William yesterday, even though he told me not to come by his house. It was sad. His father is a bitter drunk. He lives in a run-down trailer that is filthy. His mom works two jobs I think, and the only day she is home is Sunday. She takes William to church with her on Sundays. His dad went to medical school and worked in a research lab for some big drug company. He says he discovered something important and the company fired him and stole his idea. So now he just sits at home and drinks. When I saw you drinking last night over the divorce, I got really scared, I can't lie."

"I see. That is pretty sad. I'm sorry I scared you by drinking last night. Trust me; I'm not going to turn into a drunk."

"Yeah, I know. It's just that I'd just seen William's dad, who was a complete asshole to William and it bothered me really bad. I just want to rescue him like a lost puppy or something."

"Well, he's not a lost puppy and I doubt he would appreciate that reference. Sometimes you have to accept some sadness in life. You can't fix everything. You learn that pretty quickly in my profession. I see grieving parents and wives and husbands and children all the time, and they all want me to fix it. Sometimes, I can and it's wonderful. More often, I can't and it's heartbreaking. It takes an emotional toll on you. I'm afraid it took a toll on my marriage as well. Try to not hate your mother. Inside she is a good person, she just filled the emptiness I left in her in a misguided way. So, was that all you wanted to say about William's home life, or is there something more?"

"Pretty much. It's just, I wish there was something I could do. I was thinking maybe I could talk William and his mom into some kind of intervention."

"That makes good reality TV, but it seldom really works out," said Kyle's dad discouragingly.

"Okay. I can accept that, but do you think it would be okay for me to suggest it?"

"No harm in that. Well since you didn't shower, I guess you'll have to eat your eggs half naked and stinky. What kind of juice do you want?"

"Got carrot?"

"What?" chuckled his dad, "No. I'm afraid you're limited to some more mundane choices like apple, grape and orange. Where did you come up with the idea of drinking carrot juice? Is that a wrestling thing?"

"No, it was just something I drank over at my friend Scotty's house. His family is kind of ... let's say unique. They're into all healthy, natural stuff and I drank some there. I kind of liked it actually."

"I see. I'd like to meet him sometime. I'd like to get to know all your friends better."

"Well, you've seen him before. He's on the wrestling team. He was one of the captain's and was ringside when Dig wrestled the other day."

"Ahh, yes. I remember him slightly."

"Besides him, my only real friends are Dig and Bodie and you know them pretty well already."

"I see. Well okay then, let's eat."

"Dad, can we say grace over it first?"

My father looked at me a bit surprised and smiled. "Sure. You say it."

I bowed my head and said, "Dear God, bless this food for which we are thankful. Bless my super dad and even bless my mixed up mom, wherever she is. Especially bless William that he'll get better and help me think of a way to help him out. Amen."

I looked up and my father was looking at me with a glint of pride like I hadn't seen from a parent's eyes in a long time. I just smiled back and took a bite of my scrambled eggs. I savored them. Dad had mixed in a little cheese and I chewed slowly to make the pleasure of tasty food on the tongue last as long as possible. "Mmm-m-m-mmm, these eggs are good."

Dad chuckled. "Are you eating those eggs or making love to them?"

"Gotta take what you can get," I answered smiling. "So, dad, speaking of making love, I have a date for Ladies Choice dance next Saturday and we're going to Bodie's ranch afterward. Is that okay?" I had a glint in my eye.

"What? Are you saying you have plans for making love with your date after this dance?"

"What if I did?"

"I'd have to give you the four hour lecture again."

"Well in that case, no I have no plans for sex with my date. It's not worth the pain of sitting through your four hour lecture."

"Good, because you really are too young to be starting in with that. I remember you talking to Dig's father about Bodie's ranch after the wrestling meet. I'm fine with it. Who are you going to the dance with?"

"Bodie's mom."

"Really? I'm surprised Bodie's father is okay with his wife dating her son's friend. I never took her for the cougar type."

"DAAAD! Geez, you know what I meant. She's driving us."

"Ohhhh, so back to my original question, who are you going with?"

"This girl from school."

Dad rubbed his hand across his forehead and then down his face and finished by stroking his neck. It's his "Lord, give me patience with this idiot" motion.

"Okay, I figured that much on my own, Captain Obvious. Does this girl from school have a name, or was she hatched under a rock?"

I laughed. "Parents are so nosy," I teased. "If you must know, her name is Gina Meriwether."

"Ahh, good. And is she pretty?"

"Dad! I never thought you would be so shallow," I teased.

"Well, as handsome as you are, I was just supposing."

"She's cute. Not killer hot, but definitely not bad."

"Good. I just don't want ugly grandkids, that's all."

"Oh my God, I can't believe you just said that. I'm not planning on marrying her. It's one date and she asked me to it." I laughed even though I tried to be serious.

"Well then, that makes me feel much better."

"By the way, the fall formal is coming up in a few weeks and I was wondering if you could drive me and William to it."

"Wow. First you're dating Bodie's mom, and now you're taking William to the fall formal. No one can accuse you of being narrow minded."

I snorted and barely got my grape juice down without spraying it out. I clapped my hand over my eyes and shook my head. "You're impossible. William and I are double dating for the event. I'm going with Gina and he's taking Brenda from debate class."

"Oh my, Gina again. Sounds more serious than you let on. Do I need to supply you with some more condoms after all?"

"Dad, geez. NO. She just asked me to Ladies Choice because I asked her to Fall Formal. I can't believe you just said that."

"What are your plans on sex, son? Are you thinking about doing it, or have you already done it?"

"Are we really having this discussion now? I'm sitting here in my boxers eating scrambled eggs."

"Hmmm, question evasion. I wonder what that means."

"Geez, parents! Okay, straight up, NO I'm not having sex. I haven't had sex with any girls yet. I hardly ever think about sex ... whenever I'm asleep." I laughed. I timed the pause perfectly for the effect. He laughed back. I hoped I hadn't stressed the word girlstoo much and tipped him off. I really wasn't ready to have the discussion about what I did with Scotty or with William for that matter, but I also didn't want to lie to my dad.

"If you do, and I'm not encouraging it at your age, please, please wear a condom. I'll supply them if you ever want any and I want you to talk with me about it before you do it. I won't say no to you, but I want to know exactly what you are getting yourself into and with whom. I understand young boy's sexual urges. I'm not so naïve to think you will stay a virgin forever, but I don't want you to mess up your future with an unwanted pregnancy. There are some scheming girls out there that would love to get their permanent hooks into a handsome, rich kid like you. Be careful, okay?"

"So how's the weather outside," I said, obviously attempting to change the subject.

"It's a fine fall day. But I think you should dress a little warmer than just boxers."

"If you insist. If it's a warm day, maybe I'll just go naked. What would you think about that?" I was curious what kind of reaction he would have.

"I think I'll only visit you once a month. It's a long drive to the youth correctional facility."

I laughed with him. I savored the last sensual bite of scrambled eggs and chugged the remainder of my juice. Smacking my lips, I complemented the chef and rinsed my dishes before heading upstairs for my shower. I dropped my boxers, pulled the handle to start the water flow, and stepped into the hot stream.

I closed my eyes and swayed back and forth in the relaxing jets. I washed and massaged my body ever so slowly with the body wash. I appreciated the solid firmness of my own body. I really was in amazing condition and I was a bit proud of it. I shampooed the stubble on top of my head and then turned my attention to my dick and balls. It was nice to be able to take my time and not be rushed. I slowly rolled my balls between my fingers and verified everything felt normal the way dad had shown me to do. His telling me that testicular cancer occurred most often to white guys from ages 15 to 35 kind of freaked me out.

Since I was already in the neighborhood, I coaxed my dick to expand and stand up to its full height. I poured a healthy amount of cream rinse over it and into my right palm and began giving Little Rock a nice firm massage. I enjoyed the familiar sensation of my hand riding up and down the thick shaft. I love the surging sensations as my fingers cross over the ridge of my dickhead, coated in cream rinse, without the skin needing to be pulled up over it. The ribbing action of my fingers against the ridge of my dickhead thrills me. After a bit, I raised one leg and rested it on the ledge. With my free hand, I slipped a finger up my crack and pressed the tip of my middle finger into my hole. I could only get it in just below my second knuckle. I pulled it free and coated it in cream rinse. I turned my back to the side wall of the shower and used the protruding soap holder in the wall to help press my finger back up inside past the second knuckle. That's the spot. Slowly, I wiggled the tip of it back and forth across my prostrate while I resumed the hand action on my dick. My butt ring clenched hard against the impaling finger and the tension back there heightened the sensations spreading from my groin up into my stomach and chest and down into my thighs.

"Ugh," I grunted over and over in time with the spasms on my wiggling finger. The spasms were accompanied with a lower body shudder - each one lasting just a bit longer than the last one had. I flexed my knees to allow more weight to press against my hand and the soap holder, forcing my finger ever deeper into me. I added another glob of body wash and quickened my pace on my dick. Images of William's crooked dick flashed through my mind and how odd it felt to jack it for him when it was still bent. I thought about Scotty's sister and for a moment, my hand became her pussy. I thought about my initiation into boy sex lying with Scotty in his bed. Finally, I imagined my impaling finger was really Dig's giant dickhead perched atop his erect shaft pounding against my prostrate and that image sent me over the edge. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut and held my breath as my ass tightened its grip on my finger. The cum load surged from my balls up through my gut and into my throbbing dick. It literally blasted across the shower onto the shower door and trailed slowly down it. I trembled and had to lean into the wall for support. The weakness in my knees forced my finger deeper into my ass as I trembled and shook in a mind numbing release of sexual energy.

At once, it was over. I pulled my finger free and resumed breathing. I turned to face the shower stream and let the water rinse me clean of the oozing cum. I lifted my hand, thumb extended and fingers spread apart, to my lips and tasted my big carrot's spilled juice. It was sort of sweet. Lately, my cum had been tasting somewhat bitter when I sampled it. I moved the hand into the spray and rinsed it off. I raised the middle finger that had subbed for Dig's dick up my ass to my nose and drew in a breath. The familiar pungent odor filled my senses, and I smiled in satisfaction at the success of the experience. I did a quick washdown of my stinky finger and the rest of my body and shut off the shower. Jackoff sessions are always nice, but some are memorable. I dried, brushed my teeth, and walked naked back to my room. My dick was still partly stiff and I could feel it waggling side to side as I walked. I liked how that felt.

When I finally got downstairs, my father had the "it's about time" look on his face but he refrained from saying anything. He and I chatted like school friends catching up after a long summer vacation. It was so fun to be with dad and for it to be so relaxed and comfortable. I'd forgotten how friendly and kind he was, not to mention funny. We laughed and teased with each other. He asked me tons of questions about my wrestling and about debate. I tried not to go on too much, but he kept asking questions and acted truly interested. It was really wonderful.

"It's funny," I thought, "I had to lose my mom to gain back my dad."

When we arrived at William's house, I asked dad to wait until I was sure I could go in. I climbed the steps with the worn brown carpet and knocked on the flimsy door. William's mom answered the door and when she saw me, she acted a bit embarrassed. She smoothed her heavily worn house dress and primped at her hair. "Hello, Kyle. William mentioned that you might visit. That's very nice of you, dear."

I waved at my dad and he acknowledged. Mrs. Thames peered past me and then stepped outside when she saw it was my father. She went to the car and heaped praise on him for helping her son. Dad was embarrassed by the praise and downplayed his role.

Finally, we went in to visit William. I was struck by the difference. The place was halfway clean. At least all the clutter was gone. William's dad was missing. That alone was a huge improvement.

William actually had a pair of boxers and a t-shirt on and was sitting in the chair eating a bowl of soup. He brightened when I walked in. I smiled warmly at him and sat on his bed.

"How's it hanging?"

"What are you referring to?" asked William.

"Nothing in particular, it's just a slang greeting. It means, how are you doing?"

"Oh. Is that jock talk?"

"Not really. It's just a way lot's of guys say hello to each other."

"Oh. I've done some additional research into the education topic. I think it will be useful, look." William pulled up an article from the Department of Education and it was in fact very on point for the affirmative argument.

"Dude, it's great. We're gonna clean up this year when you get back."

"Yes. I am very excited in anticipation of the State Tournament. I believe we have a reasonable expectation of success."

"Me too. How cool would it be to win State?"

"Yes. Extraordinarily rewarding."

"So, how is IT hanging, by the way?" I asked pointing to his crotch.

William stood and shed his boxers. His small dick hung loosely over his half empty ball sac. All the bandages were gone. The scar looked significantly improved. There were some actual black nubs sprouting above his dick as some of his pubes were starting to grow back already.

"Can I feel it?" I was fascinated by it. He just shrugged. I reached out and gently fondled the scar around the circumference of his dick. Then I felt up his single ball. It seemed lonely in the sac all by itself. I tried to see if I could feel the cutoff tubes that went to the other ball, but I couldn't. The other half of the sac just seemed empty. Touching him there caused a stirring in my loins, but left him unaffected. It had become clinical for him to be touched there.

"It's looking way better already," I encouraged.

"Yes. I am thoroughly pleased with the progression." He pulled his shorts up just in time before his mother walked in and asked if he was finished with his soup. He was and she took the bowl away. She gave us an odd look as though she sensed something had been going on between us, but said nothing. I felt awkward. William appeared unabashed by it all.

"I could not attend religious services with my mother today and I feel a great loss from it. Would you pray with us before you leave?"

"Sure. I've been praying for your recovery," I told him. It clearly pleased him and he smiled broadly. He had a very nice smile. It was so genuine.

"That pleases me." Tingles ran down my spine and I smiled back at him.

We chatted pleasantly for a long while and I talked to him a little about doing an intervention with his father. He seemed hesitant but agreed to review the sites on the internet I'd found. I chose to withhold the news about my mother from him. That seemed unnecessary to share. I didn't really want to think or talk about it anyway. I gathered his homework so I could turn it in on Monday and called my dad to come get me. When my father arrived, I stood and said goodbye. William stood up and I expected to shake hands, but instead he hugged me. I placed my hands on his bare back and gently pressed him to my chest. "Thank you for your petitions to God in my behalf," he said with deep appreciation.

"You're welcome. That's what friends should do. If it's okay and if you're able, do you think I could go to church with you next week?"

"Oh, most assuredly. That would be magnificent," William gushed.

"Cool, it's a date then." I held my knuckles up and we bumped them. He had accepted this gesture as a suitable hello and goodbye sign. He teased me that it was much less messy than my other form of greeting.

Dad and I had more good conversation and I told him about my intention to attend church on the following Sunday. He said that sounded like a good idea and if I liked it and wanted to go back, he may attend with me after that. I was pleased.

On Monday, the routine of school resumed and I woke early, jogged to my secret spot and unloaded my nuts then jogged back home. After my triple J, I showered quickly, dressed and had dad drop me off. I was well within the next weight class when I weighed in, and I was feeling pretty good about myself again. So far, the lack of my mother in the house had only served to reduce my stress level. Dig showed up late for practice on Monday and we all had to suffer the consequences. No one besides me gave him too much crap over it though. We did our workout and Coach announced there would be wrestle offs the following day for Thursday's home meet. When he announced that Dig and I were going to wrestle up a weight, there were groans from the guys holding those spots. Kirk was thrilled to be able to keep his spot that I was vacating. He seemed to be working harder now that he knew he had a spot in the lineup.

"Where were you?" I asked Dig.

"Snogging with Rochelle. I lost track of time. We were behind the AC units and she had her hand in my pants and was rubbing me off. I got so boned. I can't wait for Saturday when I finally get to go all the way with her."

"Wow. No shit? Did she make u cum?"

"Nah, before I got off, I realized all of a sudden that no one was around and so we must be late and sure enough I was late. Coach was pissed at me since I'm a captain. I have to be more careful."

"He's not the only one that was pissed. We all got punished for your tardiness, dude. It sucks."

"Yeah. Sorry. I"ll have to make it up to you."


"I don't know. You think of something."

For a split second, I considered asking for a blowjob, but totally chickened out. "If you want to make it up, just go back to being Dig. Stop ditching me and Bodie and start hanging with us again."

I told him all about what we did on Saturday night in the showers and Scotty and Kirk jumped in and talked excitedly about how much fun it was. Dig laughed so hard when we told him where Bodie was going to hang the car wash sign that it attracted everyone's attention n the showers and nearby lockers. I told Dig Scotty and Kirk were his replacements in the Screw Crew and that clearly bothered him. I was glad it bothered him, I wanted it to.

"Hey Kirk, by the way, Bodie asked me to let you know that his mom will pick us all up around 6:30 on Saturday for the Ladies Choice dance. I need your address." He thanked me and said he'd give me his address over by the lockers. "So how was your time at Scotty's after I left?" I gave him a wink and a smile.

"Your loss was definitely my gain, dude. It was amazing. My little buddy is still recovering from it," he gloated.

"Glad I could accommodate."

"How was your sick friend by the way?"

"Doing much better actually. I'm glad I went, he really needed me. I think I might invite him to come to Bodie's ranch after the dance if he's well enough. It would be good for him to get out. Bodie wouldn't care I'm sure." Even as I said it I wondered whether it was a good idea or not, but I really wanted to try and help William broaden his social circles and try to fit in better. I could hang with him and help him if things got awkward. Hopefully, Gina wouldn't try and smother me. She didn't seem the type. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. I started daydreaming about hanging around the giant campfire and William discussing the scientific process for combustion.

"Hello!! Space case! Time to go." Dig shut my shower off and I was startled back to reality. We dried off and I stole long glances at his penis as he toweled himself off. I imagined it boned with that giant dickhead bulging at the end of his pole and Rochelle's hand stroking up and down it. I felt a twinge up inside my ass as I recalled my shower time fantasy. The resulting rush of blood into my own dick brought me to reality and I turned quickly away and finished drying myself off. I wrapped my towel tightly around me to bind my growing dick and hurried to the locker.

Dad picked me and Dig up since it was supposed to be my mom's turn to drive this week. He dropped Dig off and then took me to William's. I delivered his homework and got an update on his progress. He was up and dressed in a t-shirt and loose shorts. He was actually fixing dinner for himself and his drunken old man, who completely ignored me. That suited me just fine.

"William, I have a question for you and I want you to think about it before just saying no."

He stopped stirring the stew and stared at me.

"Okay. This Saturday is Ladies Choice dance and I'm going with Gina, but afterwards there's a party for whoever wants to show up at my friend's ranch. There will be a big bonfire and music and people will hang out. There will be pizza and soda and it'll be fun. Sometimes we play hide and go seek or tag. I want you to come to it."

Horror overtook his expression and he began shaking his head. "No. That is an unsuitable proposition."

"Why? You can't be scared to try new things. You have to get out and meet more people. Once others realize how real you are, they'll like you just like I do. I insist on you coming. I promise that I'll hang with you so nothing awkward happens. Please. Do it for me?"

He shrank backward. He didn't want to do it in the worst way, I could tell, but I'd played the ultimate friend card. "You vow that you will sustain me?"

"If you mean that I won't abandon you, then yeah, I vow."

"I accept, based solely on your commitment of assistance. It must also be approved by my physician."

"Of course. Only if the doctor says you're healed enough for it. But it won't be strenuous. Getting out of the house is just what the doctor ordered in my opinion. It'll be really good for you."

He shrugged and turned his attention back to the stew.

"Later then." I held my knuckles up and he bumped them.

I told my father of the invitation as I climbed into the car and he cautioned me that such a situation would be very difficult for William and I had better be prepared to live up to my promise to watch out for him. I assured him that was my absolute intention. He looked at me as if he was going to add more advice, but didn't.

I was excited for the rest of the week. I hit the sack early so I'd be rested for my wrestle off the next day and I was actually looking forward now to Ladies Choice and the ranch party.

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