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Are You Scared Yet?

by J J Janicki

Chapter 9

I'm starting this chapter off with a detour, although I'll try to be brief. Or at least brief by my standards, which usually isn't all that brief, especially when I'm talking to Stephan, but as I was telling him...

After my dad's misdeeds came to light, I thought that I was going to be in Orlando for quite awhile. My mom was overreacting, and it didn't look like she was going to be getting her act together anytime soon, so until she did, we'd be staying at my grandparent's.

They'd been living down there (retired from Boston) for more than ten years, and at first it didn't seem that awful. It wasn't New York, but they have a condo overlooking Lake Eola, right in the center of town. If you've ever watched a sports event being played in Orlando on TV, then I can almost bet that you've seen a shot of Lake Eola, before or after a commercial break, probably at night. There's a fountain all lit up out in the middle of the lake with the downtown Orlando skyline in the background. Not that it's much of a skyline, but at least they're working on it.

We'd visited them in the past, but never for more a day or so and except for Christmas Eve when I was younger, we'd also never spent the night because my dad didn't care too much for them, mostly because they didn't care for him either. They're blue-bloods, so they never approved of my dad's background. Nouveau riche, you know. Hmpth! But since we'd never spent much time with them, I obviously had no way of knowing how it would be living with them. Although I did know that they were very particular, so I guessed the best idea would be for me to stay out of their sight as much as possible.

So I was sure it wouldn't come close to measuring up to the NYC Public Library, but I could see it from their balcony, the main branch of the Orlando Public Library, on Central Blvd on the other side of Lake Eola. It's actually the largest public library in the state, so I was sure I could find something of interest there. So because I was already getting a little stir-crazy, I walked into the kitchen where my mom was talking to my grandmother and told them where I was off to. Only to my surprise, my grandmother was simply aghast, and I was quickly informed that they'd take me there when they had the time.

Take me? Since when did I have to be taken? It was only a few blocks, "I mean, I can see it from your balcony, so I'll just walk..."

"You most certainly are not walking, " she informed me, "it's not safe."

"It's broad daylight. I'll cut through the park. I see lots of people out there."

Then she cut me off with, "Well for your information, a good many of those people are probably homeless."

... "So, we have homeless people in New York too. Quite a few of them in fact, and from what I've seen on the news lately, it's not always safe for them, but-"

She cut me off again. "Young man, there are twenty-four registered sex offenders in our zip code area."

"Well, that's an unusually low number, " I said dismissively. I don't know if that's above or below the national average, but I was getting upset. It was ridiculous! And besides, I wanted my morals to be impaired by someone close to my own age, so I certainly wasn't thinking about paying a visit to one of them. Of course I didn't say that, but still, I thought I was never going to hear the end of it.

And I also didn't visit the library while I was in Orlando.

"Hey, I got a question, " interrupted Stephan, "is their condo a high rise?... Downtown, it probably is... so anyway, what floor were they on?"

"17th. Why?"

"Well, you know what? That would make a great children's book. All about this little boy who only wanted to go to the library, all by himself, so all by himself he could get lost in a world of make-believe or what used-to-be or what might-be for as long as he wanted. Only his grandparents wouldn't let him. Not by himself, no way! 'It's just not safe', they'd say, or 'Oh, but there are bad people who might hurt you, might even molest you..."

"If it's a children's book, I don't think you can say anything about how they could get molested, " I cut in.

"Well, I guess you're right. But can a stranger touch them in one of their private places?"

I started giggling. "No, a stranger can't... um, this story you're talking about. Whose viewpoint are you writing it from, the adult's or the little boy's?"

"From the little boy's, of course. So okay, I'll just leave it at bad people - except that eventually he'll probably meet one of them and find out that he isn't bad, he's just homeless - but anyway, first, he has to get to the library, right?... So he just flies his hang glider over. Lands on the roof - well, to make it more interesting, he could land on the roof of the fire house or something - but when they go running up to find out what the commotion is, the little boy says, 'I just want to go to the library. Now is that really too much to ask?"

He's always going on about books he'd like to write, and if nothing else, he has imagination. So after telling him that his idea had some potential - assuming that there was a good stiff breeze - and of course that a little boy would have a hang glider in the first place - I added, "But I did escape the next day. Not to the library, but it was still... well, it was fun, actually."

"You tied your bed sheets together and went out your window, right?'

... "Well, of course I did, Stephan. Then when I got to the fifteenth floor, I dropped, no problem.... Just how many bed sheets do you think I had?"

"I was being sarcastic, Nathaniel."

"Well, me too.... But anyway, I just took the elevator, that's all. Because see, another thing my grandparents disapproved of was fast food. McD's, Steak 'n Shake, Dunkin' Donuts, you name it. I found that out when we were coming back from the airport - we went to this mall on the way back - but anyway, we passed a Krispy Kreme and I was like, 'Yes!' only they were like... well, you know, aghast, so anyway..."

So the next morning, after a healthy nutritious breakfast consisting of freshly squeezed orange juice, toasted whole wheat bread topped with cottage cheese, sliced bananas and berries of some sort and herbal tea - which I didn't eat any of because I will not touch cottage cheese or anything that it's touched - I was asked if I wanted to go along with them on their morning run around Lake Eola. So of course I politely said I'd take a rain check, and other than a bit of clucking, they let it slide. I was not about to go with them on their morning run, I'd almost sooner be dead. I mean, just imagine a pair of seventy-somethings in their sweats, earnestly power walking and then imagine me being with them. You bet. Even from our balcony they looked silly, so after brushing my teeth once more to get rid of the lingering taste of that one sip of herbal tea... Damn it, I have got to find a Krystal!

So I looked in the phone book, and... Aha! There's one on West Colonial. All right!

I mean, they hadn't said that I was under house arrest - yet - they just thought it was dangerous to be by myself in Lake Eola Park. Because after all, I had yet to master one of my grandparent's famous power-stares. (If aimed in my direction, it would at least give me pause.) But at any rate, I wrote a quick note saying I was going to catch a city bus out to Florida Mall to do some shopping and I'd be back that afternoon. So okay, I'll admit that I did anticipate that my grandmother might not be entirely thrilled. I had no idea just how un -thrilled she was going to be, but still thinking that it was time they learned that I knew how to take care of myself - and also thinking that my mom would back me up on this...

Well, all right, I'll also admit that it occurred to me that they might go looking for me, so that's why I said I was going to Florida Mall when actually, I was first off to Krystal, then back downtown so I could catch another bus to The Mall at Millenia, which is in walking distance of the only Krispy Kreme in town.

There are at least two good things about the South and that's Krystal and Krispy Kreme. I'm not sure if Krystal stole White Castle's secret or if it's the other way around - but those little burgers are addictive. Only I wanted some breakfast, and that's one thing Krystal has over White Castle. While White Castle only has breakfast sandwiches, Krystal serves plate breakfasts. I had a hard time deciding, but I ended up going for the Express Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, grits and coffee with a side order of sausage.

Yes, I said grits, so honestly, I'm not afraid to try something new. I have to draw the line when it comes to eating something that looks like it might have been thrown up, but I tried grits when we were on vacation once and much to my surprise, I really liked them. (Although first time, I had to ask, "Grits? What's that?" and then when the waitress more or less told me, I said, "Well, I guess I'll try one, then.")

One grit, get it?

Well, never mind.

So after Krystal, before long it was hello Krispy Kreme!

Like I said, that's another Southern staple. But they opened a store at Penn Station, and the first morning, people were lined up for blocks. It's all about a melt-in-your mouth, OMG-I-just-gotta-have-some-more, artery-clogging culinary experience like you would not believe!

Or at least, that's my opinion, so healthy breakfast, my ass, I was going to get some Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

And so I did. Then I walked over to the mall and went to the Game Stop for awhile - I don't have a PlayStation or anything else, so that's the closest I ever get to video games - more about that later - then I just mostly window shopped and browsed, then I went to the food court. It's a really great mall.

But, once back at my grandparents', unmolested or not, I really was under house arrest. And that's also when I first started hearing about being sent off to military school.

So I went on a hunger strike.

Or so they thought, because at least I could still go to the pool on the fifth floor and I could also go down to the lobby. Security had been alerted not to let me out without one of my grandparents or my mom - it didn't take me long to find that out - but, oh well, there were three nice restaurants on the first floor.

But then a few days later I was caught warming up a non-nutritious pizza with everything but anchovies in their microwave at a little after midnight, so...

"So here I am, " I concluded.

I guess some of the readers who are still with me are anxious to know about what we did in our motel room - at least to a certain extent: opinions seem to vary on this - but no matter, I'm fairly anxious to tell all myself. So I'll start with our voyage of discovery before this chapter is over - promise - but we were still on our way to our room, all right? So...

So okay, earlier I mentioned PlayStations and the like and how I didn't have one, and that's a good place to carry on from, because neither of us was allowed to have one. Although, while Stephan's parents never allowed it all, my parents didn't put their foot down on it until I was nine. I had both a Ninetendo and a PlayStation at the time. And I'll be honest, when my dad first said I needed to get outside and play and my mom suggested the library as a good alternative to playing video games all the time, I thought they were the meanest parents in existence. I did not like it one bit, but fortunately I always liked reading and once I discovered just how much there was at the library, I didn't mind at all.

The main branch of the NYC Public Library was beyond a doubt my favorite place. Even the smell was intoxicating and it didn't matter if that made me an oddball or not, in fact, it wasn't long until I was fairly proud of being different.

Although it's certainly nice to know that there's a boy your age who has the same feelings, and for me, that's what clinched it. First I met Stephan at that party, then I started noticing him in the hallways, then we both ended up waiting to see Father Macallinny, and after that we started going home from school together, but that's when I discovered that he knew about my time machine.

At the library, I mean. Just like me, he'd spent hours on end reading all those old magazines they had and then there were those newspapers on microfilm. So that was our time machine. I could get so into it! "Today, I think I'm going to... oh, how about 1936?" and soon I'd be reading about all the major news events - along with the editorials on those events - but I also had to pay close attention to the old ads - and to the comics - and I couldn't forget the sports pages... and then I'd be checking to see which ocean liners were arriving or leaving... and on the opposite page I'd notice that the Hindenburg was scheduled to arrive in Lakehurst at such and such a time... so I'd make a mental note to find some good books on zeppelins before leaving...

Most of the time, I couldn't think of a better way of spending the day. They had the London Times going all the way back to 1785, and reading what they thought would happen, whether it was in regard to the Napoleonic Wars or Emmet's Insurrection or...

Well, like I said, it was easy to find myself immersed, but finding someone I could get immersed with made it better than ever.

When we were getting lost back in time, even the euphemisms they used were fascinating. I recall one story (from the 1890s, I think...), so all right, I've forgotten some of the details, but I do recall that it involved a young lady whose home had been invaded by a bad man. Really bad, because he killed her mother and father, set fire to their house and attempted to outrage her. The young lady, I mean. We were both sure by then that "outrage" was polite for "rape" but still, "Damn!" whispered Stephan, "it sure took a lot to piss that girl off, didn't it?"

Obviously, though, neither one of us was afflicted with a helicopter mom or dad. I'm not an expert, but I think on the average there are fewer over-protective parents in New York than in the suburbs, but that sure doesn't mean there aren't some. Some kids at our school, soon as they walk out the door, they're calling mom or whoever on their cell phone, even if mom or their nanny is sitting out front waiting to pick them up. But in New York, driving a car or van is far from the most convenient way to go. Just finding a parking place is a major problem. Unless you happen to be caught in gridlock, then you might as well be parked, but most people take the subway, and that includes lots of kids our age and younger. So we learn to be self-sufficient. And also we get to learn from mistakes.

Until I was five, though, my mom worried about almost everything under the sun. I even had to wear a helmet when riding my tricycle. That, along with elbow and knee pads, but my dad finally put his foot down and said enough was enough. He might have only been motivated by not wanting to put up with any more tofu burgers or macrobiotic cupcakes, but apparently Coney dogs, Philly cheese steaks, White Castle sliders and the like were an integral part of growing up. That, along with skinned knees and elbows. Just being able to explore - within reason - and again, being allowed to make some mistakes and to learn from them, is an important part of life. Then, another fortunate fact is that while my mom has often subscribed to some fairly strange psycho-babble before moving on to something weirder still, a lot of her new-age gurus pretty much agreed with my dad. (I still try to avoid skinned knees, though.)

But still, parents are supposed to be protective. And I'm sure it's not easy being a parent - my mom has assured me of that often enough - and since they're only human, sometimes they make mistakes and some other times, they might still be a bit over-protective. Maybe they don't mean to be, but...

Well, they are. Not that we know everything there is to know - I can at least accept this in theory - but having said that, sometimes in order to get what you want, you have to twist your parents around a little.

Stephan was good at that. Because actually, when he was griping about being put on a bus, he was being a bit disingenuous. Or very much so, because at first his parents were planning on having him fly out to Seattle. But then when he found out where I was in North Dakota, he started plotting.

He was sure his mom would never hear of him going by Greyhound because she does worry about things, so he didn't mention it at first. No, just as a whim, he rented the TV documentary "9/11", and would you believe it, all at once his mom had a premonition. She just didn't feel quite right about him flying across country right then - that on top of everything else that had been happening to them - and that's when he mentioned going by bus along with the fact that it would be more affordable for them. Because really, there was no telling what their legal expenses were going to end up running, soo...

Oh, and here's something else. I never had to put up with Net Nanny or anything like that on my computer, but as it turned out, Stephan did. I had no idea, but when we were talking some more about our webcam sessions while we were on the way to the motel - and by the way, we're almost there - but I was sort of teasing him and I started, "You just better hope your parents haven't installed Net Nanny or something on your computer without your knowing about it, because if they have..."

Then he cut in with, "Oh, they have, all right. It's called WebWatcher and they check every night. I'm at a very impressionable age, so they log my key strokes, sites visited, screen shots, the whole bit."

My heart started pounding. "Screen shots? Screen... Oh shit. Stephan-"

"So by now, " he continued, "they've seen your boyhood in all its glory. They've got an all-points bulletin out." Then he grinned and added, "Or at least they would if I'd been using the computer they bought for me.... The one I use to look up stuff for school. It's got their software installed. Only thing is, for more than a year I've had another laptop, and they don't even know about it."

So he'd just scared me almost to death, and I was still afraid to hope too much, but: "Yeah, but... well, you're going to have to explain that, I guess, but it's still my understanding that if you're logged on to your account, then they'd know what you were doing.... Or have I got that wrong? I mean, I don't know, but... you say you have a computer they don't even know about?"

"I've been playing darts for money since I was ten. With friends, so the stakes weren't that high, but it added up, and when I had enough, I got my own laptop. I'm not sure if they can detect another computer using our connection if it doesn't have the software installed, but I don't think so.... At least not right now, I don't."

I was still a bit dubious."But-"

So he added, "But I also bought a wireless range extender, just to be on the safe side. You don't know him, but downstairs there's this guy, Miles. He's seventeen and gay as can be. Not my type, and from the looks of his boyfriend, I'd say he wouldn't be interested in us either, but I just used his connection. So see, no problemo."

And then we pulled up to the motel.

We finally arrived in front of Traveler's Rest Bunkhouse at around 8:30, only we were worried that we couldn't even check in then. And if we could, were we supposed to go without food for the next twenty-four hours? So of course we brought all that up with Carlie.

So in reply he said, "Simple. Set a rabbit trap. They're easy to make, so you just make one, catch a rabbit or whatever, then you knock what you caught over the head, skin it... and you want to gut it too, but then you start a fire and you-"

"I think we passed a store about ten miles back, " I cut in, "so unless there's one closer, let's go back and we'll just get... well, something. We don't know the first thing about making a rabbit trap, or setting it, or-"

"Well, all right, " Carlie snickered, "somebody go get a key out of the box and maybe we can think of something else.... I got you covered, all right?"

We hadn't paid any attention to that box riding in back with us, because it's not polite to be nosing around in someone else's box, but he continued, "You can at least cook a few things, right? Like eggs and bacon? And I'm sure you know how to heat up Campbell's soup. Hope so, anyway."

Inside the box, the ever-resourceful Carlie had packed (wrapped in towels inside a small cooler) a half dozen eggs, along with bacon, margarine, salt and pepper, syrup, some Eggo waffles and six Cokes. Then there were two cans of chicken soup, a small electric burner, a toaster, a Teflon-coated frying pan and a soup pan, along with knives, forks, spoons and a plastic spatula. All that plus a frilly pink garter which we were to hang on the door knob outside, so if the owner dropped by, he'd think we were just-marrieds and wouldn't think anything about it.

Oh. Well...

There wasn't a soul in sight. Just four tiny weather-beaten cabins, and... "We're going to set up house keeping!" Not that I could see the attraction of honeymooning there, but... "Holy shit!"

It smelled a bit musty inside, but the sheets were clean and there was a bathroom complete with a shower, (I was almost expecting an outhouse), and a TV, so of course we also had an electrical outlet.

So once Carlie was finished with "Earl's probably about to go crazy, so I better get back" along with he'd be picking us up sometime the next morning, I closed the door, made sure it was locked, then I asked cheerfully, "So whatcha want to do? Watch TV for awhile? That sound like a plan?" I was trying to keep a straight face, but it felt like my heart was beating at least three hundred miles an hour.

"Yeah, well... we've probably missed the soy bean report, so... let's do something else."


... "I guess.... Yeah, I am." Then after a pause, "Do you ever wonder how it would have worked out if your dad... and mine too... if they hadn't got greedy? If we were still in New York? I mean, you ever wonder how long it would have taken us to get to where we're at now?"

"Almost all the time. And I wish one of us had had a little more nerve that night we camped out. But it's like I said, I was scared about what you might think."

"Well, you know what? I don't know how long it would have taken us, but we would have gotten there, I'm sure of that. So I wouldn't have minded if it had ended up taking us awhile. Because that way it would have just kept getting better and better, and in a way... well, that could have been pretty awesome, you know?"

He was standing there, looking wistful. I was scared, though. It wasn't a case of my getting cold feet, it was just that I wanted it to be perfect, and I didn't know if I could manage it. I was going to take the initiative, but I didn't want to rush things. Or at least, not too much. Have to be realistic, right? So realistically, we probably would be getting into a rush eventually, but maybe we really didn't have to right away. In spite of the fact that I'd...

I swallowed hard. "Hey Stephan. If I were to say that... well, if I were to say that if I'd known we'd be seeing each other... what I mean, is, I was thinking... well, I really didn't know if I'd ever be seeing you again. So... well, I wanted to at least play some sex games, and Carlie and Earl are way cool, but if I'd known..."

And then he had his arms wrapped around me, and the next thing I knew he'd pulled me right up against him. He was shaking - we both were - but, all at once, we were like cheek to cheek.

"I said I didn't blame you, didn't I? I wished it had been me, but neither one of us knew, so I don't care. Really, I don't. We have plenty of time, we got the rest of the summer at least, but anyway..." and then he started moving his embrace downwards. "I'm just going to pull your shirt up a little, okay? Because... well, because... well, just because, " and with that he pulled my shirt tail out and up a bit. So a second or so later, I was fumbling around with his shirt tail too.

Only, I still wanted to do it first, and obviously I didn't have nearly as much time as I thought I did. He was wearing jeans, not exactly low riders, but still, without a belt, they were loose enough and came down a few inches below the waistband of his boxers. So that gave me fairly easy access. "Just before we broke it off, he almost put his hands down the back of my shorts. I just knew he was about to, but then he pulled back and..."

Thistime, I wasn't going to break it off, no way.

We had the rest of the summer, but we also had right then. We had our first first time.

Well, all right, it was really our second, only this time...

Was his butt softer than Carlie's or Earl's? Probably not, but it was soft and pliable and warm and a little sweaty... and it was his...and I'd been thinking about it and wishing...

Then he lost his balance. But the bed was right behind him, so that worked out all right. Well, except for the fact that I was on top of him with my hands caught between him and the bed. And I just had to be in my cargo shorts that day. They weren't as loose at my waist, so he was having trouble getting his hands inside.

He giggled, "We're getting tangled up here, so why don't we... get a little more comfortable?"

"Well, let's just get down to our shorts, okay?... For awhile, anyway."

"I'm not sure what the point is, because I really don't want to go quite thatslow, but okay, let's do that, then."

Well, the point was, half the fun is getting outof them, that was my point, but boxers are supposed to be loose and comfortable, and ours were, so if your hands are jammed down in back, then your fronts almost have to slide down as well. There's that, plus the fact that with boxers, erections are more likely to be sticking out, so I don't guess there really was much point in keeping them on. Except it did look erotic. I mean, we had to come up for breath every once in awhile, and yes, we peeked.

But then we went back to more cuddling. That was so cool! Just cuddling and talking about just about everything we could think of.

Including whether we should start kissing. It might sound silly, but we decided if the idea was to proceed slowly, then maybe we shouldn't. Although we could practice some, we guessed, and that was even better! But naturally I kept thinking about how much better it would be when we really and truly started kissing. Tongue wrestling and everything. According to the Sisters, Frenching is a sure-fire way to lose your virginity, because after some of that, you lose your will to resist. Of course that was always directed towards girls, but we'd at least heard about it.

Although rubbing noses worked out pretty good. It was erotic - how could it not be, when we could feel our hearts beating together? - but it was almost like we were little kids, because we were giggling a lot. We could be as naughty as we wanted to be - and we'd certainly be getting a lot morenaughty in the future - but right then, just exploring and trying out some things was almost like heaven.

Even if was difficult to go slow sometimes. Not when we were both naked. He was right, there wasn't much point in keeping out boxers on in the first place, so it wasn't long until he'd pulled mine off and I'd pulled his off. So that was fun, but now we were naked and we were still cuddling. And sometimes, cuddling and exploring became out-and-out groping. Not that I minded, but it sure built up a lot of sexual tension.

And checking out our pubes only seemed to increase that tension. He's definitely starting to get some, though, there's no doubt about it at all.

So it wasn't long until I was thinking that we just hadto release that tension, and: "Hey, Stephan? You want to try out the shower?... We're getting kind of sweaty, you know?... So maybe a shower would do us some good."

And so we did. It was a nice, leisurely shower. I washed his hair and he washed mine. But then once that was taken care of, it was time to wash the rest of him. It was my time to wash him!

Only he wanted to wash me at the same time.

So more often than not, we were getting in each other's way. Really, it made a lot more sense for us to take turns...

... And besides, I wanted to wash his penis first. Because, after all, he was more the guest than I was.

"Well, I guess we could flip to see who goes first, then, " said Stephan.

"Flip what?" I started, but then almost the same time, we screamed, "Oh shit! It's cold!"

We'd heard about running out of hot water, but we'd never experienced it before, and it came as a shock. It went from nice and warm to ice cold just like that, so we got out in a hurry!

Drying each other off sure was nice though, and then we were in bed again, and it wasn't long at all until we'd stopped shivering. The shower was one of those shower-tub combo deals, so we were thinking next time we'd try the tub. An interesting prospect, actually - being in the tub together - but that only increased our sexual tension, so it needed to be taken care of. It's not healthy to let it go onlike that, if an erection lasts for more than four hours, you should seek medical help immediately.

And even if it hadn't been quite that long, it felt that way, but then, there was no need of our seeing a doctor when there was a perfectly good home remedy.

But we did proceed slowly, just seeing how long we could draw it out. It was the most wonderful thing I could imagine.

First times are fantastic. Well, it was ourfirst time. Possibly my mom was right when she said I was too young to know what love was, but that was then, and this was now. I was in love, and I knew it. I was in love with the best friend I ever had. But the thing was, we could still have several first times. It would just keep getting better and better. We had all summer.

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